Asmara Eritrea - May 11th 2003
I wake up at 7:00, but it appears the whole
family has been waiting for me to wake up (I slept in their main room) because
as soon as as am dressed everyone is gathered in the room. Yordanos makes
Eritrean style coffee and I have white bread and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The
rest of the family eats injera.
Today is a special day called "tidying
day". Until noon, there will be no traffic at all and everyone is doing
their best to clean their neighborhood. Small children gather litter, women
clean the streets and their back yard with brooms. Shovels collect the result
and clean the small (dry) rivers. With no buses or taxi's I can only watch the
people doing thier work and walk between the Corea Housing Complex en Sembel
At 12:00 we can go to part 2 of the wedding
in Kahawta. From the main street I direct a taxi to Feshayes house. The driver
is surprised, expecting just a tourist, I show up with the entire family.
At the entrance of the tent everyone is
supposed to leave his name in the guest book and make a small contribution. The
amount of money will depend on the relationship with the bride or bridegroom and
the wealth of the visitor. Although I only have a very indirect
relationship with the family that is organizing the wedding, I leave 100 Nakfa
as my contribution to the wedding.
Injera is served and I even get a fork and knife.
I explain I do not need then and I eat injera with the other three man sitting
around the table (it is quite usual to share one large injera with several
persons and it is a big challenge to eat it with the Eritrean table manners in
mind). Of course there is suwa, served in large metal cone shaped bowls.
The rest of the ceremony is always in the
same order. The bridegroom will arrive with a decorated car and brings the
dowry, that is carried through the tent and shown to the family of the bride.
Than there is speeches from representatives of both families to the other family
and a priest. The bride is dressed with the clothes the bridegroom brought in
and under the sound of drums the bride comes in and sits next to her new
Food is carried in and both the bride and the
bridegroom feed each other and their family as a promise of mutual support
if necessary. Finally there is champagne and everyone will receive a small wedge
of cake, starting with the families, who will feed each other, promising
support. When both the brides maids and Yordanos start feeding me I am touched.
It is their way of saying "You are part of the family".
Finally there is singing and dancing, and
money is collected to cover the cost of the wedding and the just married couple
will leave in the decorated car.
The wedding in Kahawta - Asmara Eritrea.
Helen Yemane is marrying to Semere Habtom.
Two little brides maids at the wedding in Kahawta.
Drum beat announcing the wedding in Kahawta.
The men doing their part of the ceremonies at the wedding.
Drinking suwa at the wedding in Kahawta.
Cooking a meal for the guests at the wedding.
Sharing the glasses on a happy mariage.
Dancing and singing at the wedding.
Bride and bridegroom leaving the wedding.
Singing and saying goodbye to the bride.