Monday, March 2, 2015

Seven Videos Of Zambian Kitchen Parties (Bridal Showers)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases seven videos of Zambian kitchen parties (wedding showers, bridal showers). Comments about this Zambian social event are also included in this post.

The content of this post is provided for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic reasons.

All copyright remains with their owners.

Thanks and congratulations to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Traditional Zambian Kitchen Party in 2014 Zambia Team, by Hayley Melvin
..."Those of us that have been living in MEF (Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation), located on the outskirts of Kitwe, have gotten to know Linda, the campus Manager. She invited us Canadian girls to a Kitchen Party, a traditional Zambian Bridal Shower. We wore traditional “Chitange’s” that we had purchased at the local market (cloth that wraps around the waist, but can be used in many other ways and comes in different lengths) to the party. We also brought the bride a gift of glass bowls for her to use; the guest brings a gift that the bride can use in setting up her kitchen. Though a lot of kitchen parties take place outside due to the large number of guests attending, this particular gathering occurred in a massive hall....

As the Bride to be enters the hall, she is covered by a six meter chitange. Her aunt leads her into the hall as she cannot see and behind her is the “Nachimbusa,” the trainer of marriage. Between two weeks to a month prior to the kitchen party, the bride stays with the Nachimbusa. She teaches her lessons about everything that goes on in a house from the outside in; how to garden, to clean, to cook and finally what she needs to know inside the bedroom to please her husband. The auntie leads the kitchen party procession to approve the teachings of the Nachimbusa. Once seated, the bride remains covered by the chitange, so that none of her body is visible. One by one each relative on the groom’s side takes turns going under the chitange, lighting a candle and giving the bride money. The Bemba song being sung tells the audience that the groom’s family members light a candle to represent that they can see and accept the bride as part of the family. After every relative has had a turn, the groom’s family removes the chitange off the bride for all the guests to see.

While the bride is seated at the front of the hall she must keep her head facing down and palms on her lap facing up for the entire party. This is a sign of asking for acceptance into the groom’s family. Baskets are brought around to collect money from the guests, representing giving their knowledge to the couple. Next the Bridesmaids and Groom’s men enter the hall, dancing in sync to entertain the guests...

After some dancing, the bride and groom exchange gifts....

After a few gifts are given by other guests it is our turn to go up the aisle and present our gift. We put a few kwatcha in the basket to encourage the drummers, and then we begin to dance for the bride and the crowd. The guests go wild. They have seldom witnessed “Muzungus” attending a traditional gathering, much less attempting to dance with their hips as the traditional Zambians dance. To conclude our dance had to lie down on our side in front of the bride and clap in appreciation and then roll to the other side and clap in respect of the couple. Each song the drummers play after a gift is given represents a lesson for the bride to learn about marriage. These include not talking over your husband and treating all relatives equally. The party ends after all the guests have participated in the gift presentation.

After the kitchen party I learned from Linda that these gatherings can cost the family anywhere from 3500 Kwatcha to about 10,000 Kwatcha in cost. That’s about 600 – 1,600 Canadian dollars. Some couples go on to have a formal wedding but many choose only to have a blessing rather than to spend another large sum. It was a privilege to be guests at such an important family event and to get a look inside Zambian life."

"Here in Zambia, kitchen parties are a little like bridal showers in the States. They’re a “girl” event held in honor of soon-to-be brides. Guests shower the bride with anything and everything she'll want for her new kitchen...

Unlike bridal showers in the States, which are often smaller events of twenty-five or fewer guests, kitchen parties are huge. Bigger is definitely better. A kitchen party is arranged by a committee and led (or DJ'd, or Emceed, or… not sure of a proper equivalent) by the Matron, an important woman in all the wedding happenings...

One thing I can say is that dancing, music, hoopla, and food are central parts of the event. Oh, and one more thing: the bride is to be somber. While everyone else is hollering and dancing and carrying on, she shows no emotion"...

Africa » Zambia » Chipata
June 22nd 2008
"My first kitchen party was a very Christian affair; this was more traditional. We ate first, and were entertained by some dancing before the bridal party came in...

As before, the bride's head, and those of her friend, were covered, and they sat down on the stage to wait for the groom. He processed in and on to the stage and there was a short pause for some negotiations between the two families before the chitengi was lifted to great excitement. The bride then presented a cake to the groom by holding it standing and then lowering herself very slowly to a kneeling position before finally handing it over- it demonstrated iron leg muscles and am sure was something she had been practising for some time."...

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing dates on YouTube with the examples with the oldest dates presented first.

Notice that the drummers who are shown in these videos are women.

Example #1: Scenes from a Zambian Kitchen Party

ZamTown, Uploaded on Jun 19, 2011

Various scenes from a Zambian Kitchen Party (Wedding Shower). Mostly, the women enjoy dancing, singing, and laughing.

Example #2: Zambian Kitchen Party Gifts

ZamTown, Uploaded on Jun 19, 2011

Women giving their gifts at a kitchen party in Zambia, Africa

Example #3: Zambian kitchen party/Entertainment

findingbliss611, Published on May 28, 2012

Entertainment for the guests and the groom's family at a Zambian kitchen party, which is similar to a bridal shower.
Selected comments from this video's viewer comment thread:
chichi kunda, 2012
"what language is she using when singing?"

Dins Chapter, 2013
in reply to chichi kunda
"she using Bemba"

annie bland, 2012
"lala tribe, from serenje where i come from great staff!!!!"
In that comment "great staff" may mean "great people".

Example #4: Zambian Kitchen Party 8.04.12

CrystalPyramidMeta, Published on Aug 8, 2012

The aunties, mamas, and elders celebrate as they bring out the bride-to-be, my cousin Aggie, to officially launch her kitchen party (wedding shower).

Example #5: Zambian Kitchen Party - Bringing out the Groom

CrystalPyramidMeta, Published on Aug 8, 2012
Also, click for another video of this event: "Zambian Kitchen Party - The Groom ID's and unveils his Bride"

Example #6: Mweete's Kitchen Party

Brenda Zulu, Published on Aug 10, 2013

Presentation of gifts

Examble #7: sara nicklin's zambian kitchen party oxford july 2013

annie bland, Published on Aug 27, 2013

Click for a post about Zambian wedding dances.

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