In Cameroon culture, as with a lot of other African countries, traditional marriage rituals are fast being replaced by modern day more westernized practices.
Cameroon wedding take on various forms depending on the tribe.
Among the Bamenda Tikar, the groom pays a bride price to the bride’s family, this consists of goats, fabric, oil, cash and farming tools. He will typically approach the bride’s father to get his initial approval to court his daughter. Once the two families meet, an engagement will be officially announced and the bride’s father will decide on how much the marriage payment will be. After the official wedding ceremony, the bride will return to her parents’ home to be cleansed and covered with camwood, then she will officially be “handed over” to her husband.
Among the Bamileke tribe, a girl could be betrothed at birth and when she reaches the age of 15 the official wedding would take place. A boy was allowed to marry only after his circumcision which usually occurred between the ages of 14 and 18. A girl actually had the option of refusing to marry her parents’ husband selection if she didn’t like him.
If both the boy and the girl choose to proceed with the marriage plans, he will give her parents and grandparents some goats. A bride price would be determined by her father and after the marriage ceremony the bride will be escorted by her relatives to her new home. As a type of welcome, the groom’s father will throw water on the couples’ feet as they stand in the doorway of their new home.
Also in the Cameroon culture, in the Banen tribe, (though this is no longer practiced today), historically two families would exchange brides. A young girl would live in the household of her future husband and be raised and trained by her future husband’s senior wife. Polygamy was a common practice among the Banen. After the young girl’s puberty ceremony the marriage would be consummated.
Among the Bafia tribe, marriage by capture was the norm. It was commonplace for girls to be captured for marriage, so much so that if a daughter was of marriageable age and she was taken, her family would not put too much effort into trying to get her back. The captor however did have to make himself known and offer them payment for his wife. This practice however no longer takes place today.