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Beni Amer Marriage custom Sudan Notes and Records II, 1919.

The following note is intended to give some idea of the marriage custom as practised by the Beni Amer tribe. It may be mentioned that each section of the tribe regards itself as free to modify or amplify the details here set down.
On the day appointed for the marriage ceremony to commence the male and female relatives of the bridegroom leave him at home and with singing and rejoicing proceed to erect the bridal hut. The material for this hut are as follows, Seven pieces of white bursh.
The usual number of bent poles over which to stretch the bursh.
Pieces of zaf, i. e. leaves of dom palm, wherewith to tie the bursh to the poles.
An angareb or even simpler form of bed.
Some pieces of hugarit, the local name for a hematite, which is found in Eritrea.
The above intentioned materials are put on a camel and conveyed to the spot
arranged where they are all taken off and laid upon the ground.
The male relatives now lake the camel and go themselves to the house of the bride's father. They are met with derisive shouts by the female friends of the bride who seal the testimony of. their regard by bespattering the visitors with dung.
(This form of play is indulged in by the bride's female friends for the ensuing seven days.)
Nevertheless they return with the men, who load the camel with an angareb or some form of couch and proceed singing to the site of the new hut.
The bridal hut is now erected by the female relatives only of the bride and bridegroom: The hut is partitioned into two portions by fixing up light hangings.

Water is next poured over the pieces of hugarit and the resulting solution is taken and
splashed over the poles supporting the hut and huge rough crosses are made on the bursh above the entrance to the hut with this same solution.

This ceremony is said to be carried out in commemoration of the tragic murder of the father of the first of the Nabtabs who was beheaded by the Christian King Bulo on the morning following the first night after his marriage with the king's own daughter.
(This man is reputed to have been a "holy man" called 'Ali Belas, to whom the King Bulo
took such a fancy that he gave him his daughter in marriage. On the morning after his first bridal night, he was, for a slight breach of etiquette in the presence of the king, summarily beheaded. His one night bride bore him a son, Mohammed Diglal ibn Mousa, the first of the "Nabtabs".)
The ceremony completed, the bridegroom on horseback appears upon the scene accompanied by horsemen and camelmen who encircle the hut seven times. After the procession has completed the seventh circle, the whole mounted body with a shout, gallop for about half mile in a line due south of the hut. (The reason for going in a southerly direction is because in ancient times the tribe prayed with faces turned to the south.) After this has been done, the bridegroom is carried bodily into the half of the hut reserved for him and his friends, and is
deposited on the angareb.
He is now anointed with water into which have been poured a few whole grains of dura. He also changes his garment and decks himself out with women's jewellery especially bracelets, and a piece of camel dung is inserted in his amma. The jewellery includes a necklace of alternate gold and other beads and a broad silver bracelet and is worn by the bridegroom until the seventh day when it is given to the bride.
He is now ready for the bride who, in due course, approaches with all the women in
attendance. She is carried on the back of a strong slave seven times round the hut and is then brought in and deposited on the angareb in her half of the hut. She is anointed in like manner as the bridegroom.
As soon as the bride is anointed the women in their half of the hut and the men in their half commence singing and rejoicing. The men, however, soon go out and indulge in sports and races.
The marriage feast commences and is kept up for seven days – the men entering and leaving their portion of the hut while the women do the same in theirs. For seven days and seven nights, the bride and bridegroom are surrounded, day and night, by their friends. Only once during that period does the bridegroom enter the bride's chamber. In the silent watches of the first night, he, accompanied by a friend, by stealth approaches the couch of the supposed-to-be-sleeping bride. He strokes her face and neck and immediately retires again. This ceremony is performed with the purpose of preventing the jinn from bearing her way or changing her into another being.
At the end of the seven days, the male friends of the bridegroom begin to leave him until by evening only one is left in attendance.
At night the bridegroom and his friend again enter the bride's chamber. This is the signal for all the bride's attendants, except two old women, to rush out of the hut. The bride tries to follow and must be forcibely detained by the bridegroom. (She has allowed her finger nails to grow long so that the scratches she makes on his wrist may afterwards be shown to his friends.)
If he fails to retain her, so that she escapes to her companions waiting outside, he is made the laughing stock of the village.
If he succeeds he throws her upon the ground and in the presence of the two old women and his friend, he puts his foot upon her neck and proclaims himself her lord and master.
The witnesses now leave: the partition is thrown down: the hut is one.
Before the wife can speak to the husband, he must pay her father the sum of £ 10 or give him the present of a camel.
At the end of ten days, the husband is required to leave his wife. He goes away for the
purpose of earning the £ 10 or of securing a camel, and quite often does not return for several months.
The purpose of silence seems to vary very much and even though the bridegroom has
provided the necessary gift, the bride ought not to speak to her husband for at least six months.
If he does not leave her village she yet may not speak to him nor may be live continuously in her house and if he wishes to see her face before the end of six months, he must remove her veil by force. The period of silence may be extended to two years if the present is not forthcoming. The reason given by the people for this "avoidance" is that if the bride speaks it shows that she has known the bridegroom previously and this is considered disgraceful.

G. J. Fleming