About Swaziland Traditional Wedding Ceremony- ‘Umtsimba’

Photo: The Swazi bride is covered with a blanket and escorted by the women of the clan.

A traditional Swazi wedding ceremony is called umtsimba, where the bride commits herself to her new family for the rest of her life.

The ceremony is a celebration that includes members of both the bride’s – and the groom’s – natal village. There are stages to the wedding that stretch over a few days. Each stage is significant, comprising symbolic gestures that have been passed on from generation to generation.

The first stage is the preparation of the bridal party before leaving their village.

The second stage is the actual journey of the bridal party from their village to the groom’s village.

The third stage is the first day of the wedding ceremony that spans three days, and starts on the day the bridal party arrives at the grooms’ village.

Thereafter the actual wedding ceremony takes place which is the fourth stage of the umtsimba.

The fifth stage takes place the day after the wedding ceremony and is known as kuteka, which is the actual wedding.

The final stage may take place the day after the wedding day, and is when the bride gives the groom’s family gifts and is the first evening the bride spends with the groom.

The traditional wedding ceremony has actually evolved in modern times. But no matter how much changes have been made, the ceremony hasn’t lost its savour.