Ancient Egyptian Wedding Customs
In ancient Egypt, there wasn’t a big wedding ceremony like we have today. When a woman went to live with a man, they were considered married.
The parents would usually decide who their child should marry and agree on a price that the groom would pay. Both families would also exchange gifts.
Most of the time, there was not a real marriage ceremony and the people that wanted to get married would just pack their stuff up and move in together.
This usually happened when the bride would get all of her stuff from her mom and dad’s house and then would move in with her husband.
Even though there was no formal wedding, most of the marriages were considered very important and sacred.
The women that would get married were normally around the age of 14 years old. Ancient Egyptian women were told that they should marry when they were young because they did not live as long as people do now.
Most of the men that were married were in their late teens or early twenties. If he was older, there is a good chance that his wife had died or had divorced him.
One of the most important reasons that people would be married would be for children. A man would always want his wife to have him a son and this was very important in Ancient Egyptian culture.
When a person was in the kingdom, having a son was even more important and the son would most likely be the ruler after the father died.
There were times when daughters would take the role of the pharaoh, including Queen Nefertiti.
Most of the time, the parents of the children would choose who their children were going to marry.
If the son decided he would want to marry a woman, he would have a suitor, that was normally a female, and she would go to the bride’s mother and ask if he could marry her.
Brother and Sister
Most of the time when something was written about a wedding, it would say something like “brother” or “sister.”
At first, historians thought that meant that the Ancient Egyptians were marrying their brothers or sisters, but this was not usually the fact.
Most of the time, only people in royalty would marry their siblings and most other Ancient Egyptians married outside of their families.
Using the term brother or sister was just a term used to talk about someone of the opposite sex.
Most marriages in Ancient Egypt had some kind of contract written unless they were poor. The contract would be written by the woman’s dad and the guy she was going to marry.
The reason for the contract was that if they became divorced, they would have to share the property and anything that was in the home.
Having this contract allowed women to be able to own property if they were divorced from their husbands.
Divorce was almost as common as marriage and some of the reasons the Ancient Egyptians would divorce were due to not being able to have children, not being able to have her husband a son, the desire to marry someone else, or if they just did not love each other anymore.
Once a man and woman divorced, they could marry someone else.
If a husband and wife divorced, the woman would get some money from her husband so that she would not be left with anything. She would also have rights to stuff that was in the home and stuff that she and her husband owned.
On the day of the wedding, the bride would move her stuff into her husband’s home. When a wife would move her belongings into the husband’s home, this was called grgp which means “having the same home.”
The bride would wear a long dress that was made of linen and a net that went over her head. If she had any jewelry, she would wear it to show off to her husband.
There was no type of marriage ceremony that is known but the Egyptians would later celebrate the marriage with dancing and food.
Facts About Ancient Egyptian Wedding Customs
- Some girls would get married at the age of 12.
- Most people only lived to be 30 years of age.
- It was more important for the woman to be happy than the man.
- Women were expected to keep the home clean and to keep themselves clean and groomed.
- Women were expected to give their husbands children.
- Wives were considered equal to their husbands.
- Sometimes the groom would pay the bride’s family some type of goods or money for permission to marry her.
- Marriages were believed to last even in the afterlife.
- The god Osiris would judge the husband and wife in the afterlife to see if they were worthy to continue their lives together after they died.
What Did You Learn?
What kind of ceremony did the newly married couple have?
The husband and wife did not have any type of marriage ceremony.
How would you know if you were married?
The bride would take all of her things out of her mom and dad’s house and move in with her new husband.
Was divorce legal?
Divorce was almost as popular as marriage. There were many reasons a man and wife might get divorced such as if she did not have any children for him.
How long did a marriage last if there was no divorce?
Marriage was meant to last forever, even when the husband and wife died.
Who would ask who for marriage?
The groom would ask the bride’s mom if he could marry her daughter.