Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Aje (Lugbara Pre-Marriage Introduction)

After negotiations between both families about the amount of Bride Wealth to be given whether in form of cash, cattle or other items, a day is set for the Introduction. Today, most Lugbara ceremonies are held in the afternoon at a location chosen by the woman's parents, usually their home. The woman's family waits for the male's side to make a ribbon cutting entry and sit on the opposite side facing them. The Master of Ceremony directs the events as scheduled. One of those events is a mock - test for the prospective Son-in-Law to choose his partner from a group of very cute and elegantly clad girls. They could even be as many as 20 though less than 10 is cumbersome and more time saving. The boy's aunt (whom Baganda call Senga, Uncle is a Koja) gives a basketful of flowers to the selected girl. There are speeches and prayers from various individuals before food is served and the cake cut. For certain families, too much excitement by In-Laws is considered ashaming yet happiness is like alcohol for some folks; It makes them lose inhibitions and the anxiety of what people will say. Marriage for most people happens once so should be enjoyed to the maximum but at Introductions, it is preferred that people celebrate after the ring is fixed on the lady's finger and the dance floor is opened by the couple. Meetings are usually held months before the 'Aje' (Lugbara for Introduction) to ensure it is a success. Fundraising for Bride Price during these meetings can involve the American style auctioning of a valuable item. Also, those attending may be asked to pay for the seat they choose or buy food and a soda. Those dressed in dur bar (coats) may also be challenged to defend their suits. Late comers are also charged. Some people hold Evaluation meetings after the Introduction to see how everything went and if possible avoid whatever mishaps happened. A day is also set for the final marriage or Wedding.

Lugbara Thunderbolt (Ovi)

According to some elders in Maracha, there is NO LOVE during Christmas nowadays. In the past, neighbours from the homestead would gather, sing Christmas songs and share gifts plus food together but today people think they know better. It's a new generation so technology takes centre stage. Kids would rather listen to new hits on radio or watch TV than sing outdated songs till they lose their voices by Boxing Day. People go to church but they do not place proper meaning to the season. You find kids walking around on the church verandahs. After the service, the youth go for walks. In the past, everything would be ready by Christmas Eve: the water and eats.

Also in the past, on Christmas Eve, youth would gang up, travel to the Chief's home or County Office and sing Christmas plus church songs. If their hosts felt moved, they would offer the singers some money. They would do this through the night. Some would make their Christmas preparations from early morning after the carols. On Christmas Days after 2004, a certain staunch Catholic mother would tell her son to get three extra plates in case unexpected visitors came by (You know, like the Three Wise Men. It actually happened during his 2009 Birthday). During some of those Christmas seasons, they would listen to the fluent Lugbara-speaking Italian Father Tonino Passolini (of the Catholic Parish in Adalafu, Arua) preaching on Radio Pacis after their mass.

We all need a saviour because we are born in the flesh. No one can claim to be sinless. GOD forgive me if am wrong but sometimes I find it hard to believe the Virgin Mary was completely spotless. Okay, maybe Adam's mark was removed from her by grace. As for Jesus, I do believe he was spotless and controlled himself perfectly. His heavenly father doesn't even have a Breath of Evil in HIM. Galatians 5 wonderfully summarises what every soul on earth goes through whether Muslim, Pentecostal, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, New Age, Pagan or Catholic. Jesus was a prophet who was born during Christmas to lead us to Heaven and no religion can claim him alone. We Lugbara call him "YESU KRISTO". May the Joy and Light during this Christmas and all those that follow reveal his everlasting Glory to you!