15 surprising African rituals to celebrate the wedding night

African wedding custom

15 surprising African rituals to celebrate the wedding night

Each culture has its own rites to contract and celebrating marriage, but African wedding customs are perhaps the most surprising.

The community consummation

Among the Berbers of North Africa, there is a custom to marry in a group, but this is not limited only to the ceremony but also to the consummation. After the ceremony, the couples move to a large shared chamber where they learn the art of love in the community, through the observation of other couples. They will remain there for 5 days, returning home with the sheets from their first night as proof of the bride’s virginity.

A witness under the bed

African wedding rituals

In Swahili culture, arranged marriages are the norm and to confirm that they are consummated and the bride does not resist, a relative is introduced as a witness under the bed, where she will spend the whole night.

Normally this role is assumed by the so-called marriage master or somo, a member of his family in charge of training the bride as a good wife before the wedding.

After the night, the somo will be able to leave the room with a piece of sheet to demonstrate the bride’s virginity, leaving the bride and groom isolated for seven days. All very natural.

High kick to prove virginity

During the Zulu wedding ceremony, a curious dance takes place between the families of the bride and groom, symbolizing the transition of the bride from her own family to that of the groom.

One of the highlights of the dance is the test of virginity, in which after a few dances steps the bride raises her leg to the sky in front of her mother to show that she is pure. This raises several questions, the bride must be very flexible and her mother must have a very sharp eye because everything happens in a few seconds.

Spread with cow butter

In southwestern Namibia, brides from the Himba tribe fake their abduction with the groom’s family, who prepares her for the ceremony. After the wedding, she herself will visit her father de Ella to explain that she has been accepted by a new family and what her new responsibilities de Ella as her wife de Ella will be. Following her speech from her, she will proceed to butter herself to symbolize her transition from one family to another.

Surprise wedding

In Shona culture, the bride chooses her wedding day and walks with her relatives to the groom’s house at night. Once at the door, everyone dances and ululates at the door, to communicate to the groom that his future wife has arrived to get married. Neither he nor his family knows anything about the chosen day.

The mother of the groom will come out to accept her and invite her home. Once inside her, she will encourage him to remove her veil from her, at which point she will become her new daughter-in-law from her. She will then start a big impromptu party that will last until the next day.

Threesome with the bride’s aunt

The Banyankole of Uganda in East Africa must consummate the union at the groom’s home, where they will be accompanied by the bride’s aunt. She will be the one who instructs her niece in the love arts and will make sure that the marriage is consummated. During this lesson, the aunt can even demonstrate…

The family waits for news by the house

In Tunisia, it was customary for the groom to light a candle in his window after consummating the marriage, to let the people know that his wife bled and was a virgin until then.

The family and the rest of the interested parties waited in the street to glimpse the signal, which began a celebration. It was undoubtedly a lot of pressure, because here too the power of man was measured, according to the time it took to light the candle. However, there are still those who comply with this rite.

The bridesmaids

In Morocco, after the wedding, the bridesmaids accompany the bride to the room where they certify her virginity and prepare her for the groom. However, her duty is not over yet and they must stay to witness the consummation.


Many cultures place importance on the bride’s virginity, but Ethiopia takes the cake. There, most marriages are arranged under the payment of a dowry and therefore the virginity test is very important. To do this, a handkerchief or scarf is used to collect the blood, while the in-laws wait at the door. If after the act there is no blood, the family can return the bride and recover the full dowry. If there is blood, the festivities will last for 5 days.

With or without consent

In Tanzania, the bride is prepared in a house outside the entire celebration that family and friends carry out elsewhere. At one point, her new husband de Ella, whom she need never have seen, shows up to pay her dowry and take her virginity, de Ella, whether she consents or not. Chilling.

The fourth day

Weddings in Libya also last five days and it is not until the fourth ( Dakhla)  that the husband can take the bride home for the first time. That night will be the first as husband and wife and they will be able to consummate, but not before enduring the procession of family members who will joke and stage what is about to happen behind closed doors. Great for nerves.

Deflowered by a midwife

In Egypt, a midwife will deflower the bride with a white handkerchief to confirm her virginity, while family members and the groom wait outside. If the handkerchief comes out red, it will be displayed in front of everyone present and the celebrations will begin.


After the wedding and the celebrations, the bride and groom spend their first wedding night separately, each one at home. It will not be until the second night that they will be able to spend the evening together and alone, enjoying their new status. However, this will not be really validated until the woman gives birth to her second child!

Shave your head

Nuer weddings in Sudan are divided into three acts: the engagement (sealed with payment in cattle), the union, and the consummation. After the union, the bride is taken to the groom’s village with her head shaved where they can consummate.

Practice makes perfect

In Zambia, the bride is delivered to her future husband’s house the night before the wedding. That’s when they both receive a complete tutorial on everything they need to know about sex and how to please their partner. Then they go up to a room and are invited to practice as much as they can so that once married the next day, everything goes smoothly. It is also an opportunity so that, if there is any problem between them, the wedding can be called off.


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