Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan Wedding Traditions and Customs


In some areas of Nigeria, an engagement ceremony is held one evening before the wedding, during which all partake in kola nuts and beer. The traditional Nigerian bride wears imported Indian fabric, a decorative coral-beaded headpiece, necklaces and coral-beaded ankle bracelets. During the ceremony, the officiating elder may sip a cup of palm wine, inviting the bride and groom to join him, however, first she must find her groom, who playfully hides amidst the guests.

In most regions, traditional music, dance and food are very important elements of the celebration. In some areas, such as in Lamu, just off the coast of Nigeria, beautiful henna designs are drawn on the bride's hands and feet, and one of the elders helps bathe her and wash her hair before the ceremony. She might also be massaged with coconut oil and scented oils. Today, the Nigerian wedding often follows Western trends in that the bride wears white and the wedding takes place in a church, although the newlyweds may change into traditional costume for their reception.


Today most Norwegians are Evangelical Lutheran. Their receptions feature traditional cakes: in some regions it is the kransekake, or almond paste cake shaped in rings. The top tier is reserved for the couple and they break (not slice) the other rings for the guests. Other regions served a "Brudlaupsking", a cake made of bread and dates, which is considered special since flour was once scarce on farms. At northern folk weddings, bride and groom are outfitted in red and blue tunics covered with numerous silver and gold bangles, whose clinking sound was thought to keep evil spirits away. They also wear reindeer skin boots and crowns covered with spoon-shaped bangles. Tradition has it that at the reception the bride must dance until her crown falls off. Norwegian farm weddings take place at night by candlelight. At the celebration, traditional liquor, aquavit, plus salmon, herring and vodka, are served. A fiddler is ever present, as is the kuogmester, master of ceremonies, who leads the singing and dancing.


Before a Pakistani wedding takes place, there are days of feasting, exchanging wedding gifts, displaying gifts, as well as the important mehndi ceremony, the joining together of two families. For the wedding, the bride may wear a decorative red scarf and dress, her hands and feet decorated with beautiful henna designs, as well as precious jewels handed down from both her own, and the groom's mothers. The groom wears a ring of flowers around his neck. An elaborate reception is held under a tent, where men and women dine in separate sections, the celebration sometimes lasting up to five days.

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