Bridal Shower/Kitchen Party.
Ruth’s bridal shower/African kitchen party. I’ve been looking forward to this event for a while now. Ever since I took this booking I knew what was coming. I photographed Ruth’s sister’s kitchen party and wedding a few years ago.
These events are so much fun, filled with vibrant colours and sounds as well as being rich with tradition. A pleasure to be invited along to share the day with such a lovely couple. The wedding is in a couple of days and I’m really excited to be part of it.
African Kitchen Party Gallery.
As a wedding photographer, I find it fascinating to experience many different traditions and the differences in cultures. I feel very lucky that I get to work alongside so many lovely people on some of the happiest days of their lives and this African kitchen party was a real treat.
History of the Zambian/African kitchen party.
Oke, so let us start with the beginning: what is a Kitchen Party all about? Here, a Kitchen Party is a Zambian bridal shower. We actually thought it was an original Zambian tradition, but its origins are apparently found in the Western culture. From 1924 till 1964 Zambia was a colony of Great Britain.
After Zambia became independent they absorbed the Kitchen Party as a new wedding ritual in the Zambian culture. Before the independence, bridal showers were not performed by the Zambians. Originally the Kitchen Party was called a ‘Kitchen Tea Party.
The party helped the bride-to-be with gathering her new kitchen items. Only female guests are invited to the party and as no alcohol was served, the ladies enjoyed their tea. Prior to the ceremony, a committee is making sure to gather all the needed kitchen supplies and every guest donates some money for it.
Rituals During a kitchen Party.
Besides the tradition of giving kitchen supplies as a gift, the concept of the original Kitchen Tea Party changed to a real Zambian version.
The bride-to-be has to stay in a secluded room for a while and will join the party later. During her stay in the secluded room, she will be accompanied by older (only married) women.
The women will teach her about how to have a happy marriage, sexual aspects and how to behave like a wife. After the bride-to-be is fully prepared by the marriage lessons of the other women, she will join the party.
She will enter the room covered by a chitenge (a patterned cloth) and guided by the committee of the party (mostly family members or close friends) to a special place for her.
Once the bride-to-be is seated, the only part of the event where men are allowed can start. The Groom will enter the room, guided by other men. This is basically to show everyone who the groom is, and it is also a way of showing: this is my man and from now on he is taken.
Some parts of the tradition are a bit commercialised nowadays. For example, the bride-to-be has to stay covered, while the men are entering the room. The presenter of the Kitchen Party will make sure that the men are giving money to the bride. Once that is done, the bride-to-be can finally show her face. And then sometimes the Groom will be surprised to find out, it was not his bride, but another woman.
The men have to leave the room again, and the real bride will quickly enter. After this, the men need to re-do the introduction (including the money ritual), but now for the real bride-to-be. Haha women are smart, aren’t they?
After her face is revealed, she needs to look at the ground during practising some of the traditions. This is basically a sign of respect for her husband-to-be.
Preparations for the guests.
So how do you prepare yourself for attending the party in style? Oke, we have a confession to make: almost all of our travel clothes are black and a bit worn out.
Stress, what should we wear? Luckily we know Kabaso, the fashion designer behind the brand Nkanda Yatu. He quickly did some measurements and we went to a local fabric store for our own chitenge.
He is truly amazing, we could show him any type of dress that we would like to wear. After we bought the fabrics and choose a dress, he started designing and already surprised us with the amazing dresses the next day! So preparation number 1: make sure you have a colourful dress to wear.
Always check if there is a colour or dress code. The bride-to-be sometimes will choose a certain colour theme for the party.
Preparation 2 is to make sure you have enough cash with you. As you can see in our video, the tradition is to give some cash to the women who are dancing to the beat of the percussions.
Preparation 3: get ready for some dancing!!! If the music alone will not be enough to start dancing, the women at the party will make sure you will.
Information is supplied by https://www.nomadsoflife.com/what-can-you-expect-when-attending-a-zambian-kitchen-party/