African American wedding traditions are diverse and are usually an indication of the regions of Africa where they originate from. It is safe to say African American weddings are also as a result of cultural diffusion’s over centuries. Traditions include:
Wedding Attire: If an image speaks a thousand words,then African American couples are right to make culture statement with their wedding attires. Wedding attires are used as a means to express the cultures and traditions of the families about to wed. Couples are known to convey their cultural heritage through the clothes they wear. African traditional garbs include Agbada, Isi Agu, Babaringa, Bubah all elegantly designed with matching caps and headpiece. The brides may also wear their hair in braids with African ornaments on their wrists and necks.
Jumping the broom: The popular African American wedding tradition has an origin which is may be traced to the slave trade era in America, a period characterized by repression and oppression when blacks were not allowed to marry. Blacks usually made a public declaration of their love and commitment by jumping over a broom to the beat of drums. This tradition still persist in the modern day as couples “Jump the broom” to symbolize the conclusion of their wedding ceremony. The broom which is usually handmade and beautifully decorated may be displayed in the couple’s new home.
Tying Nuptial Knots: The culture oftying the knots has evolved, it is currently a standard practice in most wedding traditions of the world. In some African tribes, the couple’s wrists are tied together with an African fabric to represent unification. The practice of tying the knot is usually made official with the recitation of wedding vows as the officiating minister ties the knot. Piece of fabrics containing rare African symbols may also be utilized.
Pouring Libation: pouring libation is an age old African tradition with an eternal significance for partakers. Known as a means of paying respect to the ancestors, heroes from the past and friends and family who recently passed, the tradition is mark of respect to the earth where everything comes from should be honored for easy passage always. For most Afrocentric ceremonies which include weddings, couples are expected to pour liquor on the earth while prayers are said for a prosperous union.
There are so many more African American wedding traditions but with common themes which represents honor, communal relationships and fertility are which is the hallmark of most things traditional.