In Cameroon, both monogamous and polygamous marriages are being practiced. In the average Cameroonian family, the women tend to the home, and men herd cattle or work as farmers. Wedding traditions in Cameroon seems similar in many African regions with regards to spirit, but there tribes and ethnic groups are quite significant in details. Cameroonian wedding traditions has a strong significance in traditions because marriage links not only two people but also to their families and even the to the tribe they belong. Incorporating the customs and traditions in Cameroonian wedding gives honor to Cameroon ancestors. Aside from performing traditional rituals, couples can also used wedding symbols in ceremonial decorations and social status definitions. It is important that they understand the reason behind these traditions and the history of the traditions because this will enable couples to perform the traditions more sincerely.
Things the Groom Provides Before the Wedding
- Before a Cameroonian wedding ceremony happens, the groom had to get together 10 tins (250ml or 60 gallons) of palm oil, a barrel of meat, cash for bride price, as much firewood as the grooms friends can bring, and a married woman’s outfit. All these are requirements for him to present to the bride’s family.
- Sharing cola nut offered by the man’s family to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage. It is a bitter fruit sometimes offered with alcohol drinks. As a mark of friendship and honor they offer the cola nuts and drinks to the girl’s family. After the sharing the man is asked to recognize and choose his beloved among other women. When he does it, the girl’s father asked his daughter to share a glass of drink with the husband to be.
Symbolism of Salt
- The groom family is the one to bring salt to the bride’s family. The bringing of salt is regarded as emblematic of durability and permanence. It serves as a token of friendship, loyalty, abundance and fecundity.
- The groom pays a bride price to the bride’s family, once the two families meet an engagement will be officially announced and the bride’s family will decide on how much the marriage payment will be. It is paid as a sign of respect and good faith.
- In addition to the rings, married women also wore a five-fingered apron (called an ijogolo) to mark the culmination of the marriage, which only takes place after the birth of the first child.
- The marriage blanket (nguba) worn by married women was decorated with beadwork to record significant events throughout the woman’s lifetime.
- A married woman always wore some form of head covering as a sign of respect for her husband. These ranged from a simple beaded headband or a knitted cap to elaborate beaded headdresses (amacubi). Long beaded strips signified that the woman’s son was undergoing the initiation ceremony and indicated that the woman had now attained a higher status in Ndebele society. It symbolised joy because her son had achieved manhood as well as the sorrow at losing him to the adult world.