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Wedding Ceremonies in Kunama Ethnic Group (Part II)

After the basic preparation for the wedding are completed, and the bride to be is moved to a neighbor’s house, families of the groom will go to that particular house to take their bride, but a cousin of the bride wouldn’t allow them enter the house until they endow a chicken, at present money is given instead of the chicken and then the cousin will allow them take their bride. The moment the bride and groom reach the house of groom’s family, a goat will be slaughtered and the heart of the goat will be removed to be placed in a unique container, and then the meat of the goat will be eaten by close relatives of the groom known as “Dougle Na”. An ox will also be slaughtered and the beef will be boiled and served to all the invited guests.

Although the style might differ according to the living standard of people, the bride will plait her hair in style for newly wedded only. All her jewelry will be removed and replaced by garments made from branches of palm tree.  Then either the mother of the groom or any other close relative will place a ring of bracelets on her hand. In the evening the bride with her friends will move out of the house carrying a pot, they will be accompanied by the groom and other friends. In the compound, there will be a broken Mogogo, local baking pan, the moment they found it, the groom and the bride will break it with their feet only after breaking the pan that they will return to the house.

Once at the house the bride and her friends will put their pots down, and appear at the threshold claiming to look for their husbands and the men will make them run in to the house.

In the Kunama ethnic group there is also a ritual followed until present known as “Ese Eta Wa”, this is a ceremony of entering the house of a couple that stayed together to the end. This ritual is usually held in the evening of the wedding day. On this evening, the bride will carry a pot full of the local drink, Daga, wear a cap on her head and hang a spear from her neck while the groom will carry a bundle of spears to the house of his father, in the house of the groom’s father a goat will be slaughtered. There will be white carpet folded at the porch of the house, and the couple will cross over the carpet and enter the house then the mother in law will take the baggage of the bride and braid her hair applying oil. They also boil the meat of the goat and serve the soup to any one that comes to visit the newly wedded.

Later, the family of the groom will give the bride half of the meat of the goat they slaughtered with a spear hanging to take to her family’s house. Once in her father’s house she will put down her baggage and go to the honeymoon room prepared for the couple where the groom stays outside until someone takes the spears he has been carrying, the next morning the garments of the bride made from the branches of the palm tree will be removed and placed by her jewelry.

Another ritual frequented during wedding ceremonies is advises given to both the bride and groom by both families. At the ocassion both families will discuss the behavior of their son or daughter and advice not to do or what to do during various circumstances. The bride’s family festivities continue until the day after the wedding day.

Barking of hyena, fire, breaking of pots and alike are considered as a bad omen and as a result any ceremony be it  wedding or any other will be called off and post phoned to another time if any of the aforementioned incidents happen.

“Angiba Teda” is the ceremony where presents are endowed to the newly wedded couples. The Father of the bride will give the groom an ox and he in return gives another ox to the family of his bride, and the bride will have an ox or goats endowed by her uncles or her father. Those presents endowed especially to the bride are given with strict instruction because if the presents are given to both of them both will use whatever present she got but if the present are given to her only it is her own personal property and can do whatever she wants with it and in cases where there is divorce she is allowed to take those presents as her personal properties. The instructions are given as the wish and desire of the person endowing the presents.

After wedding ceremonies are over the honeymoon unlike the other ethnic groups of the country, in Kunama it takes place in the bride’s family house and the groom starts work the next morning. Once a year, the entire village will farm the land of newly wedded couples in that particular year in unique ritual known as “Elege Tada”. On this day all the inhabitants of the village bring seeds to the land of the newly weeded and plow his land, the bride will either stay at her house or can go to the fields and work with the rest of them but she will wear all the garments she wore in her wedding day.

The honeymoon can be extends to three years if the father of the bride is proud of his son in law and during the entire honeymoon period he will supply them everything and wouldn’t take anything from them including products of their farm land even during desperate times.

After the honeymoon period is over, a house will be built for the couple near the house of the bride’s father and the other utensils they need will be supplied by the mother of the bride, friends and relatives. Then the couple will start their life as a husband and wife.


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