Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spraying Money At An Eritrean Wedding Reception In Sweden

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is part of a continuing series on this blog about the custom of spraying money. This post showcases a video of an Eritrean wedding reception that was held in Sweden. Selected comments from that video's viewer comment thread are also included in this post. While there are other interesting aspects of this wedding reception, the focus of this post is on the custom of wedding guests spraying money on the bride & groom.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic reasons.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Note: "Spraying money" is a Nigerian term for the cultural practice of showering (placing, throwing) money on or toward the head of a bride and a groom and/or other persons at an event.

I don't know how common this cultural practice is among Eritreans. Nor do I know whether this custom was borrowed from the Nigerians and if it's called "spraying money" in Eritrea.

[Pancocojams Editor: The embedded video "Eritrea: Isaias & Roma´s Wedding, tolo biri, Stockholm, Sweden"
is no longer available.]

anbesa23, Uploaded on Dec 1, 2008
People place paper money on bride’s forehead & groom as they dances [beginning at 2.07 and throughout the remainder of the video]
Selected comments from this video's viewer comment thread

WARNING: Some comments on this video’s viewer comment thread are NSFWOCV [not safe for work or children's viewing] because of profanity, and argumentative nationalistic statements.

"wow shikorinatate couple... I have never seen this kind of wedding before, des yebleka, bahlina sasinu lomi... Kindi shihen meatin sasinu...May god bless this marriage. Rehus gama niakum...."
Editor: "Eri" is a colloquial referent for "Eritrea" and "Eritrean". That referent is found at the beginning of a number of user names for Eritreans.

"Does anyone know who sings the song?"

Mesfin Teklegergish (Maebel) -Tolo Biry

I swear i can't hv enough of dis video.. u guys r gr8 God bless"

"best wedding ever we don't usually see this kinds of wedding in here nice i like it really and wat a great song for the couple i wish you guys the best.."

You guys are perfect.Its different style .i like it ..Good luck,...wishing all the best for the futur..
"Asmara" is the capital of Eritrea.

I am sure the guy is Mesfin MaEbel, the girl sounds like Tzighe Teklesenbet..

"whats the meaning of the song???"
The prefix "ethio" identifies this commenter as a person from Ethiopia.

"They make fun and tease each other for most of the song and then they finally admit they love one another and can't live without each other. It's a romantic hate-love song and raises one's spirits. After all, you wouldn't know how lovely joy is with out pain! The song is a masterpiece and the couple are a match made in heaven! MashaAllah! Congratulations to Isaias and Roma!"

Reply [2012]
"It is a traditional song in which the bride and groom glorifies and mocks their spouse’s imperfection. It is just for the show as they kiss and make up at the end saying that with all their imperfection they are perfect to each other.
As for the stick, though he is making a move as if to hit her, he is not carrying it to threaten her as most people hold a stick with their traditional attire as you can see some men in the audience."

"slow english dance or other romantic song are played in every wedding but this couple changed the trend wow beautifull roohoos gama"

"pure habesha wedding and its the best!!!!!!"
“In the broadest sense, the word Habesha may refer to anyone from Ethiopia or Eritrea, although some would exclude themselves from this association."

"Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo­oooo cute enjoying their marriage ceremony unlike the usual Habesha marriage ceremonies where others enjoy the wedding ceremony and the bride and groom sit like puppets. These are so cute. Wow! I like it so much."
-Samuel Arkebe

"THis song. SEEMS KIDA DIFFERENT ..FRM THE NORMAL ceromonial weddings cos shows words conserned tigrigna deep cultural..expression .[hymns and lyrics]

2.Actions..of. humour but ..consealed deep love inside them of each other..

3.tigrigna..cultural appreciation offer. for the couples {putting money }from the audience..makes ..popular .piece on YOU TUBE"
-hadgu ambesa

"Until this time 10/2012 we keep watching it, We just enjoying it.In really wedding party to perform WAZA MES QUMNEGER with tigrigna traditional song (maebel & tseghe) less than 10 minute.Around the world the people who watching it beyond your imaging.Dear ISSAYAS & ROMA You are a champion of cultural revolution,we feel proud NATNA BE'MUKU'ANKUM deqi hallal mer'yete." Selam Ne'akum Ye'kun"

"THis song. SEEMS KIDA DIFFERENT ..FRM THE NORMAL ceromonial weddings cos"
-hadgu ambesa

"Why does the groom carry a stick and raise it above his head as a threat?"
-Fozzy Bear

"That "stick" is used by shepherds and is a big part of Eritrean culture. When it's time to celebrate (like weddings for example) men dance with them and raise them above people's heads to show happiness and celebration."

Here are two comments from people who disliked the money spraying custom:
"i dont like when men put the money on the bride ..... i dont like it"
-jeera ila, [2010] 

"This is a memorable wedding but the people who were tiping the bride the groom ruined the show."
-Zuriash, [2010]

EMBEDDED VIDEOS December 30, 2016
Eritrean Wedding 2014 (Canada) - Dave and Yodit Korchach Dance

Yodit G Published on Aug 18, 2014

David and Yodit Melsi Edmonton, AB, Published on Aug 18, 2014
Money placed on bride's forehead at around 2:03 in this video & at other times.

Eritrean Wedding (Dallas, TX) 2016- Nejate and Angesom

Fesshaie Yohannes, Published on Aug 2, 2016
This video is about Eritrean Wedding (Dallas, TX) 2016
I don't believe that this video clip includes the custom of placing money on the forehead, however I'm including it here for its cultural value.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm not sure whether what Nigerians & other West Africans refer to as "spraying money" is common at Eritrean weddings.

To dare, I've only found one other example of this custom in a YouTube video: for a video of an Eritrean wedding in Israel [for example, see 9:34 in that video.]

It appears that instead of placing the "sprayed money" on the bride' or the groom's forehead or the top of their heads as is done in Nigeria, in Eritrean wedding ceremonies, the money is placed between the cleavage of the bride's gown.

I'd love to add information from any Eritreans as to how widespread and/or how traditional the custom of "spraying money" is in that nation. Thanks in advance for your comments.

Click for a pancocojams blog post about spraying money.

Also click the "spraying money" tag for other pancocojams posts on this subject.

Congratulations to this couple! Thanks to producer of this featured video and to the commenters that are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. In Eritrea, throwing money at the bride and groom is not known as "spraying money". It's simply known as giving "Let money" to kinds honor/support that the bride and groom are doing good. This is more commonly seen during the dancing portion of a wedding. In Ethiopia, it is not a common practice to do so but it is common to stick money on the forehead of someone who is a really good dancer. They stick the money on the forehead traditionally because Ethiopian dancing can be very vigorous and active so the dancers sweat on their foreheads, so the money sticks better. Money is not traditionally placed in between the bride'a cleavage but instead her scarf. Hope this helps :)

    1. Thanks for sharing that interesting cultural information, Anonymous.

      I appreciate it!