Traditional Wedding Styles In Swaziland

Traditional Wedding Styles In Swaziland

The Swazi culture can be found in Swaziland/Eswatini and amongst South Africans.
A traditional Swazi wedding ceremony is however referred to as umtsimba. Even though traditional wedding ceremony in Swaziland has evolved in modern times, its historic account is based on the inference of anthropologist Hilda Kuper and sociological research that lucidly described the tradition of the country.
Occasionally, Swazis wear either traditional or modern day clothing for events. Nevertheless, the men's traditional outfit consists of a colorful cloth "skirt" covered by an emajobo (leather apron). The assorted adornments for special occasions like traditional wedding include, the ligcebesha (neckband), umgaco (ties), and sagibo (walking stick). However, the royalties of the land distinguish themselves by wearing ligwalagwala (red feathers).
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For the Swazi women, their traditional attire consists of an ilihhiya (cloth). Married women often cover their upper torsos and sometimes wear traditional "beehive" hairstyles, while single women sometimes wear only beads over their upper torsos, especially for special events like the traditional wedding.Often than not, many people are of the perception that African traditional clothing is the same for any ethnic group on the continent. That is outrightly wrong. This is because there are several attire exclusively meant for a certain ethnic group or country. This narrative is valid among Swazi people who find cultural peculiarity in their traditional garment. The outfit is simple albeit, it is a tidy and meaningful piece of Swazi culture. In its modest style, it is a staple dress in Swazi homes, just as we have other garments, like Shweshwe (South Africa), Kente (Ghana), Kita (Ivory Coast), Chitenge (Kenya), and other African dresses.
To put on a Swazi female attire for traditional wedding, the bottom piece called “sidvwashi” is first tied. After that, the top piece called “lihiya” (plural – “emahiya”) is worn.


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In a bid for proper dressing. The ends of the cloth are either tied together over the right-hand shoulder for a young maiden or over the left-hand shoulder for a married woman, which ever the case may be. The reef knot is also used. However, for personal preference, a decorative pin could be used instead of a simple knot.
Furthermore, the piece of cloth can be tied at the back to prevent it from flapping about in the wind.
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To complement the gorgeousness of the Swazi bride, beaded jewels are accessories worn on the neck and wrist to make them stay fully adorned.
The mostly used color for Swazi traditional wedding is orange color. Often times, underneath the beautiful orange emahiya, bottom garments called sidvwashi is being worn. The color is usually brown, because it blends nicely with orange. But the colors can vary to match the lihiya.
On the bride’s neck, beautiful neckpieces, handmade in Swaziland chokers are always worn. The bracelet on the wrist is called “sigcizo”, it goes well with the choker.
It is very important that when the knot is tied, the upper part of the lihiya has to make a perfect L-shape. Also, the knot must be situated not on the top of the shoulder, but a little lower, below the collarbone.
These are generally calked “umgcula” garments. Although they are actually longer versions of emahiya, but the sidvwashi is worn underneath as well.
The patterned traditional Swazi necklace is called “ligcebesha”. It is composed of two square sort of petals attached to a round band. And the whole necklace is embellished with colorful patterns.

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