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What Happens During Chilanga Mulilo?

The Ichilanga Mulilo is the next stage after dowry payment in the Zambian Wedding, and this takes place about a week before the actual wedding.

Chilanga Mulilo means ‘show the fire’ in Bemba, though these days, this ceremony has spread to other Zambian tribes. The purpose of this ceremony is to introduce the Bride’s food and cooking culture to the groom’s family.

The Chilanga Mulilo is organized by the women in the Bride’s family, it’s like a buffet of some sort, where the groom and his family have the opportunity to ‘taste’ the different delicacies his wife-to-be will be expected to cook for him.

The cooking of the different traditional food is done by women in the bride’s family, usually her mum and aunties, the bride herself isn’t actually fully involved, she just helps out.

When the cooking is done the women arrive in the groom’s family house in a procession singing and dancing, with their pots of various delicacies. The man’s family usually offers the procession of women some money, when they are satisfied with the amount, they enter the house.

The presentation of the food to the groom and his male family members or friends begins with a representative of the women, a matron, who explains the different foods prepared. The bride and her mother also enter the room covered with chitenges (African print Cloth). Most of the women who did the cooking do not enter this room.



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