Marriage  

 

Photo 38: girl

Rufo

 

 

 

Photo 39: young man

Rufo

 

 

 

Photo 40: Sura and grandchild

Rufo

 

 

Photo 41: cattle

Rufo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A marriage in Arbore involves two distinct rites of passage. – sud (wedding) and min gussin (building a hut). There may be months or even years between the two rituals, depending on the financial power of the groom.

During the first ritual, the girl becomes a bride. The groom has to pay a high bride price in the form of cattle, goats, sheep, coffee, honey, tobacco and cowries. He has plugged away for years to earn this. During the sud ritual, the girl has her external genitals cut. Besides this hidden marking, her status change is also marked by visible changes to her hair, clothes and behaviour. Finally, the bride moves to her parents-in-aw where she has to do all the daily work under the control of her new family.

During the second ritual, min gussin, the group of the uta dance naked at the river. Their dance is exceptional because of being performed naked. The uta pitch the bride into the river to clean her symbolically from her infantile attributes. During that time, the residents of the village together build a small hut for the bridal couple. At night the couple steal into the new hut. Boys and men eavesdrop on the bride and groom to check that the wedding night is consumated correctly. After the wedding night the bride is a sallé (woman) and will often be called ege hanni, mother of the youngsters. This title shows premature praise and expectations for an early first baby.