Considering we have looked extensively over the last two weeks at wedding rituals in the modern Western world, I thought it might be interesting to contrast this with other cultures and their marriage rituals as well. The Nuer of East Africa view marriage and weddings as important rites of passage that everyone must go through. If a man dies and is unmarried, a woman will be found who will go through a marriage ceremony and ‘marry’ his ghost in what are called ‘ghost marriages’. These are said to occur almost as frequently as traditional marriages between a living male and female. When these types of marriages occur, a donor is found to provide the women with children and the children are socially recognised as belonging to the deceased man’s ‘ghost’ and not the biological father. The ghost marriages are very much socially accepted and are a common part of the Nuer culture, they are ‘legally binding’ within their societies. Western marriages and weddings require wedding licences that must be obtained before a wedding ceremony can take place. Within our society it would be impermissible to marry a deceased persons ‘ghost’, and no marriage would ever be considered binding if a wedding ceremony were to take place between a living person and a deceased persons ‘ghost’.


~ by jackie213 on June 7, 2009.

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