AfriSQuare Forums

Home Forums African Marriages Basic Knowledge of the Bena Marriage Culture

This topic contains 1 voice and has 0 replies.
1 voice
0 replies
  • Author
  • #6501
    Victory Amah

      Africa is a culturally diverse continent with different wedding traditions, despite this diversity, one thing that remains constant is the involvement of one’s family. Arranged marriages were a norm before but now it has given way to personal choices.

      In Ethiopia, marriages between a man and a woman were mainly organized by their families so the dating culture was non-existent. Even when a couple chooses each other, they still need the blessings of their parents.

      The Bena tribe is one of the southern tribes of Ethiopia. The weddings in this tribe come in different forms with the necessary conditions. In this custom, before a man’s life partner is chosen for him, he is required to jump a row of oxen. He is to tell when he is ready to jump these oxen so that his family can prepare a huge celebration. Once his challenge is completed successfully, he ties his waist with a nail using leather, this nail is a necklace that will be given to his bride later on.

      After the jumping of the oxen, the finding of his right fit will begin. Upon completion of jumping the row of oxen, he only eats meat and honey and drinks only milk for three months in a row until he finds Mrs. Right. If a girl had already been chosen for him by his family before the jumping, the elders go to the girl’s house.

      In looking for a life partner, a man can also look outside his clan and if he finds one outside his clan, he uses force to make her eat any kind of cereal that is found around them. Once this happens, she becomes betrothed to the man and she can’t be for someone else.

      If the girl who ate the cereal is a child, she stays with her parents until she comes of age, after which the man could send elders to her family or take her by himself.

      In Bena, polygamy is practiced, and the first wife of a man who has completed his challenge of jumping the row of oxen is called a Bignarow. When a man wants to get married again, he is not expected to go through this challenge again. Any woman who is ready to be taken in as a second wife will wear a certain kind of jewelry.

      Another kind of marriage practiced in the Bena tribe is known as Baskin; this is a kind of marriage where the younger brother takes his older brother’s wife when he dies, and in a situation where her dead husband does not have a younger brother, another man from the husband’s clan will marry her.

      If a man in this clan has a lot of money and high economical status he is then allowed to marry 10 girls at once. The next stage in the marriage culture is giving gifts to the bride’s family, this is called Telosh. Depending on the type of wedding, the amount of the Telosh increases. The groom might even pay until the third generation to her family. If he married her by abduction then the amount of the Telosh to be paid increases. Finally, a huge ceremony is to be held for the wedding.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.