Monday, January 24, 2011

What it takes to get a bride-Part 2

Do you remember the story about the marriage negotiations back in December? This is Rose. She's lived next door to us for several weeks now and we're getting to know her. She has a quiet spirit and is very helpful around the house. She's been at the village next door ever since the men stole her away in December. So this is what happened after negotiations. A price was settled upon and the families drank mes (the local brew) together. The next day, her family returned home. At one point, she 'officially' walked through the door of her groom's brother's village and they sprinkled water on her from a calabash. Water sprinkling is meant as a blessing. Then it was over. Her husband started living with her and she is now pregnant.

Traditionally, there were many more rituals to a woman entering a man's household. She would have to put heavy beads around her neck, waist & head and wear an animal skin around her waist. She would visit the many villages of the man's relatives and serve them wherever she went. Mes would be prepared in massive amounts and a celebration would last for days. We would be able to hear singing and know they were dancing late into the night. It did not happen this way for Rose. When I asked why, I was told that the relatives were upset that the marriage negotiations weren't handled in the appropriate way to start with and so they did not follow through with all the marriage traditions. They are officially married in the eyes of their fellow Ik, although maybe not by the Ugandan government. But the last time I checked, the government wasn't too concerned with who has marriage certificates and who doesn't.

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