Pre-wedding Blanket Game

The twenty-two year old female informant born in the Gabonese Republic, a state located on the west coast of Central Africa, revealed that it is custom prior to a traditional Gabonese wedding to play games. One of the festivities involves a blanket. My informant revealed “I don’t [pause] I don’t know what it’s called.” The game involves “all the women [bridal party] pull a blanket over them then the groom has to find his soon-to-be bride.” Each time the groom chooses the wrong woman he must pay a greater dowry.

This game is very similar to a scene in 2008 Bollywood film Jodhaa Akbar. In the scene, it was a custom that when the husband first visits his wife among a group of veiled women. If he finds his wife he will share a room with her. If it not he must sleep under the stars. The blanket activity is a form of entertainment but also seems like a form of trickery. This reminds me of the biblical tale of Jacob who on his wedding night was deceived into marrying Leah the sister of the woman he agreed to marry. While game is not as radical, it is a similar form of deceit. It is also a cunning and sneaky way for the bride’s family to guarantee a greater dowry than the one already agreed upon. When asked where she learned this from, my informant witnessed this game several times due to having older siblings. This game offers insight into the cultures lineage. Usually societies with a dowry are patriarchal and heritance is passed down through the male line.