Native American Weddings

Native American population is divided in various tribes. Each of them has various wedding traditions. Some traditions appear in more than one tribe. Quite many traditions are not performed anymore.

Water is an important part of many weddings. When the bride and groom wash their hands they also clean themselves of all bad stuff from their past.

The Native American communities like for example Klamath who live in the northern part of California used to have two types of wedding - full one and the half one. The key factor that differs these weddings is the amount of dowry the groom has to pay to bride's family.

The dowry is very important as it determines the future social status of the family. A poor groom who can not afford the usual amount of dowry enters the half-wedding in which he is kind of controlled by his father-in-law. There are some other reason for this type of wedding like for example the fact that groom's father does not approve the woman groom has chosen for his wife.

The wedding dress traditionally includes 4 colours. Each colour is related to one of four cardinal directions - black (north), blue (south), white (east), yellow or orange (west). Jewelery made mainly of silver and turquoise has protecting prupose against all bad things the couple may face in their future life.

One of the most important staples of the Navajo or Diné people is corn. That is why it became part of their beliefs. White corn is the symbol of male gender while the yellow one is related to the female gender. On the wedding day a special dish is made of two types of corn flour. This dish symbolizes the newly created unity of two people.

In the Hopi communities a person can not be married twice. The Hopi people from the northern Arizona have an interesting hair related ritual performed on the wedding day. A group of women washes bride's and groom's hair. Their hair is then interwoven. Such connected couple prays to the raising sun.

According to an old Cherokee tradition the bride gives an ear of corn to the groom. At the same time he gives her venison (deer or some other game) ham.

Because of the role of woman in the clan system of the Cherokee society both bride and groom are accompanied by their mothers. The bride is also accompanied by her brother. His duties will be performed later in the future when the couple gets children. Uncle ("e-du-tsi") should teach them religious beliefs.

An important Cherokee wedding tradition that still exists is the use of a wedding vase. This piece of pottery is made by the groom's parents. It is essential that it has two openings. First a bride drinks from one of these openings. Then a groom drinks from the other one. Finally they both drink at the same time.


Native American Traditions

American Indian Wedding Traditions

Cherokee and Sioux courtship and wedding customs