For most African-American weddings, The road to becoming newlyweds is one that’s full of poignant symbolism.
However, finding a wedding planning specialist in Mexico with experience in African-American wedding traditions may not be easy.
Here is a run-down of some of the customs we typically coordinate for African-American weddings.
Knocking on the Door
Knocking on the door symbolizes respect for the bride’s family. Once the groom´s intentions are clear, both families discuss the prospects of unity, before approving the union. However, the bride always gets to have the last word. Her father asks her three times if she agrees to the proposal. Celebrations only begin once the bride says “yes” to each request, thus making the pair’s engagement official.
African-American Weddings Libation Ceremony
Similar to knocking on the door, libation ceremonies connect deeply with African-American wedding culture. Pouring alcohol or even holy water on the ground is a way to honor late family members. Meanwhile, guests recite prayers to connect the living to their ancestral spirits. According to some West African tribes, libation ceremonies enable newlyweds to gain wisdom and guidance from their ancestors.
Tasting the Four Elements
This Yorùbá ritual is a tradition that where the couple gets a literal taste of four flavors that are meant to represent distinct stages within a marriage: Cayenne for spiciness, lemon for sourness, vinegar for bitterness and honey for sweetness. By tasting each of these flavors, newlyweds symbolically demonstrate they’ll be able to remain together for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
The Kola nut has an ancient history in the tropical rain forests of Western Africa. This caffeine-packed fruit was used for medicinal purposes throughout numerous tribes in what is now Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Eventually, the Kola nut became a unifying symbol for couples and their families thanks to its healing properties—which is why it’s also popular during wedding ceremonies.
Jumping the Broom
One of the top contenders in African-American wedding traditions is none other than jumping the broom. (There’s a whole movie about it, after all.) The act of jumping the broom stems from American slave culture, when it was forbidden for slaves to marry. To this day, it’s not uncommon to see African-American weddings incorporating this custom using handmade brooms.
In this ritual, the bride and groom demonstrate their commitment by joining wooden sticks together. Symbolically, the crossing of sticks represents unity and power. Alternatively, you can make your wedding stand out by fusing the crossing stick ceremony with a sparkler send-off.
Tying the Knot
Everyone knows the colloquial expression “tying the knot.” However, it is a lesser known fact that this saying connects to an age-old African ritual. During the ceremony, a bride and groom tie their wrists together with either a Kente cloth, string of cowrie shells, or decorative rope. Next, the couple says their vows in front of the officiant, who in turn ties the knot and confirms their commitment to the marriage.
Want to make a few dollars back on your wedding day? Add a twist to your wedding with a Nigerian money dance. Yorùbá and Igbo tribes are the primary groups that practice this generous custom. It now also features in some African-American wedding receptions. Typically, guests toss cash and the the pair celebrate their fortune by dancing to traditional music.
With more than a decade of making dreams come true in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Weddings by Lomas Travel are your #1 wedding coordinator for African American weddings.Contact one of our Wedding Specialists to get started.