The Nama have a complicated wedding ritual that consists of several stages and can last several months.
First, the man has to discuss his intentions with his family, if the relatives agree, they recommend the future husband which costumes to adopt to ask the family of the bride for consent to the wedding and later they accompany him to the place where the girl lives.
Before the arrival of the future husband’s family, the bride's family prepares the place where to have the discussion; some skins of animals are arranged on the ground in order to enable the various groups to sit comfortably and discuss.
The groom's family, once they arrive at destination, asks for "opening the door", this is the first fundamental ritual, if the door is opened, the groom enters the place of discussion and he is questioned about the bride, the circumstances of their first meeting and their subsequent meetings are investigated, besides one tries to determine whether he is able to recognize the signs on her body to see if he can identify the girl, these questions are made to see if the two know each other well.
In the event that the bride is pregnant or had children from her future husband or from previous relationships, the girl is subjected to a "cleansing" ceremony that involves the slaughter of a goat as white as snow, a sign of purity; the meat is consumed later.
After a few days, the wedding ritual continues with a visit by the bride's family to the groom's clan; if an agreement is reached between the two clans and both are satisfied, the date of the wedding is chosen and the engagement is announced to the community; to ratify this agreement a few white flags are hoisted on both families’ houses, these flags cannot be removed even after the whole ritual, they remain in place until they are consumed, or until the wind takes them away one day.
Once the two families take the commitment and set the wedding date, the groom's family brings live animals as a gift to the home of the bride's family; animals are slaughtered, hung on three sticks and every part of the animal is offered to the family of the bride.
Other products as well, such as some sacks of sugar or flour, are brought as a gift to indicate that there will always be plenty of food.
Right after the groom's family will bring animals and goods to the family of the bride, as reciprocity.
At this point they begin the preparations for the wedding that can take up to a year, during this period one of the most important moments is when the groom's family brings a gift to the bride’s mother; traditionally the gift consists of a cow and a calf, to thank her to have feed the bride to her breast.
On the wedding day, both families must contribute with animals and other food products to give life to the party that can last for several days.
The first night after the wedding the couple will go to a separate hut; the next morning, they come out of this hut and reach their new home.
Life, tradition and culture of Nama people
- Nama huts and villages
- Nama origins
- Nama wedding ritual
- Nama religion and legends
- Nama history