Saturday, December 20, 2008

An Introduction

....into more of the Ugandan culture. An "introduction" is essentially the families of the bride and groom meeting one another, negotiating on a bride price, and (hopefully) ending with their engagement. The traditional dress of the Buganda tribe is this gomez. Apparently, they want you to look "full" in the dress. After trying it on the day before, I was told I needed to look bigger (I have never heard that in the U.S. before!). So under this stunning dress, I have three skirts and a sheet wrapped around and folded to help my rear look bigger. On the right side of both of our dresses, you can see some extra material hanging down. This is actually about a yard long and is supposed to be folded in a fan-like way so that it drapes down once the beautiful belt is tied. I'm amazed I actually got this thing on by myself. A "muzungu" in a gomez, I was quite the comic relief.
Two hours late, the groom and his family finally arrived. They had some friendly exchanges with the bride's family before being allowed to cut the ribbon and enter the ceremony.
It was quite the ceremony with many "searches." It started with the M.C. from the groom's side having to identify the bride's auntie - the one who is in charge of negotiating the bride price. So these women danced out, kneeled, and answered some questions before the auntie was revealed. Then, the auntie had to go search for the groom among the relatives.The bride is hidden among these women. Can you find her?Once she was "found," she was taken to her future husband but then danced away again.Probably one of the most crucial parts of the ceremony is negotiating the bride price. Thankfully, this auntie was kind and seemed to accept the gifts the future husband offered. Some of the gifts included pineapples, bananas, a huge bag of salt, a huge bag of sugar, cases of soda, a chicken, a goat, and a cow. They were presented before the bride-to-be (the one in gold - notice she changed dresses) and the auntie (the one on the right).They exchanged engagement rings and then cut the cake
(which has a gorgeous sparkler on the top).
They fed each other cake and then drank some coke (notice she is kneeling before him).
We each got to taste some crumbs from the cake.
I am so thankful I was able to attend this introduction. I taught with Cissy (the bride-to-be), so it was fun to be a part of this special day and learn more about the Ugandan culture. I look forward to the wedding tomorrow. Can you imagine?


Lois said...

wow! Great descriptiona and pictures! Nicole went to an Introduction when she was there, too...she and her friend were the only "muzungus" there. It sounded like a very cool, traditional family time. You're right...I can't imagaine the wedding!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Andrea,
I am so glad you were able to go to the introduction and hopefully the wedding as well. What a wonderful experience...and I know it meant alot to Cissy!! God bless you, Love you much, Nancy.

Lindsey said...

how cool!! thanks :-)

Stephanie said...

What a neat experience! Can't wait to hear about it! Love the dress, you should bring it home with you so it will maybe start a trend!! :) I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful day! Love you always, Steph

Nicole said...

Andrea, Im so glad you were able to go. The gomez looks stunning on you! I am so impressed you were able to put it on by yourself!!! You really did do a great job explaining it. and it sounds so much like the one I attended. I thought it was so funny how they "searched" for the groom :) Hope the wedding was fun. Can't wait to hear about it!

Jonathan said...

That is so cool that you got to go to that ceremony, especially sharing it with us. I had no clue that some of these traditions were still in practice (I have only read of them in books). I hope the wedding went well, and hope you have a great rest of the week. Love you Dre, and talk to you soon.