|East African village or kraal|
Alice C. Linsley
Similarly, young men celebrate their approaching manhood by building a small hut next to their father's hut until they take a wife, at which time they build a larger hut in the kraal.
South African women preparing the bride
Credit: Monica Dart
The mother's house is where women gather to plan weddings and ceremonies for the girls. The father's house is where the elders of the village gather to deliberate. Sometimes marriages are arranged here, but the women are the ones who take care of the practical arrangements for weddings and help the bride with the necessities to set up a new household.
This Xhosa bride wears a sheet to cover her secrets.
A blanket of sheet covering is an ancient practice associated with marriage.
Ruth sought marriage to Boaz by covering herself with his blanket.
This practice of building up a house is more than building a place to live. It is about building a lineage. The book of Ruth alludes to this. Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to return to their "mother's house" so that they can prepare to remarry and have families. Contrast this to the story of Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38). Judah's sons who were married to Tamar die one after the other. He refuses to fulfill the law of levirite marriage, fearing that he might lose another son. Judah tells Tamar to return to her "father's house" which is to say, "You will remain a widow and childless."