Make your own free website on


Wedding Preparations
Binary Oppostition
The Wagogo Tribe
Wedding Preparations

A wedding is a time when tow families come together by the coming together of two individual who are in love. With all of the excitement of a wedding celebration come the preparations for it. The preparations for the wedding are truly what make this a special occasion. Every group has different ways in which to organize and prepare for such an eventful celebration. The Wagogo tribe also takes some time in preparation for marriage and the differences of how it is done can be seen when compared to ones own customs.

In the Wagogo tribe it is custom to begin thinking about marriage as a young child. The marriage preparations take place early in life. All Wagogo adults are married at least once during their lifetime so no wonder why it is such a topic that is spoken about at such a young age. The preparations for marriage although not really direct is seen as a child grows. The growth of a child is marked by many different physical operations before they reach the most important rites of passage. Most Wagogo babies at a very early age have a scar burnt into their foreheads as a part of protective or curative medicine for the eye infections very common in Ugogo. At the age of about six to eight when the new teethe are growing, the two lower incisors are knocked out. At about eight or ten years old, the lobes and the upper part of the ears are pierced so that they may be extended for the insertion of attractive ornaments. (Rigby, PG 205) All of these different operations are done in order to prepare for the physical look and attraction of the Wagogo tribe members. These all lead up to one of the biggest milestones of a persons life, puberty. Puberty is the time when most of the preparations for marriage takes place because this is a milestone that confirms that a child has become and adult and is ready to marry. Although puberty is more important for one gender than for the other it still plays a part in the preparations for marriage.

One mile stone tat a boy or man has it when they are circumcised. The age at which most boys are circumcised and initiated does not correspond to that of puberty or any other single physical stage of development. Puberty and the first emission of a boy are not socially marked in any way as it is among other Bantu peoples, though a girls first menstruation is. (Rigby, PG 206) Boys were circumcised when they were between about fifteen and twenty, but the age of initiation has rapidly been decreasing over the years. Now a boy can be circumcised at the ages between eleven and fourteen if not younger. Wagogo circumcision ceremonies are very rich in symbolism. After initiation and public acceptance of his change of status as Gogo youth begins to have legitimate heterosexual relations to prepare himself for marriage. The inception of a boys search for a spouse and sexual activity is marked by the public act of initiation, in which several collaborates of his close kin are closely involved.

Unlike a boys initiation a girls initiation comes before puberty at about the age of eight to eleven. And still does not consider them eligible for marriage yet. Unlike when a boy gets initiated and is taken to a shelter for recovery from his circumcision a girl is not taken to a shelter built especially for them. When a girl is initiated she must recover away from the neighborhood and when she returns is secluded from the male sex. This is the complete opposite of the boys initiation. When they are initiated a shelter is built where they may have visitation from either sex. Another big difference about the initiation of boys and the initiation of girls is that a boy is able to marry as soon as he has been circumcised but a girl cannot be considered marriageable until she has reached puberty and has had her first menstruation. Because of the importance of a girls reach to puberty it is necessary to mark a girls first menstruation, and it is accompanied by a ritual seclusion, once again, and a public ceremony. When a girl first menstruates she informs her mother who then informs the neighborhood that she has grown up. The milestone of a girls first menstruation initiates her and she is given the recognition of being marriageable after her first menstruation.

After all the milestones of both males and females have been met and they are both marriageable another process must occur before marriage. This process is known as the procedures and phases of the marriage contract. This is what we may know as a prenuptial agreement. There are many ways in which the marriage contract may be established and completed but it all depends on the kinship. The most popular is known as a betrothal marriage. The kin negotiate over livestock, bride wealth, and kinship. During these negotiations the kin and male establish an agreement over what will be traded from the marriage of the girl or woman in return. The negotiations may last long so if this is not in agreement with the male he may take the girl away without negotiations complete and marry her. This is what is considered to us as eloping. In order for the couple to marry without the kin knowing about it or catching them before they marry they must flee away to several other neighborhoods away from their own. After they marry upon their return it is not often seen as bad but the negotiations must still be finalized. In regards to the bride wealth it is considered the negotiation of the girl or woman. This negotiation lets the girl be inherited in some cases and may even by traded off in other cases. This negotiation or agreement may vary from kin to kin.