Monday, October 25, 2010
Tying the knots
The dowry is set. Traditionally it used to be in a requested number of grams of rough gold and livestock. Nowadays, the cash is set in CFA Francs. The average cash dowry is no more than CFA 100,000 -approximately $225- a symbolic amount paid to the bride on behalf of the groom. The bride will also receive lose fabric, usually yards of wax print material. Her family may also request a cow for her fathers -the bride's father and her paternal uncles- which, after tough bargaining may be paid in nature or the equivalent value given in cash.
The bride's family will request a boubou -big traditional outfit- for her father or a respected uncle. Similarly, the mother(s) of the bride -her mother, mother sister wife and her aunts- will be given lose fabric or cash as a marriage gift.
Once an agreement has been reach in the negotiations, then the bride's hand is officially given in marriage.
This marriage contract does not get into the determination of what is expected of the partners as husband and wife. Instead, the rights and duties are presumed understood and may be reiterated in the family's advices to their son or daughter and during the blessing portion of the ceremony.
The "tying of the knots" usually precedes other ceremonies such as the "head washing" we cover in a previous post.