Saturday, November 15, 2014

Kitchen Party

A couple of friends and I went to a Kitchen Party yesterday.  Even though I have been in Zambia for over 5 years now, I have never been invited to a Kitchen Party.  This party seemed to be very expensive, so that is probably why they were not done as much in the Western Province where we spent our first term.  I really enjoyed my afternoon and really learned a lot.  

First of all, the invitation invited us to the Kitchen Party and on that invitation was the note that gifts should only be monetary and not less than 200 kwacha - which is about $30.  In the Western Province, that was about 2 weeks of wages for a day laborer.  No wonder I had never got to go to one before!

The party was supposed to start at 1pm.  By the time we arrived (deliberately late) at almost 3pm, there were about 40 ladies present out of about 250 that ended up attending.  We began to notice that there were groups of women with the same colors on.  We were told that these were committees that helped to plan the event and/or friends of the mother of the bride or friends of the bride or friends of the groom to be and so on.  Evidently, each group (I counted at least 6) got together and decided on material then all had their outfit made with that material but they could choose whatever style they liked.  The outcome was a beautiful array of Zambian fashion.  It was so fascinating just to see all the fashion.

The bride finally arrived about 4pm.  She was quickly whisked into a room with her head covered.  About 30 minutes later, several ladies lined up to dance and sing her into the party.  From my vantage point, it may be hard to see her in the middle of the line with the white cloth over her head.

 The Kitchen Party was beautifully decorated in white, fuchsia, and orange.  Here is a bit closer view of the bride to be as she walks up to the front of the party.  Up front, I didn't get a picture of it because I was so far away, was a bed decorated in fuchsia and orange.  With great ceremony, she was placed up front on the bed, still covered.  

Then several women went out to dance and sing the groom to be into the party.  He also went up front with a few of his friends to stand around the bed.  I'm a little cloudy as to what was happening here but a national friend said they were collecting money - not sure why; maybe after enough was collected then he could uncover the bride to be. After a bit, the groom sat down, facing the attendees. As a side note, throughout this whole affair, the bride and groom to be are not allowed to smile or seem like they are enjoying themselves.  This is a sign of respect.  So with the guy sitting, the bride to be stood in front him and then slowly lowered herself down to the ground (in all her finery!), laid on the ground on one side then moved to lay on the other side for a few minutes.  This was to signify her obedience/submission to her husband.  After a little bit, they came back down the red carpet together as the groom to be left.

 The wife of Zambian's former President Mwanawasa (he passed away while in office in 2008) was the Guest of Honor at this Kitchen Party and she spoke briefly on marriage.

They also had some 'Teaching Practicals' about how to make a bed and what to fix for breakfast. :)
I know that I missed many aspects of this event but all in all, it was a great day to spend with national sisters and missionary friends!

1 comment:

Carla said...

I love this small glimpse into Zambian culture! Especially b/c it involves a wedding!