The perennial marriage season is experienced in every corner of the
metropolis, if not the country. The latest hits of wedding songs are being sold
like hotcakes. Electronic media outlets are filled with songs of marriage and
As usual, the best streets and roads of the capital are crowded by the
fleets of the just married couples and their escorts. Each car in each caravan
blows its horn, creating a sound as blaring as possible.
Judging by the looks of things, particularly by the rows of feasts and
the attendance of well dressed families at the best hotels in the city, one
cannot but wonder that this country has already surpassed its forecasted target
of joining the middle income group in some respects. Indeed, many of those who
are preoccupied with the thoughts of daily breadwinning think that this is not
their time to live, at all, watching this much extravagance.
Most of the music choices and dedications heard over the different
radio channels have to do with newly married couples, even if the wedding
parties have no time at all to listen to such programmes. Everywhere the wedding
party goes or pauses to take a photographic break, escorts almost impulsively
regroup themselves around the bride and bridegroom to sing and dance.
At times, wedding parties get involved in confrontations when passing
other groups of vehicles rolling on the streets of the capital. This sort of
disagreement usually occurs when driving around traffic circles. The incident is
aggravated when the married couples’ drivers try to be fancy and show off their
status, as if better vehicle models have the right-of-way to overtake the other
It usually so happens that cameramen of one party or the other get
involved and fuel the fire instead of watering down conflicts. In the course of
events, horns are fiercely blown from all directions, thus, rendering the area a
small battleground. In times like this, it is the bystanders and idle onlookers
milling about who are entertained by the excitement of the skirmish.
The clapping of hands and shouts of abuse, coupled with the blaring
blasts of horns, turn out to be incidents of amusement for observers on the
sidewalks, while a frustrating and annoying event for people inside vehicles.
With a little bit of humble imagination extended to this situation,
flashes of the wedding hall or tent can easily be visualised, including the
looks on the faces of the invited guests, sitting calmly and yawning in hunger,
perhaps, close enough to smell the wafts of the room where tables are richly
laden with a variety of food.
Once, this writer asked a man why wedding parties never arrive on time.
The reply he got was unusual.
Death and marriage are incidents that come once in a lifetime, the
respondent said. Hence, married couples want to take advantage of the day.
They want to be respected like a king whose delayed arrival is always
perpetual, but, then again, considering the time and other factors that tax them
before they tie the knot, delay might be tolerated, at least for once.
A justifiable cause for the delay is the time it takes the traffic
congestion to allow the wedding parties to drop by a photogenic park,
ceremoniously walking in front of fountains or hilltops, high up flights of
The parade has to be majestic, with some effort to make it rather
bridal if not “pridal.” Some of the members of the wedding party wear similar
attire and try to walk gracefully in twos of mixed genders.
Kith and kin are persuaded to get up from their seats and join the
jumping and singing party. Some do it out of the urge to sing and dance. Others
join to please the family, despite their lack of mobility to perform.
As of late, dancing and singing the right tune at wedding ceremonies
has become a lucrative business and at least a yearly source of income for some.
Cameramen equipped with professional video cameras also benefit from
the seasonal windfalls of wedding expenses. Some of them rent pickup trucks and
use them to take clips and snaps of the procession flowing through the streets.
They, then, add some additional clips and collect quite a fortune, still peanuts
in light of the other expenses of the ceremony.
Speaking of expenses, weddings are one of the things that scare away
and discourage young people from establishing families. The majority of the
population in Ethiopia is made up of young men and women.
On the other hand, there is the HIV and AIDS problem compelling youths
to get married. It is no wonder that this creates a difficult dilemma for them.
Ethiopians in the Diaspora also come here to get married with a lavish
wedding ceremony and festivities. Many of them toil for over 18 hours daily at
different places to earn their livings and save some money.
It is ironic that these Ethiopians coming home, after seeing how wisely
marriages are carried out abroad, cannot learn from them.
Wedding ceremonies are just cover-ups, many people argue. Marrying
couples may spend their savings or even borrow money for the sake of simply
throwing parties, separating before they finish paying off their debts.
Here comes the season for all of this, again.