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Some of the most unique and romantic wedding rituals originated in Africa. From jumping the broom to the money spray, below is a list of my 5 favorite African wedding traditions.

African Wedding Traditions

Tasting the Four Elements

This Yorùbá wedding tradition is as romantic as it gets. This tradition consists of the bride and groom tasting four different flavors, or elements, during the ceremony. The four flavors represent the stages of marriage. They include cayenne (spiciness), lemon (sourness), vinegar (bitterness), and honey (sweetness). By consuming each of these flavors, the bride and groom confirm that they will be there for each other throughout the entirety of their marriage, for better or worse.

Kola Nuts

Did you know that kola nuts are grown in West Africa? This fruit was previously used all over the continent for its healing properties. However, today, it’s weaved itself into the world of weddings. There are many ways of working the kola nut into a wedding. For example, some couples exchange the fruit during the ceremony as a way of signifying that they will always help heal each other. Another option is to serve Coca-Cola at your wedding, as this famous American soda originally contained kola nuts.

Jumping the Broom

Jumping the Broom is one African wedding tradition that’s really taken off in North America. The tradition dates back as far as the eighteenth century and was particularly popular among African American slaves who were prohibited from getting married. The ritual is as it sounds, whereby the bride and groom lay a broom on the ground and jump from one side to the other in unison. This signifies their commitment to each other. Brooms these days are often highly decorated and serve as a beautiful and romantic wedding day memento for the newlyweds.

 

Tying the Knot

You’ve likely heard the phrase “tying the knot” before, however, you may not realize where it comes from. A historic African wedding tradition (though it’s difficult to figure out which specific country or tribe it came from), has the bride and groom literally bind their wrists together with rope at the altar. Their wrists aren’t tied with any old piece of string though. Rather, they must be tied with a string of cowrie shells, braided grass, a decorated rope, or Kente cloth. As they exchange heartfelt vows, the officiant ties the knot in the rope, which confirms their eternal commitment and love for one another.

 

Money Spray

Entertain your guests while adding to your savings for your new life together. This African wedding tradition, dubbed the “money spray,” originated in the Yorùbá and Igbo tribes of Nigeria. However, today it has made its way to North America. How it works is guests gather around the newlyweds on the dance floor, and the newlyweds begin to dance to traditional African music while the guests toss cash at them. Ideally, they’ll be so much cash on the floor by the end of the dance that you’ll need help picking it all up!

 

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