A Wedding and A Funeral

In our time at Shirati, I was invited to a wedding and a funeral, and they surprisingly shared many similarities. I was a bit disappointed with the wedding because I had imagined a traditional African ceremony, but instead, it was very much of a Western-style reception. The decor, format, and speeches followed similarly to that of a reception back in the States. The one unique thing was the procession of gifts. Guests floridly present their gifts because the culture says that the more you embellish on the opulence of the gift, the more you cherish the couple.

The funeral a week later was remarkably similar to the wedding reception in that it was more of a celebration than a somber event. Speeches were made and the achievements of the deceased were highlighted as the feast and bright conversation presided over the guests. Interestingly, funerals draw crowds of hundreds, even a thousand clan members, and can last for as long as a month of celebration, whereas weddings had much smaller audiences.