A bride is a female person who is about to be married. She may be attended by a maid or bridesmaid. The bride may carry a bouquet of flowers. Her future husband is often referred to as the bridegroom.
Bridesmaids are often given thank you gifts. Their attire is usually identical to the groom’s. They are also paid for their travel and lodging. Junior bridesmaids, on the other hand, are not held to the same financial obligations. In the early 20th century, brides generally wore darker colored dresses. Today, brides wear white dresses and ivory dresses.
Some cultures deem the “first touch” of the bride and groom as a superstition. This is a custom that dates back to arranged marriages. People believed that the first sight of the bride and the groom would give the couple a chance to change their minds. During the 19th century, it was thought that an ill-wisher could ruin a wedding.
A bride price is an arrangement between the bride and the groom that is designed to provide for the bride’s needs. It is a form of compensation for the bride’s lost labor. However, the concept of a bride price has varied widely across cultures. Among other reasons, bride prices have been used to establish the lineage of children. While it is common in the Western world, it is not universal.
According to Vansina (1966), there is some variation in the amount and manner in which a bride price is paid. Eighty percent of the groups she studied in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) paid a bride price. Other groups used a token bride price. But these differences do not appear to have any negative impact on the quality of marriages.
Bride price is a common practice in many pre-colonial ethnic groups. Most pre-colonial groups in Africa did not have dowries. So, the women had to pay for their weddings. And, in addition to paying the bride price, they also had to pay for their own clothing.
Several anthropologists have studied the bride price. For example, Vroklage (1952) interviewed people who had rejected the notion of the bride price as a purchase price. Others, such as Hague et al. (2002), have studied how bride price affects the happiness of a wife. These researchers found that bride price repayment has a positive effect, but that there is no significant correlation between the payment of a bride price and the quality of a marriage.
Bride price has been the focus of several calls to abolish it. Several African countries have proposed eliminating it. Goldschmidt notes that in Uganda, the Sebei ethnic group does not practice the bride price. Similarly, Chondoka (2002) writes that the marriages of most ethnic groups in the DRC were legalized when the main payments were delivered.
Interestingly, the size of the retinue was calculated to correspond to the family’s social status. Typically, the nobility bathed only a few times a year. Moreover, it was believed that taking a bath could increase the chance of disease. Thus, the practice of bathing became less common during the middle ages.