Another key ceremony after the dowry ceremony is the kûona itaara (pronounced as kwona ita-ara). The translation is: “to see the itaara”. The itaara was where the firewood was kept. Traditionally, a clean itaara, free from soot and dirt was a good sign. Keeping the itaara clean was the responsibility of the young man in the home. A clean itaara therefore was a sign of a hardworking young man.

Family Asssurance

Going to the young man’s home also provides the family of the girl assurance on where their daughter is going to once she is married. A clean itaara is therefore a sign of a good home. At the same time, the young woman is also given a tour of the home (and especially of the kitchen!) where it is confirmed that she is now a member of that home. She can now also make herself and her new parents a cup of tea whenever she visits. During the tour, the young man is also set aside with the older men and given advice as well.

A light moment before a tour of the home

There is a lot of singing and advice given to the lady alone with the older women in the house

After the tour: In the seating room (I now have a change in my outfit, a gift from Paul’s mum as I am now part of the home). Also presented to me by my “new mum” was a beautiful yellow set of earrings and a necklace to complement the outfit.

I am presented to the crowd afterwards as a confirmation that I have made a tour of my new home. Paul’s mum in blue on the right and her best friend on the left

 

Paul and I after the home tour. He is wearing a jacket given as a gift from the older men. The jacket is a symbol that he is now a man preparing to have his own home

 

End of the function in the early evening hours: My mum (on my right), sister (who was also my maid of honour), my dad, aunt and Paul

Other Ceremonies

Few other ceremonies happen – the taking of drinks / sodas by the women on the man’s side to the girl’s home. This is done the week of the wedding as a final “fee”. With this a stubborn aunt does not refuse with the keys to the gate on the day of the wedding!

Of course all these ceremonies are done with a light touch (I think it’s a reason to just have some fun!) The families also get to know each other better in the process. There is also a bridal shower organized by the girl’s friends. The friends have some pearls of wisdom for her….and another reason to have some more fun!