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Kalenjin Wedding Traditions

The Kalenjin are a Kenyan ethnic community that comprises of eight tribes. They are about 2.7 Million Kalenjins who live in the Kenyan western highlands. The name Kalenjin roughly translates to ‘I tell you’. Kalenjin weddings were a blend of tradition and customs. There are certain preparations that a couple had to go through before a wedding, and one could not be considered eligible for marriage until they are fulfilled. First, the young men and women must have gone through some traditional initiation passages or ‘tumdo’, which graduate them to join members of certain age-sets known as ‘ipinda’. The males undergo circumcision and stay in seclusion for a long time. Here, they are instructed on how to take care of the home and the cattle. There are also lessons on how to be good warriors. The young women learn how to make pots and gourds for carrying water, how to fetch and carry firewood and how to find wild vegetables.  They are also taught how to take care of their children and cook.

Kalenjin weddings, just like Toronto weddings, are usually graced with a lot of sumptuous food including the staple ‘ugali’, prepared from white corn and boiling water, meat, and whole milk that is fermented and stored in a gourd, which is cleaned using charcoal. There is music with dancers wearing ankle bells and drums, flutes and horns being played. Traditionally, the bridal party would wear animal skins, hides, traditional ornaments and earrings. The Kalenjin wedding would also include some local brews like ‘busaa’, which is prepared from fried and fermented millet and corn.  After the wedding, the man takes his new wife inside or near his father’s homestead where a house has been built for the new couple. Polygamy is still allowed if one can afford to pay the bride price for more than one wife. Children are seen as a blessing to the Kalenjin and other Kenyan communities and, until recently, Kenya was the leading country in population growth worldwide. Today most Kalenjin weddings are made up of monogamous nuclear families.

In Kalenjin weddings like Toronto weddings, much consideration is taken in the bride’s beauty and health, bridal showers, flowers andm decorations.  Much planning goes into the wedding photos, honeymoon, travel, jewelry, gifts, transportation and reception. Regardless of where the couple may be there are traditions that must be done including paying of the bride price if they are to be wed. The main difference between Toronto and Kalenjin weddings is the bride price. The bride price is a token of appreciation to the girl’s parents for taking such good care of her over the years.  In Kalenjin weddings, this is usually counted in cattle.  However, modern Kalenjins normally take the equivalent in cash.  In Toronto, a bride price is not considered at all.  With cultures, merging each day there might soon be no difference between a Toronto and a Kalenjin wedding.

For your Kalenjin wedding, remember that Babylon Productions Wedding Centre has over 25 years of experience servicing traditional weddings. Our staff will film your wedding, edit the material as you like, and can even include traditional Kalenjin wedding music as a soundtrack! Also, if you want your entertainers to speak your native language, or perform traditional Kalenjin wedding music, we can provide that! Our photographers will make sure you look good on your wedding day, and our staff will leave you stress-free so you can enjoy your wedding day. Trust the best in the business. Trust Babylon.