Kwanjula marked by gifts and food

This is part three of the article – Kwanjua, a Baganda the wedding ceremony.  A guest post by Cathy from Uganda.

In Part one we learnt  was all about the Okukyala. Before the “kwanjula” ceremony, the bride has to first take her husband to be to her parents for their approval in a mini ceremony known as “Okukyala”-home visitation and the role of Ssenga (the Auntie to the bride) in preparing the bride to be ready for Marriage,. Part two  highlighted the role of the spokesman during the Kwanjula and the  in idebtifying the bride.  This part explainpnes after the bride is identified

The same applies to the other lot of sisters until the bride is identified.  It is a norm and tradition in Buganda for the females to kneel before a male and the elderly despite the sex. It is also seen as a sign of respect.

Finally when the bride is identified among the women who have assembled, the groom’s sister gives the bride a flower. This moment is followed by ululations and jubilation. The bride at this moment is very happy. She dances for her day and for fortune.

After identifying the bride, the Groom also has to be identified among the visitors. He has to first sit behind until he is identified by the Ssenga. The Groom also does not talk much during the ceremony. The Ssenga dances to the rhythm of the music being played as she looks for the Groom. When she identifies him, she escorts him to his special seat before announcing to everyone that he the groom is the man who had gathered people here. Everybody at this moment is happy and everybody is clapping, while others are ululating.

The rest of the ceremony is as interesting as the gifts which have to be presented to the girl’s parents and relatives. The gifts are brought and allocated to the different beneficiaries and the hosts lay their demands and wishes on the new family. However before the gifts are handed over, the hosts spokesman has to ask the bride and ssenga- whether they should accept the gifts. If they accept, the audience claps and ululates.

“Bibos” which are papyrus made baskets are a must in any Buganda marriage. The medium size baskets usually contain all kinds of fruits and vegetables which the groom has to bring to the ceremony. However there are specific vegetables like egg plants (Ntula and Biringanya) which are considered as cultural taboo and shouldn’t be brought on that day. If the vegetables are taken, it may lead to the man being fined or denied the bride altogether.
The gifts

Apart from the vegetables, the baskets should also contain a good number of loaves of bread, sugar, salt, soap, paraffin n, cooking oil, curry powder, sugar, meat and it is usually the thigh and a host of related items.

As a sign of appreciation to the girl’s parents and relatives, the groom has to bring “Kanzus” for the father in-Laws and brother in-laws, “Gomesis” (boarding) for mother in-laws and for the aunties (Ssengas).  The “Kanzu” and “Gomesi” are cultural dresses for males and females respectively. These are a must. The bride also has to get a special gift of a suitcase containing clothing and other basic things that she will need.

Besides the food and clothing, the groom has to prepare money which is put in different envelopes for the father in-law, mother in-law, aunties (ssengas), and brother in-laws. He also has to bring a cock specifically for the brother in Law. Depending on the agreement made the groom has to bring either a she goat or a cow for that matter.

The groom is also required to buy a marriage certificate from Buganda kingdom to show that His respect and support for the cultural monarchy.

Money and wealth have become a dictating factor in most Kwanjula ceremonies. Too much attachment is put into what one has brought as gifts. And also both the bride and groom face a lot of pressure from the relatives who want to outshine any “kwanjula” ceremony they have attended.  The Kwanjula ceremony is complete with exchange of rings and cutting the cake to crown the ceremony.

Kwanjula ceremony gives pride to both parents and the new couple. The community treats and looks at both families with high respect and dignity. The whole process takes almost the whole day ending with jubilation, dancing, and feasting.

                                              The In-Laws enjoying luwombo

The In-laws are served a special meal known as the “Luwombo”. Luwombo is basically stew that is wrapped and steamed in banana leaves for a few hours without getting it to touch the water or oil. There are many varieties of luwombo and the most common is chicken and beef with peanut sauce.

The glamour and entourage from both families including the exciting speech from the spokesperson makes kwanjula a ceremony one has to attend to understand how interesting and engaging it is.


About YAOtieno

What you see is what you get.
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One Response to Kwanjula marked by gifts and food

  1. Pingback: Role of a spokesman during Kwanjula – a Buganda wedding | Slice of Life in Nepal

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