Wedding customs among the Nyakyusa is quite different for Americans.
Two ceremonies constitute what we Americans would call the wedding. There are no bridal showers leading up to the wedding. Before any wedding there is the dowry agreement between the bride and groom’s families. The dates of the Send-off (the bride is sent off by her family to the groom’s family and it the responsibility of the bride’s family) and the Wedding (the groom’s family’s responsibility and event). All of this is filled with many traditions and celebrations.
While the bride’s family is responsible for the send off there is a Send Off Committee made of the community, family, and friends. They organize, finance through fund raising, and plan the send off. The Send Off is truly a community affair.
Bonnie and I always enjoy being with Mpeli and Neema for these marriage events.
Wednesday night was the send off of Hidaya (she is the same as a daughter to Neema and Mpeli), she is the financial officer for all Daily Bread Life ministries and businesses. She is to wed Goodluck, a teacher at Bread of Life Secondary School—A DBL ministry.
The beauty of this community celebration event is that everyone pitches in. The cost is actually not that much even though they are beautiful and very nice events—nothing like American costs—penny on the dollar.
Last night was no exception in beauty.
WARNING: The Send Off lasted 4 hours! During this time, many prayers of blessing, singing with dancing (as far as I could understand they were all spiritual songs), many mini-sermons, scriptures, and speeches. A lot of laughing and joyful celebration. Gifts are brought down the aisle to the bride. Actually only a few members of the groom's family is present. What’s fun is when they bring the suitcase for her to pack her things in to take with her to the groom’s family before the wedding. Yes, the bride moves out of her family’s house to the groom’s family's house.