Traditional dowry payment for the Agikuyu known as Ngurario

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  • Residents of Wanjengi village in Kiharu constituency of Murang’a County were yesterday treated to a rare event of a traditional dowry payment also known as Ngurario or Gutinia Kiande that is the symbolic of a kikuyu traditional wedding.

     The event / wedding involves cutting of a goat’s right hand meat by a man who is married to a woman and has no plans to leave the woman forever until death do part.
     John Thumbi and Nancy Thumbi decided to undergo through the ceremony as the last event in dowry payment of a Kikuyu woman, so that the event will pave way to receive dowry from their daughters who are married and intend to pay dowry to their parents too.
     The ceremony that was conducted by Mr. Muturi Waiharo, an elder of the Kikuyu community who has gone through the rituals of a kikuyu man, saw Mr. Thumbi who was the groom make some vows to his wife and vice versa.

    The couple cuts one leg amongst the chosen seven pieces of burnt meat, and the wife feeds the man with several pieces.

     It is worth noting that the woman does not feed at all in presence of her man because according to Kikuyu culture, it is wrong to so as explained by Muturi during the ceremony.
     “The woman’s place is the kitchen and she should feed there before the man of the house arrives. When the man is feeding, the woman should concentrate on keeping him company.” Muturi explains.
     Their sitting arrangement is not just something usual. The woman should always sit on the left side of the husband.
     Any man present in the event should sit free without inter-locking his legs together because by doing so, one is said to have locked the event from proceeding and thus all legs should be free from each other.
     After introducing the seven pieces of meat that are used in a Ngurario ceremony, all the other pieces of meat found in a goat are explained to the gathering, their meaning and whoever that is supposed to eat a specific type of meat.
     It’s also worth noting that not all meat can be consumed by women and thus the Kikuyu man had a share of the best and soft meat in a goat.
     In most cases, that which is said to be supposedly meant for the woman is the legs and the ears!
     During the ceremony, a young boy who used to be the shepherd of the goat that has been slaughtered during the Ngurario ceremony is also rewarded.
     In this case, Kariuki was the lucky boy who took home a piece of meat known as Githuuri and other gifts from the woman’s side.
     The women who may be were expecting or willing to be married by the groom but never succeeded are also given a chance to woo him for the last time during the ceremony.

    They scramble for the man as some comb his hair, others shine his shoes, others trying to feed him with porridge but all in vain. The man, Mr. Thumbi only agrees to drink porridge from his wife’s calabash and rejects the others.

     The man also takes some strides around to see if his wife will bother to find out about his whereabouts, only to learn that the women who were trying to woo the man had run after him.
     She then takes her man from them all.

    By WAMBUI MWANGI – MURANG’A – 0723102225

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