The Kinyarwanda word for wedding is ubukwe. Of the 68 trainees, I was the first to attend one. In the morning on Saturday, I put on a suit and nice shoes and went to my resource family's house. Although the wedding invitation asked guests to be there by 9:00, I arrived to my resource family's house at 9:00 per their instruction. My resource mama was sick, so I went with Christella. We were dressed very well. It was hot but the wedding was close by and we got to the wedding around 9:15. As far as I could tell, people had just started unpacking chairs and decorating. At 9:40 they turned music on.
I've often heard time is fluid in Rwanda, but this experience showed me how. Fashionable tardiness seems to be anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour in this country. Still, Christella and I enjoyed ourselves, passing the time by increasing my very limited vocabulary and hiding in the moving shade. Eventually we were told where to sit-- the bride's family's side.
The wedding was organized into three areas. The bride's family and groom's family faced each other on opposite ends. In the center was a sort of stage area. Most of the action occurred in between the two houses. There seemed to be a lot of pageantry involved and Christella translated occasionally. From what I understood, a sort of play went on in which the bride's family accused the groom's of various crimes and the groom's family defended the honor of the groom. Everything said between the families at this point was part of the pageantry aspect and was not true. After this, the groom's family presented two cows. A singer representing the bride's family blessed the cows. From what I understood, the performance became comical at a certain point. Then, a singer representing the groom's family performed.
|Traditional singer representing the groom's family.|
The bride and groom then walked out, followed by a large entourage of bride and groom friends. They stopped first at the groom's family and said some words, then the brides family. Then they went to the stage area in the middle and were married.
|The bride and groom- Tania & Ervine- in traditional garb.|
|The newlyweds feed each other milk.|
One element of the wedding I neglected to mention was the Intore dancers, which I intend to address in a separate post.