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Somali Traditional Wedding

Most of traditional Somali weddings happen in rainy seasons such like spring GU and sometimes in fall

season Dayr, within those raining seasons the pastoral Somali nomads rejoice in the abundance of

wealth that they have. This is because of most of their livestock they used to ranch are giving birth at

the seasons, or if they were farmers it is time their farm fruits are cultivated. There is always a plenteous

supply of fresh milk and water, with the constantly dropping rain, and the abundance of lush pasture

for the livestock.

During these seasons a weddings and cultural dances are a regular occurrence. It is also a time when

young men who have come of age of marriage, usually, go into a far off places, looking for their brides.

Wedding ceremonies and midnight local cultural dances were the best forms of entertainment and

gathering places of hundreds of young men and women, who is looking for their future spouse.

In Somali nomadic culture an eloquence of speech were very important skill which bridegroom which

should have. And what a deadly weapon, it can be! In this Nomadic culture, even the amount of camels

a man owns or the aristocratic lineage from which he hails may sometimes mean little where articulate

in speech and poetry are considerably triumphant. The more eloquent a man is, the more he is able to

extol the virtues of his clan, family, valor and exalt the woman he admires by showering her with praise.

After man selected his bride, he and some of his family members were going to family of the bride

where they discussed a couple of things such as engagement day Meher, wedding day Aroos, Gabaati

and Yarad. A Meher which is engagement, an amount of camels or money the groom must make a

pledge to bestow his bride as Dowry is usually known as her Meher. Obviously, The Meher does not

need to be paid straight away, but is a promise which the bridegroom should fulfill. In the old days,

when Somali people have a lot of camels, a bride would be given about 100 camels just for her hand in

marriage. But these days, because of the decrease an amount of camels in the rural area, a bridegroom

give his bride a money or gold which is equal to a camel.

The weddings are obviously one of the most significant aspects of the Somali culture. A wedding denotes

not only the union of two persons, but it creates a link between two families. The wedding usually

happens a couple days after the Meher or engagement, and sometimes both of them happen on the

same day. Normally, in the engagement day, the wedding arrangements and agreements are all settled

on that day. But before the bridegroom lay hands on his beautiful bride, there are many hurdles to cross

and many gifts to bestow upon the family of his bride. Such as Gabaati, which is usually a gift conferred
upon the brides family when the groom and his family go to ask the brides father for her hand in

marriage. It is given to the soon-to-be brides family.

Yarad is another gift which groom provides in the engagement day, the Yarad is a present given to the

immediate family of the bride as a form of gratitude. Usually, the Yarad can be a shawl or money. There

is also Sooryo which a present given to the male members of the brides family. Mostly, it is brides

brothers or cousins and Sooryo is given in a form of money. On the wedding day, a traditional Somali

hut was constructed and the wedding starts with something called Gelbis, all the families from both

sides are invited in the wedding and disciplined routines are involved where every woman who attend

the event is wearing a colourful dresses escort the bride, shaded by a long sheet of cloth.

The bride and her friends stood far away from the designated hut, they slowly made their way to the

traditional Somali hut whilst drumming, clapping and loudly ululating (mashxarad). The groom, who is

as well at a same distance on the other side of the traditional Somali hut, along with his friends, slowly

made their steps into the traditional Somali hut with the men chanting words of praise of the prophet

Allahuma salli calal xabiib Muxamad. And finally both groom and bride enter into the traditional Somali

hut. As the sun sets enter into the horizon and darkness engulfs the area, fires are lit and dances

continue on through the night. After the Gelbis several routine and mandatory tasks are performed as

part of the wedding. These include Gaaf, which is also known as Todoba-Bax Somali Honeymoon,

depending on the area where the wedding is taking place. The different region of Somali people has

different traditional dances and most famous traditional dances are Batar, Dhaanto, Shirib, Jaandheer

and Saylic.