A few days after the wedding, another big event takes place. Officially parents of the bride invite the neighbors to celebrate with the newlyweds. There are some rumors, though, which come form a tradition of checking if the husband treats the bride well. In some cases the family is not allowed to contact the pair before this day, so parents have finally a chance to check on their daughter.
This incredible celebration has a lot of very strong Ethiopian accents and leaves not much place for international influences. It starts with a photo session of the couple in traditional matching outfits and continues with a procession to the bride’s parents house.
In order to enter the household a groom has to slaughter a sheep, which blood marks a threshold and brings luck. As a symbol of entering a new chapter of life, the coupe jumps over the animal, which later becomes a final dish of a day. Maybe after one year of living in Ethiopia a view of slaughtered animal should not have such a strong effect on me but it does. Take (groom) actually promised me not to kill the sheep, so I eagerly watched how they pose with the knife next to the animal’s throat… until I noticed that it’s already someone else… cutting the sheep’s neck. What a laugh all the neighbors and kids had when I screamed and run away. I like meet, I do, but this time the closest I got to eating was my help in preparing tips (fried pieces of meet). For this one evening, after almost making friends with sheep ‘Lucy’, I was a vegetarian ;)
As not all families have enough space for the party, they can rent a special wedding tent and set it on a street. Every local community has a wide offer of items to let- furniture, silverware, plates and many more. There are also different colour and arrangement options depending on an occasion.
The feast was of course properly blesses by a priest and then calories effectively burned while dancing Eskesta.
Once again- Take and Meron, thank you for an invitiation :)
This bottles for chemical experiments are actually traditional alcoholic drink (Tej) glasses.
Part 2/8 (just kidding ;)
This 2 hour long photo session has a strong American influence. It’s much more than just posing. The newlyweds play short scenes where ‘a groom surprises the bride with a flower’ or ‘tries to steal a kiss from his young wife’ ;) Like always, wherever they go, professional musicians follow and engage the guests in dancing and singing. The wedding singer makes jokes about guests and becomes more ‘aggressive’ till the insulted person pays himself off by sticking a banknote to the singer’s forehead.
When the garden program is over the procession moves to a wedding hall where hundreds of other guests are waiting for the heroes of the day.
Our best friends: Ramiah and Helawi.
Fountains are irreplaceable in scorching sun!
I’ve already written about an evening program of a wedding- procession to the stage, blessing the food, first dance, cutting the cake, throwing presents into the crowd, dancing Eskesta etc.
This time, however, menu was different. What a surprise it was to find a butcher stand installed within a sophisticated buffet!! This was actually the most important occupied place in the whole building! Traditionally the young couple as the first ones blessed the meat by cutting a cross on it. Then in front of the camera both were ‘wondering’ which part to choose ;) Of course the meat was eaten in the raw version. Even though it looked really fresh and I’ve eaten raw meat a few times in Ethiopia, I restricted myself to a few photos.
Quite an original background for a wedding picture, don’t you think?
Did you know that…. I had fun on this wedding?!
Most of you, seeing another wedding post, probably wonder what do I really do in Ethiopia. No, I don’t crush weddings every weekend :) They just tend to last a few days up to a month! Here are some pictures of a second one- Takele + Meron.
The wedding traditions are very strict and everyone follows the “procedure”, whether they like it or not. As bride and groom don’t live together before the wedding they spend the last night in their family houses. The bride is additionally protected by her 3-4 maids ;) , who keep her company till the end of the wedding day. The truth is that girls have to wake up really early in the morning ( around 3!) to go to the hairdresser. At 8:00 the official day program starts and continues very intensively till the late evening hours.
I have to admit that it was quite odd to get ready for such a ceremony at 7 in the morning. By 8:00 am we were at groom’s parents’ house for a wonderful breakfast and a looooong photo session. 2 hours of posing with and without tie, sitting, standing, leaning against the wall… with and without the best men, family, friends… ‘smiling’, ‘dreaming’, ‘acting surprised’- never ending story. Moreover, everything was recorded by ‘professionals’, who generally don’t know how to cut the material and end up having a 10- hour long wedding movie. Can’t wait :)
Traditional clothes play a very important role in all Ethiopia celebrations. The outfits are usually custom made, which allows the families to have dresses in different style but with a similar pattern. This way it is more clear who belongs to which group.
After the photos, a vast procession from groom’s site, accompanied by a professional singer, heads to the bride’s house to “steal” her from her family. It’s a real fight with loud singing, dancing and pushing the other ‘team’ away. At some point, however, the groom manages to make his way through and then…. a new photo session starts:) In the mean time two families continue the singing/dancing competition and build up a fantastic festive mood. YAHOOO!
The blessings from the elders end another part of the program and the pair leaves to tick out the next point in the schedule… the photo session :) this time in the garden scenery. YAHOO!
This post is going to be a bit bitter. As I was writing last time, there are some irritating disturbances we are dealing with lately. Preparations for the building permit take not only time, patience but also A LOT OF PAPER, hehe. Before Ethiopia I have seen blueprints only in the movies. The production process itself is quite simple- first of all, drawings have to be printed on the transparent paper, then a special scanner changes the black lines into navy blue and the rest into violet. It’s important to find a printing company that doesn’t safe the chemicals, otherwise the prints are illegible and can be thrown away. In case the files are too big or there is a half- day- long lunch break, the shop runs out of electricity/ paper/ time/ will to continue working (all and much more happened to us!) then it’s time to find another shop, and then another and another…. If the shops didn’t have to habit of disappearing regularly we could gladly make a print shops map of Addis :)
Blueprints can not be copied and that’s the goal of all this hassle…. I wish! It is a common practice to steal the projects and resell them later. Knowing that our files were divided and printed in a few places. We were still surprised when after unsuccessful printing on the 5th floor we went to another shop on the 7th floor to found pieces of our drawings lying all over the place! Neither owner was able to explain how that happen ;)
In the meantime, one of my pictures I took in Lalibela was being printed as a wedding present. Two days of waiting turned into a week. Every time we appeared in the print shop the amharic discussions between the workers had something to do with 2, not 1 prints. Just in case we made sure to be there for the delivery… and BINGO! They also ordered one for themselves- because ‘it’s so pretty’ and they want to have a souvenir ;) So in case you see a postcard like that you know what to think ;) By the way- do you like it?