Somali town outlaws extravagant weddings to increase marriage among youth

A Somali wedding [Credit: Nairaland]

A Somali town has prohibited extravagant weddings in an attempt to increase marriages between young people and stop them from migrating abroad, the BBC reports.

Receptions in hotels are now banned and only three goats could be slaughtered to feed guests, Beled Hawa’s commissioner.

Spending on refurnishing a couple’s new home has been limited to £500, and a cap of £120 has been set for the bride’s mahar (dowry), Mohamud Hayd Osman told the BBC.

It is not unusual for a groom’s family to spend more than £4,000 on a wedding.

The wedding costs would include the bride’s mahar, wedding reception, jewellery, as well as new furniture.

Mr Osman told the BBC: “Islamic teachings indicated that getting married should be cheap.”

The decision was aimed limiting spending on “wild partying” and other unnecessary expenses.

Mr Osman added: “Young women were refusing to get married unless a fortune was spent on wedding gold and household furnishings.”

Beled Hawa is already facing much hardship due to drought and unemployment, and the soaring cost of weddings was another contributing factor to people leaving the town, the commissioner said.

“A young woman must be supported to get married to the young man she chooses… so the community can grow,” he said.

He said $600 (£480) should be sufficient to purchase a table, chairs and a double bed, as well as cutlery and crockery.

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