Sunday, October 23, 2011
The “Knocking” – Samuel and Henrietta
This is an interesting ceremony where the whole family of the potential groom visits the family
of the potential bride to ask for her hand in marriage.
In the U.S. this is an old ceremony and usually only includes the man asking the parents of the
bride for her hand in marriage.
There are some distinct differences. First, the whole family is involved!
Wow! I was also asked to participate as Samuel’s boss and friend. We arrived at Henrietta’s
home in Sapieman about 8 A.M.
The ceremony proceeds where Samuel’s family offers Henrietta’s family a bottle of Schnapps –
if Henrietta’s family accepts and serves this refreshment, then it is assumed that the wedding is on!
In addition, her family makes a list of gift items that they would like and Samuel (and his family) will
provide these gifts for them (in exchange for their daughter?)
Henrietta was present from time to time, serving refreshments – but she was not included in the
conversation – she did not join us.
Henrietta’s father was gracious and when deep in thought, he told Samuel that their families are not “in-laws”
but one family. And, if Samuel and Henrietta ever have a problem too big to handle, he would be there to help
them solve it.
It was really quite touching to see the families joke and laugh together. It was clear that they had welcomed
Samuel into their family. The two grandfathers, both Chiefs of their villages, shared old stories about long ago
when they were young and they liked to fight! They were laughing together and it was hard not to laugh along
(even though I didn’t understand the language!) Both grandfathers are in their 90’s.
The ceremony also includes pouring of a glass of Schnapps (or some alcoholic beverage)…but before they would drink, they would spill a little for their ancestors to share in the event.
When they poured my glass, I tipped the glass once for my father and once for my mother. I was really moved to tears remembering them and wondering what they thought of me now.
I was given a new Ga name today…. Naa Momo. I was told this is a woman who was a warrior! (Naa meaning Chief,
Momo meaning Mother)