The Grand Marriage In Comoros
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, a commitment not even the President of the Republic can avoid embracing.
A Comoran man can only wear certain elements of the national dress or stand in the first line at the mosque if he’s had a grand marriage. There are two types of legal unions in the Comoros – the small marriage and the grand one.
The Comoros is a volcanic archipelago off Africa’s east coast, in the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique Channel. The language is a blend of local indigenous Sabaki dialects but with less Arabic influence than standard Swahili.