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.