Zulu traditional wedding culture: decor, cakes, attire, ceremony, songs

Zulu traditional wedding culture: decor, cakes, attire, ceremony, songs

Like any other African wedding, a Zulu traditional wedding is vibrant with music, colours, dancing, and feasting. While other South African wedding traditions and customs exist, a Zulu wedding takes the lead in popularity, magnificence, and self-importance.

Zulu wedding traditions
Zulu traditional wedding culture. Photo: @ZuluBrides
Source: UGC

The traditional Zulu wedding is always held at the groom's family home. The ceremony necessitates extensive planning and various customer stages that must be adhered to.

Zulu traditional wedding culture

A Zulu traditional wedding is so rich. It entails many cultural aspects from preparation to the wedding day and after.

How is the Zulu traditional wedding process conducted? When a Zulu girl comes of age, her father arranges a coming-out ceremony where he introduces her to society and lets suitors know she is available for marriage. Well, to some extent, this tradition has changed because nowadays, couple gets to choose their partners.

The Zulu girl has the advantage of going and getting the groom. The groom then invites her and her clan to their home, where they negotiate about dowry, which is usually in the form of cattle.

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The bride's father demands worthy compensation for giving his daughter away. Only when an agreement is reached will all plans be stalled. The cattle serve as insurance if the groom rejects the girl or leaves her unjustly.

It is used to help feed her and the children they may have sired together. It is also meant to show the bride's father that he, the groom, can take care of the bride.

How does a Zulu wedding take place?

Zulu traditional wedding
Zulu traditional wedding ceremony. Photo: @konzichenze, @theblackkings&queensproject
Source: UGC

What happens in a traditional Zulu wedding? Once the bride and groom have agreed to go ahead with marriage plans, the senior girls allow the groom to spend time with the bride in her kraal.

During this time, the lady is expected to remain a vi*gin until after her wedding. Should she be deflowered, the groom has to pay a fine, and the wedding conducted immediately.

The bride is decorated with white and red ochre on the wedding day. She ties bags of pebbles on her feet to create a rhythm when dancing.

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She wears a veil made of beads and twisted fig trees, ties oxtail fringes on her arms and knees, and wears goatskin on her neck. She then carries a miniature knife pointed upwards to symbolise her vi*ginity.

Then the ceremony's highlight comes the dance-off between the groom’s and the bride’s families. The two families must present a ritual antagonism since one is losing a daughter and the other is gaining her.

It shows she is disconnecting from her ancestral lineage and joining her husband’s lineage. The bride then dances by herself, kicking her feet up to show her mother she is a proud vi*gin.

The groom’s family will then slaughter a cow, and the bride puts money in the cow's stomach. It shows that her new family welcomes her to join them, and she willingly accepts.

The bride finally joins the groom’s family bearing gifts like cows, mats, baskets, and others to give to the members of her new family, including the long-dead ones.

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The family will then cover themselves with blankets in an open field for everyone to see while the spectators dance, sing and ululate, cheering for the newly formed relationships. The groom's mother rubs butterfat on her new daughter-in-law at the end of the ceremony.

Zulu wedding songs

Forget the feasting and teasing; the dance makes a Zulu traditional wedding so interesting. But what is a dance without a song? Zulu weddings are known to include some sweet wedding songs like:

  • Baba Nomama
  • Nginesi Ponono
  • Sesimfumene

Classy Zulu traditional wedding decor

classy zulu traditional wedding decor
A decorated Zulu wedding reception. Photo: @MazinoribsDecor, @NokuthulaMaseko
Source: UGC

Zulu traditional wedding decor is full of vibrant colours. Once the girl and the guy agree to get married, the bride-to-be makes a pair of beaded bracelets and necklaces in matching colours. She wears one and gives the other to her groom. Whoever sees them knows that these two are a thing.

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Depending on your preferences and budget, modern Zulu traditional wedding decor can range from simple to sophisticated. The community's flag is blue, yellow, red, and black. To honour their culture, many couples from this ethnic group use colourful decorations for their wedding.

Zulu traditional wedding dresses

Zulu traditional wedding dresses
Zulu brides. Photo: @ZuluBrides (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Usually, on the wedding day, the bride changes outfits three times to show her new in-laws how dazzling she looks in different colours. While it is not customary for the bride to wear the white gown, she can choose to wear it and change into a traditional outfit after she gets to the groom's home.

The traditional Zulu wedding attire is always changing, but the Ischolo remains an important symbol of Zulu's cultural heritage. However, the modern Zulu traditional wedding dress is incomplete without the traditional Zulu hat and beads to complete the look.

How much does a Zulu wedding cost?

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Like any other traditional African wedding, a Zulu wedding can be expensive. From the decorations to the costumes and gifts, you should be prepared to fork out at least n R70,000 – R80,000 to cater for 80-100 guests. However, the total cost depends on what you can afford and how well you plan for it.

Zulu Umembeso traditional wedding cakes

Zulu Umembeso traditional wedding cakes
Traditional Zulu wedding cake. Photo: @LaFinesseCakes, @CakesofHeart, @CCMCakes (modified by author)
Source: UGC

A wedding cake is an important detail that must be carefully considered when planning. The Zulus have lovely customs and enviable ancient patterns, making them ideal for wedding themes.

A traditional Umembeso cake is an important part of the celebration. Usually, the cake is decorated using Zulu wedding traditions and colours and the wedding theme.

Best scones recipe in South Africa

In addition to other well-known Zulu recipes like creamy sorghum, Upthuthu Namasi, and Isijngi, you can make creamy scones and serve them at a wedding reception.

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Scones are light and simple to prepare. They're glazed with egg wash and slightly sweetened. It makes a delectable treat for your guest when served with a delicious fruity berry jam and whipped cream. Scones recipe ingredients include flour, baking powder, salt to taste, butter, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and sugar.

Zulu weddings are a fascinating example of South Africa's blending of modern and tribal cultures. Don't miss out on the chance to witness and participate in a prestigious Zulu traditional wedding ceremony.

READ ALSO: Ndebele culture, food, patterns, traditional attire, customs, houses, arts and facts

Briefly.co.za recently published an article about Ndebele culture, food, patterns, traditional attire, customs, houses, arts, and facts. The Ndebele people are known for their colourful patterns, clothes, and houses.

Their language is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. The Ndebele culture is closely related to the Zulu and Xhosa people. Discover some of the amazing Ndebele culture, food, and clothing.

Source: Briefly News

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