Black History: Wedding Traditions

In line with the celebration of culture, uniqueness and love, we decided to share some of the wedding traditions in the African American culture that are still celebrated today. Most of these are still practiced today but couples have the ability to put their own personal touch on some of them to make it more special on their big day!

Kola Nuts

Used for it’s medicinal and healing properties, this nut is important to West African weddings since it represents the families and couples willingness to heal. In some African countries this nut is shared amongst the couple and their family and that is what completes the ceremony.

Tying the Knot

A common phrase we use today when referring to a couple getting married but in African culture- it’s literally tying a knot! Some African tribes have a close friend, family member or officiant ties braided grass or piece of material around the wrists of the couple. This then symbolizes their unity and commitment to one another.

Jumping the Broom

A widely known African wedding tradition that originated in the days of slavery when slaves were forbidden to marry or live together. The broom represented all past problems that have been swept away and jumping over it symbolized publicly and formally their marital union. Today, these brooms are beautifully decorated and often displayed in the home!

Crossing Sticks

Not as well known as jumping the broom is the crossing of tall sticks between the couple. This wedding tradition also dates back as early as the slavery era. Representing the life force as well as power within the trees, when they are crossed the couple conveys their hopes for a formidable and grounded beginning.

Money Spray

Popular on the West coast of Africa but not limited to a few other cultures, the money spray is the tradition of tossing money at the bride while she dances. This is gift from the guests that help the new couple get their lives started….make it rain! (Couldn’t help it…)

Tasting the 4 Elements

This is a ritual that originated in Yoruba that has the couple taste 4 flavors that symbolize 4 emotions in their marriage, typically bitter, hot, sour and sweet. These flavors emulate the good and the bad that may accompany marriage but ending in sweet if you endure the others.

Knock, knock

In Ghana, the groom comes bearing gifts and knocks at the door of his soon-to-be in laws since much emphasis is put on “permissions” or getting the “blessings” of the families that are being joined. If his knock is accepted, the celebration and planning for both family begins!

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