You never finish paying the bride price! Six Cameroon wedding traditions you should know

Cameroonian bride and her lovely bridesmaids. Photo: Pinterest

Whether you are going to do a traditional, civil or church marriage in Cameroon, each of these ceremonies will begin with the ‘knock door.’

Here, the groom’s family will visit that of the bride to declare intentions to marry their daughter. Note that, with traditional marriages in Cameroon, the family head plays a huge role, especially in bride-price negotiations than the parents of the bride and groom.

Here are some other interesting facts you should know about a Cameroonian wedding.


The bride price

Cameroonians consider the bride price as a sign of appreciation to the bride’s family for raising their daughter to be fit for marriage. Usually, the groom is asked to give goats, money, farming tools, firewood, fabric, and palm oil to the bride’s family. These items are negotiated between the two families. The groom and his family do sometimes present gifts to uncles and aunts to facilitate the process.


You could pick the wrong woman

After both families have reached an agreement about the bride price, several women are lined up at the traditional wedding, all dressed the same way with their heads and sometimes whole bodies covered. The groom must find his bride. Any time he picks the wrong woman, he pays a fine. This would continue until he finds his wife. After identifying his wife, they share a drink in public and this comes with wild jubilations.

Photo: Kinnaka’s Blog

The colors of the wedding cake

It has been documented that every color on the wedding cake symbolizes some good fortune. It could signify fertility, happiness, purity, royalty, among others. At most Cameroonian weddings, couples are not allowed to cut their wedding cake until the baker explains what each color represents. The bride and groom can then go ahead. They will subsequently feed each other the cake and feed their families as well.

Photo: Tony Vinyoh

A clown as entertainment

Though there are various forms of entertainment including money-spraying at traditional weddings in Cameroon, the “gwedeng” or clown is usually the chief form of entertainment, particularly among the Kom people. An article by Culture Trip says the clown “leads the occasion with jokes, rites and clever stunts.”

Photo: Pinterest

Main outfit

The ‘Toghu’ or ‘Atoghu’, one of Cameroon’s most unique and most respected cultural attire, is usually the main outfit for traditional weddings in the West of Cameroon. Well known for its unique and colorful handmade embroidery, the costume is based on plain black velvet material that makes every couple stands out. Camwood powder, which is generally used for cleansing both the face and the whole body, is sometimes used by the bridal team. In some cultures, most brides, after the ceremony, are covered in camwood to cleanse them first before they are officially handed over to their husbands.


Handing over the bride

Aunts and cousins are often the main people to escort the bride to the family home of her husband after the ceremony. Amid jubilations, they are welcomed by the women of the groom’s family.


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