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Luhya Wedding Traditions


The Luhya community mostly resides in the Western part of Kenya with a population of about three million. Known for their elaborate ceremonies, the Luhya enjoy holding big parties to celebrate occasions. Luhya weddings are very elaborate and important occasions. They are accompanied with many wedding photos and celebrations. Before one gets married, the groom will have taken bride wealth to the bride’s parents as a sign of gratitude. Unlike Toronto wedding ceremonies, bride wealth is meant to cement relations between the two families.

The first step before a Luhya traditional wedding can take place is payment of the bride price. The groom is expected to take a token of appreciation to the bride’s parents to show that the parents raised their daughter well. Traditionally, this token would be in the form of livestock or farm produce. This token would act as a token to show how much the man cares for his future wife and show that he can provide for his future family as well. The Luhya community is known to love chicken and these are provided in plenty for guests to eat. On the wedding day, the man would go to the bride’s homestead and call out the girl’s name. If the girl responds, the ceremony can then go on. In the past, guests in attendance dress in special traditional attire with paintings all over their bodies and dance the whole night. The ceremony would last for about three days. The married couple would then proceed to their new home.

Present day Luhya wedding ceremonies are more modern and include celebrating the event in a church. Dancing and singing accompany most luhya weddings. Groups of women who sing praise songs encircle the bride. The wedding party normally arrives at the church a few minutes before the ceremony starts. The ceremony is usually recorded on video and wedding photos taken. This is one attribute that both Luhya and Toronto weddings have. Once the church ceremony is over, the wedding party goes to the reception venue for wedding photos and food. Luhya weddings have plenty of traditional foods to offer as well as western cuisine. Entertainment in a luhya wedding involves singing traditional songs and dancing to their tunes. Luhya dancing is quite vigorous and is a very entertaining activity. Unlike in Toronto, Luhyas can hold their ceremonies for as long as two weeks.

A Luhya wedding is not complete without speeches. The speeches normally come after gifts are given and wedding photos are taken but before the cake is cut. The theme of most wedding speeches is usually advice to the groom and his bride on how to take care of their new family. Grooms are advised to take care of the wife and the bride is advised to cook properly for the husband. Different people who may use a lot of proverbs and sayings to drive the point home give variations of the same message.

After the main event, the bride and groom go to their new home. The wedding photos taken serve as a reminder of the wedding ceremony. They can be passed down from generation to generation and act as a teaching aid to their children on the importance of marriage and families.

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Listed: October 22, 2008 4:08 am