If you’ve ever been to an African wedding you know there’s nothing quite like it. The music, the fashion and of course the FOOD is amazing! I’ll speak to what I know best and those are Ethiopian/ Eritrean weddings. The party just doesn’t stop ( really though it goes on for at least 2 days!)
You may be wondering why I’m talking about African weddings on a food site but let me explain… weddings were more than just a celebration of a couple’s love, it was a celebration of our culture and more importantly a reunion- community gathering. There were no set guest lists, or assigned seating. No card for you to check salmon or chicken with an rsvp. Nope. Gift registries? No way.. gifts were brought in the form of cash in an envelope.
And then there’s the food. Injera and wot (East african stews) prepared in massive proportions. I remember driving home and smelling onions before I had even got out of the driveway. I remember watching my mother, elders and women from my church come together to chop more onions (the base for the stews) than I had ever seen in one place together for another community member’s wedding. As I watched them chat and chop vegetables, I remember one of my mom’s friend’s telling me to join in. I’m pretty sure I had just got my hair done. Oh hell naw I thought to myself. I was pretty sure I’d turn into an onion by the end of this cooking jam lol. Mess up my hair. No thanks. I shook my head and said no. She replied, “you need to help, what do you expect when you get married?”
I looked at her and replied, ” oh no- you won’t have to suffer when I get married, I’ll hire a caterer… and I’m not sure if I’ll have Ethiopian food. So you guys won’t have to worry. You just show up and enjoy”
Worst decision ever. She shook her head insulted and shocked by what I had said.
I realized then that this was more than just food. This was our culture. The community came together to prepare food. Women socialized as they made these dishes. There was a sense of pride that came with preparing the food for a huge wedding party- I had forgotten this. Our weddings were a celebration that brought us together as a community. And everything from how the food was prepared to who was invited was communal too.
This doesn’t necessarily apply to all African weddings but there are so many things like this that make African weddings unique and such a community oriented celebration! There are a lot of people in my generation looking to weave their cultural food into the wedding celebration but with the help of caterers lol. That’s why Black Foodie is excited to take part in the first African Wedding Show in Canada this Saturday, March 12 at Daniel’s Spectrum. Join us as we spotlight some amazing African caterers and Black bakers in Toronto. Click here for tickets
We’ve got great East African food covered with Ethiopiques and you can get a beautiful sugar fix with Cinnabean Cakes, try some dope Nigerian treats with Feldo’s and some Egyptian classics by Masrawys!