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Wearing crowns and red velvet robes, Helen and Girma stand before the altar. the nuptials are conducted in Geez, an extinct language but still in use in the liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Katrina Thomas's notes: There are dozens of ethnic groups in Ethiopia, speaking over 80 languages, but historically its population has been considered Orthodox Christian. I photographed Coptic wedding traditions which, I'm told, have endured since 326 B.C. The couples wear crowns and robes, usually provided by the church. The language of the liturgy is classical Ethiopic, known as Ge'ez, and that of the service is Amharic, the modern language of Ethiopia. Their celebrations include the newlyweds and guests feeding one another the national dish, enjera watt, spicy meat wrapped in a moist pancake. During the feast, guests honor the newlyweds by dancing in front of them, clapping their hands while moving their shoulders with joyous energy.