We were thrilled to share about our in-country director, Sorie Kamara's wedding in mid-May. This week, we have a few more details on the big day, Sierra Leone wedding traditions, and a special party at the center so our kids could celebrate Sorie and his bride, Ruth, too.
Weddings in Sierra Leone, while they have many similarities to weddings in America, also incorporate many traditions that make them unique to Sierra Leone. Sorie shared this about wedding traditions in Sierra Leone, "There are specific traditions in Sierra Leone depending on the ethnicity and religious background. For us, we started with a traditional wedding, commonly called an engagement. The groom's family will go and meet the bride's family, bringing along certain items wrapped in a weaved basket or calabash, including items like kola nuts, a needle and thread, a button, fabric materials, and a certain sum of money as dowry. In addition, a certain sum of money is put in various envelopes as respectable greetings to all categories of relatives and parents plus neighbors, friends, chiefs, and religious leaders in the community of the bride. The bride's family will welcome the groom's family with a bottle of wine. The bride's consent is sought in front of everyone, and then she verbally consents to the marriage. The wrapped calabash is opened, containing an engagement ring and engagement Bible. The groom is summoned to complete the ceremony by putting the engagement ring on the bride's finger, and a man or woman of God blesses the couple. Finally, food and drinks are shared with music to start the celebration."
There are also two parts to the wedding day celebration - the white wedding and the reception. Again, Sorie described both of these in detail, sharing, "The wedding day, referred to as the white wedding, is conducted in the church. Family members, relatives, and friends are invited to be present while a church service is held with the exchanging of vows, and wedding certificates are signed by witnesses. After the church ceremony, the entourage board in vehicles and pays a visit to various people, including parents and others who have consented to be godparents of the couple. The parents and godparents bless a glass of water to be given to the couples as a symbol of blessing to peace and long-lasting marriage. The entourage and the couple also find a location and take some photographs.
In the evening, a big banquet or wedding reception is held. Food and drinks are shared, plus music. Some friends and guests will bring in presents for the couple, mainly in the form of household utensils. Cutting of wedding cakes all involved in this. It is always colorful with various groups of people dressed in uniforms, commonly called ashoby, representing workmates, classmates, family members, or a unit or an organization that one of the couples belong to."
Sorie had hoped that several children from The Raining Season would be able to attend the wedding ceremony to represent TRS. Unfortunately, because of our lockdown policies that remain in place, none of the children could attend. However, that did not mean that they did not have a special part in the celebrations. On May 28th, Sorie and Ruth held a big party at the center to celebrate their marriage with all of our children and staff that were unable to attend the official ceremony. They were treated to snacks and drinks as well as music. The children and staff had a wonderful time celebrating the Kamaras!
Once again, congratulations to Sorie and Ruth! We wish you much happiness as you begin your lives together. May God richly bless your marriage!
The Raining Season