Marriage is a fundamental step in the life of every individual in the world. Actually, in most societies, the status of an individual tends to raise when he or she enters into marriage. However, depending on the society, the cultural practices and norms of marriage tend to differ, in such a way that some practices are highly valued and accepted in one society, but they are not allowed in another. In addition, there are a number of factors which influences individuals to marry across different cultures, including love, religious beliefs, economic status, educational status, social acceptance, among others. In addition, in most societies, the marriage cultures, practices and norms are passed from one generation to the other, and cannot be influenced by the contemporary issues such as technology and globalization. In most societies, it is anticipated that failing to observe the cultural norms is a way of showing disrespect to the forefathers, and this can result in severe punishments to the current and the future generations. The variations in marriages between different societies can be understood through close examination and analysis of how different societies conduct marriages. This paper pays high attention to the comparison between marriage practices between the Kenyan and Turkish societies. The analysis of marriage between these two societies will be examined through different lens such as dating, the kinds of marriages, age of entering into marriage, engagement, agreement to marry, and the actual wedding ceremony.
The initial step of the contemporary Kenyan marriage is dating. This entails a situation where the potential marriage partners start a courtship process with the aim of knowing each other better. Precisely, during the courtship stage, the young couples tend to be keen on learning the behaviors of each other, and assess themselves whether they do match or the behaviors of each other are mutually acceptable to each other. At this stage, any partner who feels that he or she cannot manage to tolerate some of the behaviors or likes and dislikes of the other can freely withdraw rather than proceeding to the marriage stage while he or she is uncomfortable. Apparently, though dating in the contemporary Kenya society is mostly between the parties involved, it is perceived as an influence from the western culture (Jensen, 2017). This is due to the fact that in the conventional society, there was no any aspect of dating. Instead, parents used to select and organize suitors for their children. It was actually challenging for one to refuse a suitor who has been selected by his or her parents. The parents of a boy would approach those of a girl even when the boy and the girl were very young, and ask a hand of marriage, in such a way that the boy and the girl would grow up knowing that they are meant to marry later in life.
Similar to the conventional dating or courtship practices that are performed in the Kenyan society, the Turkish society also organizes marriages for their children. Precisely, for the Turkish society, the courtship process starts when the parents of a boy happen to identify a girl who they perceive can perfectly be a good wife for their son. Then, the family of the boy approaches that of the girl identified and express their wish, which can be accepted or rejected by the host family (Barend, 1975). Similar to the conventional Kenyan society, in the Turkish society, the family of the girl may reject the offer, and this can happen on three grounds. First, if they don’t like the behavior of the boy or they have a negative relationship with the parents of the boy. Secondly, they may also reject the offer if there was another family that had approached them before and requested the same proposal. Lastly, the parents of the potential bride may also reject the offer if the individuals asking for the offer are very young, weak in their pre