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Cultural showcase: Ethiopia’s capital hosts joyful mass wedding ceremony

Hundreds of couples have gathered in Ethiopia’s capital to take part in a traditional mass wedding ceremony, the first such event in a decade, according to the organisers and participants.

Dressed in traditional white clothes, the couples sang and danced in the streets outside the venue before the ceremony began, bringing together Ethiopians on Sunday from around the country.

Yakob Tesfaye and Lidet Tagel, both 21, travelled to Addis Ababa from the western region of Gambella for the ceremony, which was sponsored by the event’s organiser Yament Private Limited and state broadcaster EBC.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to see all the tribes from different regions, also to get sponsorship from the organisers because we didn’t have much of a budget to get married,” Yakob told AFP.

The organisers said they were keen to bring back mass weddings following a decline accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The reason we started again is to showcase our traditional culture and marriage practices,” Hawi Tilahun of Yament told AFP, adding that he hoped the event would also help boost tourism in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Ashenafi Negassi told AF P he and his bride Zeytuna Usman, both 25, were “really excited” to take part in the ceremony.

“This is a beautiful day to see other tribes from different regions and to be married alongside them is truly beautiful and I can’t express the joy I feel to be with her,” the shopkeeper said.

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