Monday, 10 December 2012

Engagement In Nandi Custom.....

Roseline Cherotich
In Nandi traditions, girls are engaged when they are already circumcised (in doors). Girls get circumcised between the ages of 14 – 18 years.  In most times, girls will be circumcised in groups of even up to about 5 – 8 especially during long school holidays but there are special cases that needs urgent attention
  • When a girl is proposed then she has to be circumcised before the grooms family bring the proposal
  • When a girl is impregnated before getting circumcised then she has to go through circumcision before giving birth to her baby.
  •  If a girl is being suspected to have started having sex at an early age
Circumcision Excercise Ceremony in Nandi Traditions:
Circumcision ceremony was a very important activity in Nandi tradition and culture, especially for those girls who still maintained their virginity it was made big and even honored by the society. For those who‘s already broke their virginity, they are always circumcised in silence because it was believed to be a taboo and shame. Fortunately for those girls who maintained their virginity the whole village has to witness, the girl/girls will move from one village to another one house to another in full traditional special attire singing and dancing inviting neighbors and friends for their circumcision ceremony. The invitation would go on for a month or two before the big day.

The Circumcision Attire:
  • A red cloth decorated with beads (all colors) shining like 50 ct. pasted on it a little black. The red cloth is tied around the waist tightly and (mini) to allow dancing and showing off her beauty.  
  •  Necklace made of beautiful beads (red, green and white) was the main colors.
  • A nice long kofia made of monkey skin and decorated with beads
  •  A fly whisk believe made of Horse tail 
  • The dancing is done bare footed and this allows them to jump even high and dance in style
  •  On both legs at the ankle they wore (bells)  
The D. Day
The entire village would be celebrating outside with the elderly men drinking Busa far away from the operation place and women and children would also be celebrating with drinks, food and praise songs for the girls. The circumcision starts very early in the morning at around 3.00am – 4.00am in the morning and should be finished before sun set.
The girls who went through it successful and were brave will get praises and a sign to show their braveness will be put on top of the roof and right near the door called (SINNENDET) a special leaf associated with happiness during the weddings and circumcision ceremonies.

After the circumcision the girl’s would be together during the day with their grandmother’s elderly women in the society and their aunties for a month or so and during this time they will be taught on
roles and how manage their homes
  • cleanliness
  • natural family planning
  •   respect to their husbands and elderly people
  •  their role and participation in the society and community work
During the one month or so the girls will wear skin and sleep on the same.

Once the girls are circumcised then the interested parties on the girl will throw the (SINENDET) on top of the house a sign to show their interest on the girl, and this is done before the sun rise by the grooms father and then he would go back and sit at the (KOKWET) a specific place meant for family meetings under a tree.  Already the (Sindendet) is a sign but still the girl’s father after seeing the sinnendet he would ask what is the purpose of the early visit? And the grooms father would politely answered him that “we have come to ask for your daughter’s hand)

The groom’s family will come and sit at the Kokwet and the girl’s family will come to meet them. The grooms family include uncle’s, aunties, Grandfather, Grandmother, Father, Mother and Clan (ORET)
The family clan from both families meets and discuss engagement preparation but before talks on preparation both families would want to know each other well. Proper introduction is done to prevent getting married to your own. And as for that each clan has a name of an animal to present their clan, in kalenjin they call it -  (TIONDO) or ORET

Once both families are aware of their Tiondo and Oret the two families get ready to discuss the dowry. The dowry is discussed based on:
  • Domestic animals that’s Cow’s
  • Money  (cash)
  •   If there will be sheep (automatically this goes to the bridegrooms mother)
The cows to be given as dowry are discussed in deep describing each and every detail eg:
  • The color of the animal (white & black, Black, Brown e.t. c.)
  • Name of the cows to be given as dowry (Salat, Cheptilit, Legina, Chelel, Siwat  )
The groom family has to be specific without missing even a point for example one has to mention if it is a heifer or (TUPKIER) almost giving birth.  Every detail mention of the animal is noted down during the proposal (GOITA).   And this will guide both families to identify the cows when the time is ripe (when the groom’s family comes for their bride the same day they are required to pass by the boma and identify the cows for the bridegroom’s family to see).

Once both families agreed on the proposal and dowry, both families will share and drink milk from the Calabash (SOTET) and the milk shared is in the form of sour milk (MURSIK) and fresh milk (GEYANIK). Ointment from ghee is used by both families to smear to each other all this exercise is known as covenant between the two families this brings them to one family together and strong and from there on words the two families would refer to each other as (KABAMWAI) the In laws.

The Nandi’s celebrate proposal by slaughtering animals, food, traditional drinks, they also sing and dance in tradition in traditional styles to make the occasion special and entertaining.

Bride dressings:
  •  Skin (CHEPKAWIYET) decorated with red ,green, yellow  beads
  •  Silver bangles
  •   Flat shoes
In beautifying the bride the red soil (NGARET) OGRE is applied to the bride.

If the bride happens to be virgin “a three stool legged with milk is given to her to sit on it” once it is approved that she is really a virgin the information is shared and celebrated by all and gifts from relatives, friends, elderly people of the society with praises. Likewise if the bride is not virgin she will be calls names and no respect for her.

Roseline ended her story saying circumcision ceremonies does not exists (the act) however in some communities girls are gathered during the long holidays to get some few lessons in life.


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