Sunday, April 21, 2013
Today on our way home from church at Kakata we were invited to a
traditional Liberian wedding. It was supposed to start at 3:00 we got
there at 4:00 and it started a few minutes later.It ended a little after 6:00. Both
the bride and groom were members of the church so the branch choir sang
while we were waiting and was also part of the program.
The families of both the bride and groom take turns talking about them and
their courtship. They start placing money on the table for all
different sorts of reasons. At different times throught out the ceremony
people from the audience would bring money up and place it on the table.
Then there is a kind of "skit" where they bring out someone veiled (
3-4 veils from head to toe) and the groom's family has to figure out if it is
the right bride. This happens 3 times. Then from around the back of the building
comes the "Majestical March" where the bridesmaids usher in the bride and
another imposter. Again, the grooms family must figure out which is the
right bride for him (her red platform shoes were the giveaway). Once
the imposter is figured out and sent away the bride must stand on "the
mat" before she can be unveiled. Once unveiled and found to be the
bride the groomsmen take the groom out into the crowd and appear to be
talking to him. They then escort him back with shouting and chanting.
At this point the bride must sit on the mat. The dowry is laid on the
mat and accepted. They are then considered married in the eyes of all
those there. Because they are members of the church they wanted to do a
ring ceremony. A prayer and blessing on the union and the ring was made
and the groom put the ring on the brides finger. Eeveryone wanted to
see them kiss. They obliged. They then sat in chairs and members of
the family brought out a table and placed it in front of them with the
"Certificate of Marriage" on it. They both signed it which then made
the marriage legal in the eyes of the Liberian government. They ended
the formal part of the ceremony with a song by the choir then the party
really began. There was music, dancing, sandwiches and drinks were
handed out, gifts were walked up and given to the couple and everyone
was in a party mood.