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A Traditional Wedding In Uganda (Kwanjula)

The Baganda are the biggest tribe in Uganda. “Kwanjula” means to Introduce. This ceremony is held when a lady intends to get married. She is required to formally introduce her boyfriend to her family.

This ceremony has the following stages.

Stage 1

A man is required to write a letter to the lady’s family, the bazeyi or elders. ,The letter is supposed to be written in flawless Luganda and if the future husband doesn’t know the language he can get someone to write it on his behalf.

In this letter the future husband is requesting to be allowed to get born in the future in-laws family by going there to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. The letter is addressed to the Aunt of the future bride who will later become the go official between the families.

After the aunt receives the letter he introduces the future husband’s intentions to the elders of the family. If the elders approve they send letter setting a date for the introduction ceremony with the maximum number of people and also gifts for the father in law which is referred to as MUTWALO

Stage 2

After receiving letter the future husband is required to mobilize his kins men who will accompany him for the ceremony. The kins mens are also tasked to identify a spokesperson who will work as a go between during the ceremony. Originally, the spokesman had to be a member of the man’s family to speak on behalf of the man’s side. However the grooms family can always outsource in case non can play the part The mobilization also includes gifts that he will take to the girl’s family. Some gifts are traditional and mandatory

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. Then bride also has to get a special gift of a suitcase containing clothing and other basic things that she will need.

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

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.

He is also required to bring a gallon of Alcohol,

Other gifts are always added to the above as a sign of appreciation.

On the brides side she is required to prepare the venue where the ceremony will take place and also food for the guests.

Stage 3 The day of the Ceremony

The groom is expected to arrive at the venue at the agreed time with his kins men. In the event that he delays he is given a fine which he has to pay before he is allowed into the compound.

To be allowed to enter the bride’s compound the kins men have to present OMUTWALO the gift that the father in-law asked for. In case it is not brought they not allowed

The entrouge is always welcomed by girls of the family who put tags on them to identify them as the in laws and latter ushered to their tent to sit and then the function starts.

The functions will start with the bride’s family introducing sisters of the bride and also brother of the bride to the guests.

The Auntie of the bride is later called in to identify the guests who are in the compound and when she does. The bride is later brought out of the house for the first time to greet her visitors

During the ceremony the groom and his kins men don’t have to do anything. All the mediation is done by the spokes person who was chosen.

After the introductions the groom and a few of his kins men are invited into the house to have a meal. In the house they the groom an hid kins men are offered a glass of water and coffee beans

When they accept to eat them. It means they have accepted to be born in the family

They are later served with Luwombo, traditional food of baganda which is steamed matoke and whole chicken served in banana leaves.

After lunch the groom and his kins men are invited by the spokesperson to bring in gifts they brought. The gifts are presented to the bride and she is asked if they should be accepted by her kins men. When she accepts they are taken into the house.

After the gifting the bride and her brothers cut a cake to celebrate the union. The bride served the grooms man cake and then presents to him gifts for him and his parents.

The groom later places an engagement on the brides finger and sets a date for their wedding.

That marks the end of the ceremony.

After the cake cutting the ceremony is closed and the groom and his kins men are seen off by the bride.

The next time you visit Uganda with wilderness Trips Ltd ask for an opportunity to attend this traditional wedding ceremony

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