The Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville, is located on the western coast of Central Africa. Boarded by Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the Atlantic Ocean, it was formerly part of the French colony.
Established in 1958 and gained independence from France in 1960, the Republic of Congo is the fourth-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Guinea providing the nation with a significant amount of cash reserves for political and economic stability.
Widows shave their heads
To ward off evil spirits and sometimes death, women are expected to shave their hair when their husband dies. Some say the dead spirit of the husband lingers in the wife’s hair and so it serves her well to shave it for her own good, otherwise misfortune may follow her.
Other cultures do not force the widows to shave their hair but they are not at liberty to add extensions or dye them. The underlining thing here is showing that you are grieving your husband well by keeping your hair out of the way is a sign of respect to his family.
Doorstep grocery shopping
Many women prefer to shop for groceries from their homes rather than take a trip to the market. It is very common for hawkers to parade the streets with their wares so, on a typical day, a woman looking to cook comes to her gate and waits for what she needs which will certainly come.
She makes the purchase and goes inside to cook. If you have other things to attend to, the hawkers announce their wares through the streets so one can call them inside the house if the item being sold is what they need.
The bride price or ‘the dot’ the groom pays to the bride’s family is often very high. Most women are expected to be virgins before marriage hence there is a ritual performed after marriage to ascertain if the bride is a virgin.
Women from both sides of the family pay the couple a visit after the wedding night to ascertain if the woman was a virgin. The absence of blood-stained cloth could indicate the bride is not a virgin. Also, the groom is questioned and if the answers are not satisfactory, the marriage could be annulled.
The groom can then ask for his dot back if virginity is not proved.
The ancestors must be honored
In the Republic of Congo, it is not uncommon for elders to share a drink with their ancestors, be it at weddings, naming ceremonies or funerals. All this is to show reverence to their ancestors and to seek their protection from beyond the grave.