Marriage in Yaana



The Yaana, residing in the Koulpélogo province of central-eastern Burkina Faso, trace their roots back to Gambaga in northern Ghana. Within the Yaana culture, marriage symbolizes the union of not just two individuals, but also two families and two clans. Guided by a set of practices and customs, this article delves into the profound search for a soulmate within this community.

Traditional Frameworks

Social spaces have been meticulously established to facilitate romantic encounters among the youth. The “rasandaga,” or markets designed for young prospective brides and grooms, provide an ideal backdrop for fostering connections. As daylight gives way to night, the market undergoes a transformation, welcoming a multitude of elegantly attired young people eager to engage. It is amidst this atmosphere that new relationships burgeon and flourish.

Married individuals graciously cede the market space to potential suitors. Moonlit nights also hold a certain charm, drawing young individuals to the public square, where they engage in playing the “rabingo,” a traditional Yaana musical instrument, while singing and dancing.

Furthermore, the younger generation organizes themselves around the betrothed couple, engaging in constructive exchanges and good-natured banter during traditional weddings. Affiliates of the bride establish conditions for the groom’s delegation to meet her and accompany her. These interactions often spark new affections. Noteworthy are the funeral sites, which, post-paying respects to the departed, transform into gathering spots and recreational areas after nightfall.


Among the Yaana, this consists of taking into account certain variables, notably destiny and potential, in marriage. People with very different destinies do not marry, nor do certain castes. For example, a very ambitious young woman would suffer from living with a man who lacked ambition. She would be cramped in a home where she could not develop her full potential. This will negatively affect their lives, their home and the whole community. The loss of the female warrior on the battlefield will undoubtedly affect the mental abilities of her husband, the griot, in managing community knowledge.

The act of commitment

Removing a young girl’s scarf is a powerful symbol of declaring your love for her. If she is interested in the relationship, she leaves her handkerchief with the suitor. However, if she is not, she makes every effort to take it. The young man who holds a girl’s handkerchief has it as a token of love, officially marking the beginning of a romance.


From the spaces dedicated to falling in love to homogamy, an effective means of eradicating harmful differences, and the act that marks the beginning of a romantic relationship, the Yaana community has built up a rather special institution around love.

Freddy Pahima


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