Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Wonderful Wedding!!

Two weeks ago I attended my first wedding in Cameroon. The bride, Francois Kiam, works at the school as a French teacher. There were actually two ceremonies. The first was the “official” wedding at city hall and the second was at the church. I only attended the lively and colorful church wedding.

Many of the attendees dressed in fabric according to whether they were friends or family of the bride or groom. I had a nice outfit made just for the occasion! Look at my friends and I!!

We arrived early, thinking the that ceremony would start on time. But, it didn’t turn out that way. The wedding couple arrived an hour late. So, as we sat waiting, Emelda and Helen, coworkers from the school, amused me with wedding stories from their villages.

Depending on the tradition of the village, the groom may need to offer gifts to the bride’s family if he has intentions to marry her. These offerings may include wood, wine, money, etc. The family will bless the wedding if they are happy with the groom’s offerings. The story I found the funniest was about a man who wanted to marry a lady from the neighboring village. As tradition demanded, he brought gifts to the woman’s family. The man was proud of all the gifts he bestowed upon the family. However, the aunt of the bride was not satisfied with his gifts and told him he needed to bring more if he really wanted to show that he loved her. So, the man brought more and the aunt continued to be unimpressed. Finally, the man had enough and thought he had done his part and would marry the woman. But, the unsatisfied aunt would not let the woman marry the man! Emelda tells me that they never married each other. The man now has married a different woman and the former bride has still yet to find someone.

I was also told that traditionally in Yaounde the bride, after marriage, may dance in the street to celebrate her happiness. Sometimes whole roads will be blocked. I have never seen this, but have seen many people drive around through town honking horns, waving, and screaming. It seems that people are truly celebrating!

A picture of the bride and groom dancing together and the line of dancing attendees who greeted the married couple and blessed their marriage. There was so much dancing, singing, and celebrating at the wedding ceremony. Towards the end of the ceremony, the choir sung a beautiful song about how the groom saw the bride, ran after her, and fell in love. And now, they are in love. It was so nice.

The church where the wedding ceremony was held. It was a very simple church, which was decorated with banners and flowers on the inside.

The bridesmaids look beautiful in their hand sewn dresses!! They did a lot of shouting and screaming for Francois.

A picture of the bride, Francoise Kiam. She looks so beautiful and happy! Francoise teaches French at ASOY. I was very excited that she had invited me to her wedding.