Sylvia Gikazi was recently invited by a friend at a beautiful apartment in Kimisagara. As she entered the quiet living room, over 21 friends and relatives screamed at once, “Welcome to your bridal shower!” Surprised by this unexpected reaction, Gikazi could not help but run back in shock after which she burst into tears.
“I cannot believe you guys played around with my mind all day, as a matter of fact, I don’t even know what to say,” she added emotionally.
Gikazi is one of the many that have had a golden chance of having close friends throw them a bridal shower a few weeks before their big day- the wedding.
Well, at least for the many newly weds, one in every 20 had her family and friends throw a bridal shower. In simple terms, a bridal shower is a gift giving party given for a bride before her wedding.
Most people believe that this custom originated from the western world, specifically, the United States, Brussels in Belgium in the 1860’s and since then, the custom has spread to several parts of the world.
Jemima Mukamusoni, an 80 year old lady who stays in Rwamagana believes that despite the fact that this practice is commonly related to the western world, African societies, have always had a different way of showering their brides.
“Elder women in the African society organize themselves and lecture the bride-to-be about what to expect in marriage and of course how to go about the challenges,” Mukamusoni says.
Beth Montemurro, an American Sociologist notes that the ritual of the bridal shower,0 “socialises women into the traditional wife role,” since it emphasises the future role of the bride-to-be as family cook, homemaker, and sexual partner.
Gikazi’s shower was not any different. Most of the guests were married women each of whom had an experience to relate to when advising the bride about the dos and don’ts of marriage life.
Margaret Nyirabera, a friend to the bride’s family who has also been married for thirteen years, advised Gikazi to avoid making any conclusions that may suggest divorce.
“My daughter, when one makes that sacred vow in church, to stay married until death, they must not break it no matter how bad things may get!” she advised.
Another guest also proposed that Gikazi stays at her home for five days such that she can be taught how to prepare particular meals that her husband might be accustomed to. Considering the fact that David (the groom-to-be) was raised in a different country at a certain time in his life.
“Men really love women who can cook their favorite meal perfectly. Better come to my place and learn all this, or else you will end up in so many fights as a result of poor cooking skills,” Ann Kayitesi also advised.
As I listened carefully to the words of wisdom that these ladies said to the 22 year old, I began to imagine what it would be like for people like me who don’t care about quarrelsome men.
Daniela Tesi, an employee in a bank in the heart of Kigali disagrees, citing that life is what you make it.
“Honestly, all this advice could be good but every person’s marriage is different in a way so I can not suddenly behave in a way that other people think would make my marriage successful!” She exclaims.
The decision as to whether, anyone attaches significance to this custom varies from one person to another. While a good number would agree that it is vital to learn from the experienced, others may not wish to be taught how to handle their husbands or even run their homes.
Gikazi however strongly believes that this advice can help one make the most successful marriage especially because one gets an insight about what to expect.
“I learnt a lot about the marriage institution from fellow experienced friends and relatives. Now I know, it is very important to uphold, patience, honesty and submissiveness in wedlock,” A smiley Gikazi told The New Times.
The gifts brought by the guests were completely feminine while others were household items. They included fragrance candles, cutlery, cooking aprons and bathroom shower favors among others.---