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Tsigge and Isaac are welcomed to their reception by women ululating, guests clapping, and drums played by both men and women. The church basement has been decorated for the celebration with balloons and swags of crepe paper.
Katrina Thomas's notes: A coastal province on the Red Sea, Eritrea, with a mixed population of Christians and Muslims, annexed by Ethiopia has had an ongoing struggle for independence, which has induced many to migrate to the U.S. since the 1960's. Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia following a 30-year war, lasting from 1961 to 1991. I photograph weddings for two newly arrived Christian couples, who are educated but poor. Brides dress in western wedding gowns while women guests wear native dress with a shawl of white hand woven cotton, known as abesha kemis. Men in western suits often grab a woman's shawl, a netela, to wrap around their waists or hips when dancing. The music at these weddings is provided by handmade native instruments. The food is distinctive, eaten in the hand from a common plate and fed to one another. Drink is barley beer and mes, fermented honey. Most photographable is the custom of dancing around the newlyweds, honoring them by tucking money into their clothing or plastering it on their faces.