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2003 - Part of the family
 
 

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 village.

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 husband.

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.

The wedding in Kahawta - Asmara Eritrea.

Helen Yemane is marrying to Semere Habtom.

Helen Yemane is marrying to Semere Habtom.

Two little brides maids at the wedding in Kahawta.

Two little brides maids at the wedding in Kahawta.

Drum beat announcing the wedding in Kahawta.

Drum beat announcing the wedding in Kahawta.

The men doing their part of the ceremonies at the wedding.

The men doing their part of the ceremonies at the wedding.

Drinking suwa at the wedding in Kahawta.

Drinking suwa at the wedding in Kahawta.

Cooking a meal for the guests at the wedding.

Cooking a meal for the guests at the wedding.

Sharing the glasses on a happy mariage.

Sharing the glasses on a happy mariage.

Dancing and singing at the wedding.

Dancing and singing at the wedding.

Bride and bridegroom leaving the wedding.

Bride and bridegroom leaving the wedding.

Singing and saying goodbye to the bride.

Singing and saying goodbye to the bride.

 

 
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