Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kwanjula...in Mushanana dress

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The 2nd change was into the traditional dress of eastern Uganda. The Baganda (largest tribe) has the traditional "gomez or busuti" which has become known as the general traditional wear of all of Uganda. The first blue and last pink bride's dresses were "gomez". The bride's auntie (VERY important person here. The mother was not even introduced or given a place of honor to sit) and the bride's friends were with her. As part of the fun of the event, the groom's side must correctly pick the bride out of the women, and the bride and her auntie must search for the correct groom out of his group. We women first went and sat at Simon's group, on mats, on the floor. After changing dresses, we sat on mats in front of Aggie's side on the ground. While here, the bride price was brought to Simon's side, then presented one by one to Agnes's father. Full of fun and games, each gift was said to be brought all the way from Australia....the 50k bag of sugar, rice, half a side of cow, matches, cooking oil, butter, fruit, and gifts for all the important relatives in Agnes's family. The group was ecstatic for me, the white woman, to greet the group properly in their language. What an honor for me (and what nerves to get it all correct!)
One random thought: as the bag of rice was being moved, it must have had a small hole somewhere in it, and a bit of rice was trailed behind. As every person was dressed in their best clothes, and as I was kneeling on dirt (and rocks-yeowch) in a tightly packed village area within Kampala, a funny thing happened beside me. The neighborhood chickens were enticed by the rice. So, several of them walked right beside me on the ground and in between the two family sides to eat the rice. After it was all cleaned up, the hens went on their way out of our formal ceremony.

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