Wedding ceremony takes place across the country in a range of mind-blowing ways based on the wedding cultures of the different Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. Some of them are celebrated in modern ways while others stick to the tradition of their ethnicity. Unfortunately, some people celebrate their wedding in a way which does not entirely reflect the Ethiopian cultures.
Some of the wedding ceremonies which are held in different parts of the country are missing the intended target. They give due weight and attention to foreign wedding ceremonies oblivious about their whereabouts. We should be able to reflect our own culture. We do not have to be fans of foreign wedding ceremonies as Ethiopia possesses different untold traditional wedding ceremonies. We do not have to be off the track.
If we stick to the original wedding ceremonies of different ethnic groups of Ethiopia, we can preserve our cultures and pass them down to the coming generations in addition to making them a tourist magnet.
Flipping back to gist, the focus of this writer is acquainting readers with the traditional wedding ceremony of Dera. The inhabitants of the area are still on the track. They give due weight and attention to their culture. They respect their culture with all their hearts. What makes the Dera traditional wedding ceremony different from others?
To begin with, in Dera, according to the custom of the area, a day or two ahead of the wedding ceremony, a small hat is built at the bridegroom’s residential house commonly known as Chagula. That same day, in the afternoon, earlier than the wedding ceremony, Tedebe is prepared. It is a small room built in the heart of the Chagula room. The room does not let sunshine in. The entire room is encircled with grass. Before the ceremony is kick started, they make sure that the room does not let any sunshine in. According to the custom of the area, sunshine is not allowed to fall on the bride by any means. Surprisingly, for the sake of preventing herself from sunshine, the bride goes to restroom before sunrise and after sunset. She is strongly advised not to go outdoor while the sun shines. The whole thing is done very carefully.
On the wedding day, nobody is allowed to go out of the Tedebe. Lasses and lads hang around in the room until the bride comes home. Some groups are sent to bring the bride from her parents’ home. In fact, they are known as Amamota. They usually return home with the bride at night.
When the Amamota come within reach of the bridegroom’s room, they begin singing different songs and other similar activities signaling they are bringing the bride. This time, everybody from the bridegroom’s house come out and embarks on singing welcoming songs. Everybody sings different songs.
A ceremony is held before the bride enters into the bridegroom’s house. The bride and bridegroom are made to sit down on a carpet. They are not allowed to sit on the carpet as they see fit as the ceremony has got its own rules and regulations. When the formal procedure is over, the bride does not merely enter into the bridegroom’s room unless she receives dowry. But after she has accepted the money, she enters into the bridegroom’s compound without rubbing her eyes for a fraction of a second. Then, they temporarily sit at the residential house of the bridegroom’s parents.
When the ceremony is over, the bride and bridegroom go straight to the Chagula room. The bride is accompanied into the room by the first bridesmaid. She stays there for three weeks or a month. The second bridesmaid is known as Wahela. She is responsible for taking care of the bride in the absence of the first bridesmaid. In due course, the bride is accompanied by the bridegroom’s sister or other near relatives. From that day on, lasses and lads will not go anywhere leaving the bride.
On the morrow, the bride and bridegrooms will be visited by quite a lot of people for the most part who would like to see the bride. Most people are eager to see the bride. Subsequent to the wedding ceremony, lasses and lads are not allowed to join the bride and bridegrooms in the evening.
A lot of activities take place until the bride and bridegrooms leave Chagula room. More often than not, the ceremony is celebrated colorfully on Saturday and Sunday. Unless, lasses and lads join the ceremony, it will not be that attractive. They give color to the ceremony more than anything else. Among the different activities which take place at the residential house is a kissing game. It takes place between the bride and the bridegroom. As the custom of the area dictates, they are not allowed to kiss on the lips but on cheeks.
How does the game of kissing take place?
The person who is going to start the game is made to stand by the door of the bride and bridegroom’s room with a stick in his hand. If the bridegroom does not apply what he is told to do so by lasses and lads, he will be beaten. As the rule of the law, the bridegroom is ordered to cover his face. When he is ordered to do so, he does not have to take action almost immediately. When the bridegroom is going to be beaten, he has to cover his face in a jiffy. This time the bride has to follow everything very closely. When she figures out the reality on the ground, she has to unearth and kiss her husband on the cheeks. If she is late, the bridegroom makes an effort to beat her. This time, the bridesmaid does not let anybody touch the bride.
By the same token, the best man has as well got a lot of responsibilities. A case in point, he controls a person who gives a lot of orders during the game.
BY ADDISALEM MUALT