‘Our hearts were dancing’

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By Maude Bertrand

Last week, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to a Kenyan wedding. Irene, a friend of Jennifer, was getting married. Well, the couple had been married for a few years, but wanted to make it official it in front of friends and family.

We met the couple at the Kiirua Catholic Church for the ceremony. The succession of events was mostly the same than the one we have in Canada (exchange of vows, communion, the choir,… ). Well, I think it was… the ceremony was all in the Kimeru language! What struck us what the festive attitude people had in the church. Everything was about dancing and singing: from the dancing processions in the aisle, the cries of joy from the assistance, the almost-techno-dance music played on the stereo to the cheerful singing by the choir. The ceremony was lively, happy and colourful!

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After the church ceremony, we drove to the venue. Several tents had been erected to receive the wedding party and the guests. We were welcomed warmly, and served a (big!) meal of beef stew, roasted meat, rice and potatoes. When the happy couple arrived, they were welcomed by singers and dancers, who danced around the decorated car for several minutes. The couple started dancing the moment they set foot on the ground. A long line of men and women joined and danced in unison. They looped several times around the installations. We were invited to join the dancers, and let me tell you that it must have been very entertaining for the guests! They were smiling and laughing…we are obviously not as talented as the Kenyans when it comes to moving our hips!

 

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The rest of the celebration was similar to what we know, but with more dancing: the couple dancing to go cut the cake, more dancing to meet the guests, guests dancing before making a speech. People were also dancing and singing while presenting their gifts to the couple. We also had a gift to offer, but stood pretty still when it came time to present it.

We felt very lucky and grateful to have been invited to the celebration. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two cultures. When we left the party, all of our hearts were…well, dancing!

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