In Ethiopia, there are some rather strict rules regarding marriage, and they are followed even these days. For example, a bride should be a virgin and the couple has to consummate their marriage within three days after the wedding. Ethiopians take marriage very seriously. They pay special attention to avoiding incest – specific research is made as far as 5 generations back to make sure the potential bride and groom have no blood relation. Not many countries take so serious measures to protect the healthiness of future generations.
Incest is a serious no-go for Ethiopian couples. The locals consider families where there is incest cursed and impure. So, people pay great attention to avoid it. To make sure the bride and groom aren’t related by blood, the relations between the two families are thoroughly investigated. Only after that, the couple gets permission to wed. Otherwise, their families wouldn’t bless the union and might even break all the ties with the bride and groom.
Not all of the Ethiopian girls get married being virgin but this is encouraged. Virginity is treasured and considered something to be proud of, not only by the bride herself but by her whole family. Ethiopian women get married comparatively early, so it is the norm to be a virgin bride, while men are usually older when they’re ready to tie the knot, so they don’t have to be still virgin.
Age of marriage
It is traditional for Ethiopia if the groom is older than the bride so that he could provide for the family. Men get the education and find a job before marrying, while women have to be younger to give birth to children easier. Of course, it doesn’t mean that all couples are like that – it’s the 21st century now. But it’s what an old tradition dictates. So, it is considered that the best age for girls to get wed is 18-19 and for boys – 28-29 years old.
After the wedding ceremony, the groom takes his new wife to his parents’ home and the consummation of their marriage happens there. Traditionally, they have 3 days to do it. In some cases, if the groom can’t consummate the marriage due to some physical problems, the marriage can even be terminated and the bride can marry another man. The bride has a right to decide whether she wants to live without intimate relationships with her husband because she wouldn’t have kids if she stays with him. And offspring are significant for Ethiopian people.
This is a very important period for the newlyweds. According to the Western tradition, couples leave for their honeymoon to wherever they want – often to another country or some resort. But in Ethiopia, it’s vice versa – they stay at the groom’s parents’ house for 1-3 weeks. And all this time, the bride doesn’t leave the house during the day. Possibly, this tradition was invented so that the couple consumed their first child at once and there was no doubt as to who the father is – remember the incest rules? It’s very important to know your ancestors 5 generations back.
After honeymoon period
After a couple of weeks spent at the groom’s house, the newlyweds go to the bride’s parents’ home and stay there for some time as well.