Comoros: The Grand Marriage

Yehia Mohamed Elias, a former Comoran minister for education, married his wife Zakiya 20 years ago. He married his ‘new’ wife Zuleikha just two years ago.

But now Elias and his wives have decided to take part in the great Comoran tradition of the ‘grand marriage’.

The ‘grand marriage’ is an age-old institution which has been passed from generation to generation on the islands of Grande Comore, Moheli and Anjouan. It’s a symbol of social status on the islands and a must for any self-respecting Comoran.

The grand marriage depends on the couple’s social and financial status. These festivities are a huge extravagance, particularly on these islands which are among the 20 poorest nations in the world.

There are two types of legal unions in the Comoros – the small marriage and the grand one.

The ordinary wedding is an intimate gathering and one which has to satisfy the appetite for celebration until the married couple decide it’s time for – or they can afford – the grand marriage.

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