This week Moilomet Olorwas and Evelen Ngaa were married at my outstation of Ngoile. Since it was within an hour’s walk of the main mission at Olbalbal, most of the Christians came. The feast was frosted with some beautiful songs composed by the Christians. The singers took words from the bible about the creation of the first man and woman and various admonitions from St. Paul about how wives and husbands need to respect each other. The songs were great and high points of the celebration.
At Maasai weddings replacing rings, the bride places the “engonongoi” necklace of blue beads around the neck of the bridegroom. In fact, the man of the house only begins to wear this necklace on the day of initiation of his first-born. So it doesn’t technically fit, but the Christians determined to use this symbol signing hope for a successful marriage and family. The bridegroom then places the “eomonyorit” chain around the neck of the bride. At this wedding the couple also exchanged rings. In Europe and America, the bride’s chain would be a terrible symbol to use at a wedding. But among the Maasai, it is the traditional sign of a married woman. Unfortunately all to often, the chain analogy is born out in the daily living of the married couple. We hope that the relationship of Moilomet and Evelen will be more enlightened than the chain symbol indicates. Another unique symbol at our Maasai wedding was the smearing of the joined hands of the bride and groom with blessed sheep fat. Sheep fat is much used in the preparation of the special clothing of the bride at traditional weddings and was a meaningful addition to the Christian service, a very graphic blessing of their union.
An ox was slaughtered and there was meat and soda for everyone, coca cola of course. America has coca-cola-ized the world!