Marriage is a universal institution. He unites a man and a woman to live together, and to found a family. Among the Pulaars, marriage is an event that is lived and celebrated with an originality peculiar to the culture of the Foutankés. The marriage is consummated after a long process of cultural rituals that mark the different moments of the event.
Like the other ethnic groups in Senegal, marriage among the Hal Pulaar is subject to a ritual that can resemble a Way of the Cross for the young boy who asks for a girl's hand. It seems that everything starts with the murmur. As if to say that love is confidential, something whispered in the ear to our chosen heart. At least that is what Amadou explains, a griot Pulaar residing in Boïnadji in the Fouta, passing through Dakar. "Everything begins with an unofficial proposal, a demand which is nicknamed" Ndioumbourdi ", which means in Pulaar" whisper in the ear ".
To begin with, the suitor must first announce his intention of marriage to his fiancée after having discussed with his parents. Subsequently, a delegation is sent to the family of the girl, where a symbolic sum is given to indicate the intention. After this, intervenes the request in marriage or engagement, called "Diamal".
"Another delegation will be sent to take the dowry called" Tengue "to Pulaar. After which, a griot will be in charge of formalizing the engagement, "said Amadou. According to him, before the festivities, a strong delegation composed of the sisters and cousins of the suitor returns the "Warougal" to the parents of the bride. This sum is a token participation at the cost of the wedding ceremony. Then comes the "Nafooré" (sum of money) which is intended for the mother of the daughter. On the other hand, it must give the double, or even quadruple of the sum paid to it.
The "Koumal", that is to say, the marriage proper, takes place at the mosque. "It takes place in a mosque of the place of residence of the woman under the presence of the friends and relatives of the two parties engaged," he revealed.
How the wedding proceeds
Generally, the ceremony takes place in the afternoon. After the prayer of Asr (17 h), the imam summons the two witnesses of the families engaged. These witnesses are called "Sédjédji". The husband's representatives have once again to get out of the money, donate cola (Gorro) and the price of beef (Garri) to be used for the festivities. At the same time, a sum of money is also given to the fathers of the bride and groom, who are called "Wouté Babirado". Another is given to the imam of the mosque that ties the bonds of marriage. It is the "Wouté Thiérno".
The ceremony takes place after all this process. It is sanctioned by meals, dances, folk songs, usually Yella. Praises are entwined by the griots against the bride and groom. It is the very day when the bride must leave her parents' home to join her husband's. This is the Kourtungaal. A delegation composed of the friends or sisters of the groom goes to look for the wife who will be escorted by her aunts, cousins and morello cherries to the rhythm of the Yella.
In this delegation, there is a girl in charge of accompanying the bride. It is the "Djéwtowoo" who will remain with her friend throughout the duration of her nuptiality. After the ceremony, the bride is led directly to her home by women led by a godmother called "Djeydo Suudu". She is responsible for installing the bride in her conjugal room. On the day after the wedding night, the bride stayed in her nuptial room for seven days, "Dombourdou".
Few inter-ethnic marriages
The "Haal Pulaar" community is often blamed for marrying other individuals strangers to their community. What Amadou, griot, tried to explain in these terms: "This behavior is not the result of an exclusion. Only the Pulaars used to live in community. They naturally took their partner in the community. This is also a way of strengthening family ties. "
Amadou continues: "However, this behavior was not the exclusive prerogative of the Pulaars. The same practices were in force among the Wolofs, the Sereres, and the Diola, who married only the members of their community. It was the time of royalty during which people remained in their respective lands and had no need to leave. However, this practice is no longer complied with. At least, the exclusion of young Pulaars is no longer necessary. Hamidou Kane, twenty-two years old, a law degree student at the Cheikh Anta Diop University, testifies: "I am not yet married. On the other hand, the ethnic group to which my wife belongs matters little. As proof, although I am Pulaar, I never went out with a girl from my community. "