The Zulu Traditional Wedding (Umabo)
A Zulu traditional wedding is a colorful and vibrant celebration that blends cultural heritage with modern influences.
WEDDING TRADITIONS ACROSS BORDERS
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The South African Zulu traditional wedding is a colorful and vibrant celebration that blends cultural heritage with modern influences. It also known as Umabo, which is done in different stages.
The first step is the negotiation of lobola (bride price), which is an important part of Zulu tradition. Once the lobola has been agreed upon, the bride and groom are considered engaged. The next two stages are Izibizo, in which presents are given to the bride's family, and Umbondo, in which the bride returns the favor by giving gifts to the groom's family. The bridesmaids distribute the gifts while she sits silently on a grass mat.
The bride is escorted by her father to the groom's family house for the wedding ceremony, where she is given a blanket by her mother and told not to turn around. The groom purchases two cows, which are slaughtered and consumed on the wedding day, as well as a goat, which is also slaughtered after the family patriarch has spoken.
The bride's father also gives his blessing as the groom's father welcomes his new daughter to the ceremony. The wedding day itself is filled with traditional Zulu dances, singing, and feasting.
When the groom is finally called, the bride washes his feet, creates a mock bed, and the bridesmaids beat him with sticks before he flees. The bride and groom usually perform the Umabo, a dance that symbolizes the union of their families.
After the Umabo, the bride is led to her new home by her husband and a procession of family and friends. The wedding day itself is filled with traditional Zulu dances, singing, and feasting.
The bride and groom are dressed in traditional Zulu attire, which includes brightly colored skirts, beaded necklaces, and headdresses for the women, and blankets and headwear for the men.
Throughout the wedding, there is a strong emphasis on community, family, and tradition. The wedding is a celebration not just of the couple's love for each other, but also of their families and their shared cultural heritage.
Photo credit: Sowetan Live (https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/entertainment/2019-01-25-photos--isibayas-zulu-wedding-nails-it/).