Marriage in the Nara ethnic group of Eritrea (Africa) is an event which must be celebrated elaborately. It is the most conspicuous of all the occasions and is celebrated in the presence of a fairly large gathering. In the past the parents and older members of the family arranged almost all marriages. This is still the case in rural areas and with traditional families. In urban areas, however, couples choose their own mate but their parents’ consent is still very important and is considered by both sides. Even nowadays after the couple have decided themselves, it is normally the groom’s parents or other relatives who take the initiative and formally ask for the bride and her family’s consent. Among the Nara ethnic group, marriage is an important social rite that marks a significant change in the social life of the couple. Traditionally, in some areas when a boy reaches adolescent stage he undergoes initiation rite before he is eligible for marriage; and this is very common, particularly, among the Koyta people. Marriage age is not clear-cut for either sexes, but on an average 17 years for boys and 15 years for girls.
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