October 7, 2013

Mozambican Wedding: Round 2

About a month ago, my colleague Mauricio mentioned that he was getting married.  This came as a surprise to me because I was under the impression that he was already married.  In Mozambique, it is very common here for people to live with a significant other that they call their spouse and have children with them without being legally married.  Mauricio and his wife, Ana Dulce, were making it official.  Registering as a married couple.  And spending a lot of money on a big party.

Mauricio and his wife are both professors at the secondary school with us.  Mauricio teaches Portuguese; Ana Dulce teaches biology. I was thrilled when Mauricio went out of his way to make sure Sarah and I knew that he wanted us at the wedding.  He came over one night to talk to me about a project that we are working on, and mentioned that his wedding would be on October 4th: Dia da Paz.  It was a Friday, but also a national Mozambican holiday, meaning there was no school and people were free.  He told me that he was trying to rearrange money so that he could make sure Sarah and I would be able to attend.  I didn't want to put him out  by trying to accommodate us, so I asked how much it was so maybe Sarah and I could pay our own way.  I don't know what I was expecting, but he said it was 700 mets (about 20ish dollars) per person.  I was taken aback at how expensive that was, but after discussing it with Sarah, we decided that it was worth it. Our wedding gift to Mauricio would be that we were present at his wedding....so that's what we did.

Procession of the bride (walking on capulanas)
The wedding was at a hotel in Garuzo that I'd been to twice before: once for Women's Day, once for a Peace Corps Conference called PDM.  Garuzo is nice.  There is a beautiful pool, the food is delicious, and it is just a nice environment.  October 4th was a beautiful day.  After arriving and waiting around for awhile, the procession started.  Ana Dulce walked from one of the hotel rooms to the pool to meet Mauricio.  In front of her were the 5 adorably dressed "flower girl"-like girls.   I don't know what their actual purpose was, but they were so cute it didn't matter.  The procession was over dirt, so women took time to lay out capulanas for the group to walk on, and kept taking them from the back and moving them forward.  This made the procession take a lot longer, but it also made the whole process extremely entertaining.  The spectators were all singing and dancing with so much joy, and it made me so happy to be there to witness it.

Bride and groom processing in
After the vows and exchanging rings, Mauricio, Ana Dulce, the padrinho (Godfather), and the madrinha (Godmother) signed the registry, making the marriage official.  There was much singing, dancing, hugging, and kissing.  Then there were many pictures.  Mozambicans just LOVE pictures.  After about an hour  or so, we made our way over to the reception area, where as we waited for lunch to be served, the cake was cut.  Mauricio and Ana Dulce fed each other small pieces of cake, and soon after we were all served our own small pieces of cake.  Sarah and I were trying not to be too awkward at our table, but considering we didn't know anyone at our table very well, that didn't go so well.  The eating/buffet  process took an hour or two, and before I knew it, the car we came in was leaving.  We said one last Parabens to Mauricio and headed back to Messica.

Officially husband and wife.
Mozambican wedding round 2 was a lot different than round 1.  It was a civil wedding, not a church wedding.  It was way more elegant and fancy than the first wedding I went to.  There was no dancing (what?! - I was shocked).  There was a lot of joy, a lot of love, and a lot of smiles. Knowing the bride and the groom only made it that much more exciting.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I've been given to witness once-in-a-lifetime moments in Mozambique.  Blessed doesn't even begin to cover it.

Sarah and I with Mauricio and Ana Dulce


  1. love the Mozambique wedding story & pics..