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The Fascinating South Sudanese Wedding Ceremony in Which Women are Forced to Marry Ghosts


Among a few tribes in South Sudan, it is a typical and appropriate custom for a lady to be offered to a dead man. Incredibly, in the wake of wedding the dead, such ladies are not marked as widows yet rather too hitched ladies who have working families and kids for their dead spouses.

In South Sudan, apparition marriage is as typical as standard relational unions and a few ladies are compelled to experience such services with a tremendous expense to pay in the event that they reject.

Albeit rehearsed in a gigantic piece of the general South Sudanese people group, the way of life is most predominant among the Dinka and Nuer clans that for the most part live along the Nile and are occupants of the Nile Valley. The two clans talk various dialects yet they share a few customary and social traditions, the most noteworthy being the phantom wedding services.

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A woman is made to have a ghost marriage for several reasons; one of the most popular reason being that her husband-to-be suddenly died before the set date of marriage. In such cases, the ghost marriage will happen when both families have been introduced to each other and the union has been made official.

During the wedding ceremony, the brother of the dead represents the dead partner and the wedding ceremony proceeds like many other regular wedding ceremonies. Once the ceremony is over, the woman is respected as a married woman and when it comes to childbearing, she is likely to have kids with the brother of her dead husband.

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In some other situation, a family can decide to marry for their son, especially the firstborn son, all in the name of keeping the family line alive. Here, a brother will also have to take the place of the dead and take the woman as if she were his very own.

Once married, the brother of the dead partner is left with the responsibility of taking up the role of a proper husband, however, when officially counting his wives, the wife of his ghost brother is not considered or recognized as his.

Despite being an unorthodox way of marriage which many women dislike, there were several women who in their own interest, did not mind the ceremony at all.

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South Sudanese young bride being prepared for marraige

Usually, such women are well placed and influential with a lot of property they would rather not part with. For many women, ghost marriages were a way of retaining their wealth rather than have to share it with a man or completely lose it all in regular marriages.

Image result for south sudanese women at naming ceremonies.
South Sundanese women protesting – Photo- Al Jazeera.

Although a strong part of their tradition and culture, over the years, the ghost marriage ceremony has declined. The drastic decline has been due to factors such as western education and modernization.

While several women continue to be married off in ghost marriages against their will, a bigger number is now able to speak against it while others continue to see it as a meer part of the culture.

In general, ghost marriages are slowly becoming a thing of the past as the practice is not as vibrant as it used to be. However, it is not likely to be totally wiped out of society anytime soon as several groups in South Sudan still find it very necessary and keep passing it on to the younger generation.



Written by How Africa

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