Saturday, 18 May 2013

RÚRACIO;A bride,at a price!

So,I need to say,first of all,that I am only aged 22,which literary translates to "I really don't know much about rúracio" :) The thing is,in December last year,I accompanied my boyfriend to a rúracio,where his friend was paying bride price.This was the second time I found myself in a rúacio situation.Ladies from the groom's side recognized me,and so,since am a singer,they asked me to "kúithia rúímbo" which is Gíkúyú,and it simply means, "solo a song" and then they would respond.Since I am a live performer,and with the band,I perform in events like weddings too,I am armed with a vast repatouire,Gíkúyú songs included.So that part,for me,was no husle.
But as we left the compound after the ceremony was done with,I kept wondering.."How much of our culture do ladies my age know?And what about the gentlemen too,especially those from other communities,but with A-Gíkúyú brides?"
I went visiting my cúcú(grandmother) a fortnight later,and she and her friends were on an ego trip,just making me write notes on Rúracio and Ngurario(Traditional Gíkúyú wedding),and telling me of all the duties I will take up after I get married(I let them think that I was gathering information,because my Rúracio was coming up!Well,that was the only way they would tell me everything...)But I must say,they were much more recourceful,compared to every source I had reference to,online. :)
*thankyou cúcú*
If any of you is getting married anytime soon,then Rúracio must be up in line too.So,ladies and gentlemen,here is what I found out,about the whole ceremony :) Thank me later :)

RÚRACIO.....(How you 'buy' your wife)

Rúracio is fun but at the same time it is serious business.The bride’s family is happy that she is going to get married, but there is always concern about whether or not the groom and his family are good people.Since as the Gíkúyú say, “Úthoni ndúragaguo” (which basically means you can’t get too familiar with your in-laws) there is need for utmost respect in these events.
The feast is prepared at the bride-to-be’s home and the groom's family shows up at about 1pm,ready to eat and negotiate.They have to bring gifts too.On arrival, the groom’s family will find the gate closed.They must sing their way in.Singing is incorporated into every aspect of African culture.They sing songs urging the girl’s family to open the gate for them and welcome them in often saying why they have come.
The girl’s female relatives are on the other side of the gate and ask for some show of love (money) in order to open the gate.The groom’s female relatives will usually throw some money over the gate and then it will be opened for them.They are received with greetings and much joy and the gifts they have brought are carried in for them by the bride’s female relatives and friends.
After prayers and feasting,Introductions are made so that everyone knows who the bride and groom are as well as the family members of both parties ...Then the elders from both families retire into a different room to start bride price negotiation.Men are the only ones allowed to negotiate the bride price,but anyone, including women and children, is welcome to listen in and be witness to the negotiations.
According to Gíkúyú tradition,every Gíkúyú girl’s bride price is 99 goats.It is never 100 because the 1 is left in the groom’s family to raise another herd.In modern day Kenya,the amount is converted into a cash amount per goat and that amount is what is negotiated by the families.
The negotiation can be based on the current market price of a goat or can be slightly higher or lower.The general idea is to find a middle ground where the groom does not feel harassed and the bride’s family does not feel that no value or little value is placed on their daughter.
Once this middle ground is reached,the groom, if he does not have all the money, must give a portion to the girl’s family immediately,with the agreement that he will pay the rest with time.Paying bride price in good time is considered important,since if a man does not pay the bride price for his wife and finish,he cannot receive bride price for his daughter.
Ps:You can thank me now :)

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