Over the weekend, first daughter Ngina Kenyatta wed the love of her life, Alex Mwai in a traditional Kikuyu ceremony.
Here are the stages of a Kikuyu traditional wedding
Kuhanda ithigi is the first step of a Kikuyu traditional wedding. This ritual basically signifies ‘booking the bride.’
The bridegroom to be visits the bride’s home in company of some chosen family members and elders and informs the bride’s parents of their intention to marry their daughter.
After the man has successfully convinced the bride’s parents of his intentions and they’re satisfied, the bride is then preserved for him.
After this stage, the bride’s parents cannot take any other proposals for their daughter. This is because she is already ‘booked’ for marriage.
Njohi ya njurio
Njohi in Kikuyu means beer. Njurio means enquiry.
This second stage of Kikuyu tradional wedding basically entails the bridegroom’s side visiting the bride’s side to enquire about the demands for their daughter.
At this stage, representatives from both sides share traditional beer (muratina) as the discussion go down.
The bride’s side informs the groom’s side of how they normally ‘sell’ their daughters. They also list down all the demands they normally make so as to release their daughter for marriage.
NB: The groom’s side don’t negotiate at this stage.
Ruracio is the dowry payment stage. This stage could be done in phases, depending with the demands of the bride’s side and the groom’s side ability to meet them.
The groom’s side makes a visit to the bride’s home. The bride’s side welcomes their in-laws in according to their customs. Different families have varying ways of welcoming in-laws.
After the in-laws have been welcomed, introductions are made by both sides before the bride is brought out.
Traditionally, brides are often brought out in company of other women with almost the same features as her, all of whom are normally covered in lesos from head to toe. This is usually a test for the groom to see if he is able to easily identify the wife to be.
After the groom has successfully identified his woman, representatives from his side are directed to a room for a closed door meeting with representatives from the bride’s side.
The demands are again read out and at this stage negotiations take place. If the groom’s side is in the capacity to pay off all the demands, they go ahead and do it. They may also opt to meet the demands at a later date.
This is the final stage of a Kikuyu wedding. Several rituals take place during this stage.
A big healthy sheep known as ‘ngoima’ gets slaughtered in the presence of both families. The bride is then given the ears, tongue and kidney to eat.
Kurenga kiande means cutting of the shoulder. The couple takes the knife and cut the shoulder of the sheep together. After they have both cut the shoulder together they are out rightly pronounced wife and husband.
The ears act as a symbol that the woman should always be ready to listen to the husband. The tongue symbolizes that the woman should be careful with what she says and how she talks to the husband.
The bride is then given a bowl of porridge to feed the husband.
The couple and the guests then get to party and celebrate together.
Kikuyus have made it a custom to don brown attires during this final wedding stage.