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    Posted December 31, 2011 by
    Mbour, Senegal
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Traditional Senegalese Wedding


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Hylin shared these striking photos from his trip to Mbour, Senegal, this summer, where he witnessed a traditional Muslim Senegalese wedding. 'There never was a particular moment where someone pronounced them husband and wife,' he said. 'The bride arrived, everyone cheered and led her into the house. Soon after they left again, in the car caravan, and the dancing began.'
    - jmsaba, CNN iReport producer

    It's not unusual for men in Senegal to have several wives. The result is of course, many children. However, as the economy is in a downward spiral the social climate is getting harder and the attitude towards polygamy is slowly changing. ”If you're going to have many children you also have to have the means to take care of them,” my friend Muhammed explained. ”I come from a family of four children, but I have many friends who come from families of seven to ten kids... per wife”


    This summer I spent two months in the small fishing city Mbour in Senegal, on the African west coast making a documentary film. Here, in the beginning of July, I attended a local muslim wedding, which was one of the highlights of my stay.


    As we arrived the wedding preparations were in full swing. The permission for me, a ”Toubab” (which means ‘white person’ in the local language Wolof), and my camera to participate in the wedding was something the men had to discuss in a meeting.


    The bride arrived in a caravan of cars that looked like they would fall apart any second. The bride was taken aside by grieving and singing female friends. It’s important with a serious and sad face as the bride is ”leaving” her family. But, one could sense a happy bride and some careful smiles now and then. The male friends on the other hand started a short and joyful dance.


    In the middle of the celebrations, a young girl really changed the mood as she started beating herself bloody with a big heavy tree club. ”She’s the young sister of the bride and she’s sacrificing herself,” I was told by Muhammed. ”The beating shall help her oldest sister, whom is already married since two years, to become pregnant.”


    The bride and the groom soon left in the cars with the male friends. It was now the real dancing began. A band of eight drummers set the furious pace and soon everyone gathered in a circle around them.


    The frenzy, the joy and the rhythm from the dancers of all ages was contagious.

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