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Humans are not the only creature on Earth to prefer a “pair bond” mating style. Penguins choose a single mate for their entire lives. While many anthropologists argue that most human societies and cultures follow “serial monogamy” whereby they choose a single mate to be faithful to until something happens to make them find another, the fact remains the same that most civilizations like to honor the idea of a single man and a single woman being bound to each other when forming the next generation of children and their own nuclear family unit. Generally, this binding of a couple is known as marriage. A community joins together to witness the promises of the couple to be true to each other when they form their own legitimate family, usually with the blessing of a religious higher power in some type of ritual as well. The ceremony and specifics of these bonding rituals vary all over the world from country to country and culture to culture.

Image1.South Africa

The twelve symbols important to the native South African cultures play a vital role in wedding ceremonies—wheat, wine, salt, pepper, water, bitter herbs, broom, pot and spoon, honey, shield, spear, and a copy of either the Koran or Bible depending on the individual religion of the families. They are used and administered different ways during the ritual ceremony itself in order to represent various aspects of the strength and love in this new tie that unites the two families. Weddings in South Africa focus not only on the joining of the man and woman as a pair bond but on the binding of the families as a very important aspect of the ceremony. Traditionally, the parents of both the bride and the groom would carry a fire from both of their hearths to the home of the new couple where they would use the two flames to kindle a new fire, representative of the new life of the couple.
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