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Mayotte > Guide > Focus > Society and Culture > Great Wedding

Taking place from June to late August, The "Great Wedding" is a sumptuous feast and traditional

Grand mariage : le marié (en vert) arbore des billets de banque en guise de

Each year from early June, we hear everywhere in Mayotte "Great Wedding" (or " Haroussi ), a celebration of a period of one week in more seal - a second time the union of a couple, is an opportunity for the families involved and particularly that of the husband to show the whole village, if not the whole island, its wealth

A "second time" because the couple was first - and often several years before it can raise the money to celebrate this holiday - married without pomp before the cadi, "judge and depository of Islamic law. You can equate this act to our civil marriage Metropolitan.

The success of this major event, which lasts a week in which dozens of people (family, friends and residents of village married) are invited every day to feast, is the very image of the families concerned.

Expenses incurred are exorbitant: the marriage is more costly, more families are covered celebrate the honor!

Fortunately, most of the time, the mothers of two families belonging to "Shamas ", women who are mobilizing to provide this opportunity for every family to financial and logistical assistance required ( box ). But more and more votes, even within the Sunni community, amounting to criticize those expenses that often endettent families for years!
Traditionally, a Grand Marriage is celebrated only once, both for men than for women.
The completion of this ceremony allows people to move from the status of "son" to "father" and access to a social position which enables it to participate with others in discussions requiring decisions on the whole community.

The major phases of this week's festivities

We can not tell here in detail all phases of this week's festivities. Key:

Waiting for the bride

For eight days, the bride is in the house that he built his family or that he has surrendered his mother in her room on her bed (often canopies), masked and dressed as sumptuous as possible. She receives visiting guests and has no right to put his nose out!

meeting men

The first festival of the "Great Marriage" is the Madjilisi , meeting exclusively to men who sing religious songs evoking the life of the prophet.

Wedding March

The M'chogoro "- or wedding march - is one of the major festivities of the" Grand Wedding "and you, the traveler can admire because it takes place in the eyes of all in streets of the villages. We need to support - very slowly! - The groom at his wife ahead, still on his bed. A procession of men and women. The procession of men is placed before the groom surrounded by his "witnesses", paving the way to singing and dancing. Heady and haunting! The groom and his two friends (or brother and father) are trimmed clothes reminiscent of the sumptuous elegance of the sultans. Protected under umbrellas, refreshed by fans waving that three women in front of them while walking backwards, they often have a cigarette in his mouth, not on. " A sign of power ... or just the fluff, as the case " I am told. Women, members of the Shama form the procession behind a group that sings and dances the M'biou .
Among them, two or three women selected in the Shama exhibit at arm's length jewelry adornment of the bride and the bride in a small bag.

Arriving at the bride and the feast

After a short prayer of the Imam on the threshold of the door, the bride enters her new home and joined his wife in her bedroom. Cries of joy punctuate this step.
In the courtyard of the house, mats were spread on the ground. In one corner are piled all the gifts appliances offered by the husband to his wife - without paper gift that everyone can see exactly the content! Vulgaire sweep of the flat screen TV! Women belonging to Shama come from all sides with huge pots, dishes, bowls of fruit. A notable or judge speaks to discuss the genealogy of both families and announce the dot.
Then the feast, punctuated by songs and dances, which will end very late at night.

The celebration ends with the wedding festivities!

Laurence de Susanne -

The spirit of mutual

For the "Great wedding", but also for religious festivals and traditional feasts crowned, families share the expenses.

Broadly speaking, every woman Mahoran is part of an association called "Shama . They provide " chicowas ", ie contributions that allow them to each other. They identify themselves through singing and dress the same in each Shama and for each new event.

All material and financial support are carefully noted and the family who has benefited will do the same for each participant, the date on which they hold to turn the Great marriage of their children or any other event which marks the traditional the course of life from birth to death.


This is a practice condoned by the Quran and recognized by Islamic law. Theoretically, it allows the man to have up Mahorais 7 wives at the same time, provided they can meet their needs and those of children he has with her.

A Mayotte, which gradually moves towards the law, polygamy is banned since September 2003. But it is still, of course, in all families. More and more women Mahoran up against polygamy ... especially those that are not "the favorite!
 " My husband gave me two children, where the last six months. He married me before the cadi. But when his first wife with whom he celebrated a "Grand wedding" a few years ago, has returned to Metropolis, just after the birth of our second child, he moved with it. He had me spend two nights a week. He never kept his promise. So I went to live with a friend. And yet he continues to give me clothes and even jewelry. Regarding children, it brings many useful business running regularly "says Ichira Grande Comoros Mayotte arrival 8 years ago in-Kwassa Kwassa, leaving his island in a child of one year only never saw it, she holds a formal request for a residence permit and hopes to get to work and regain his freedom. " Yet I still like my husband " we "she says.