The Dry Season in Burundi – Time to Celebrate! III of III (Urban Elite Marriages)

dianabuja:

This is the third, and last blog on marriages during the dry season here in Burundi. The most elaborate – and therefore costly weddings occur during this season. Enjoy!

If possible, a large troupe of  traditional drummers will be invited to perform; traditional dancers might also be invited.

If possible, a large troupe of traditional drummers will be invited to perform; traditional dancers might also be invited.

Originally posted on DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture:

Revised 25 July 2014

Weddings for the wealthy (or aspiring wealthy) here in Burundi can be extremely elaborate.  If at all possible, the family will rent space at a hotel where entertainment, drinks and food will be provided for upwards of 400 guests.  If that is not possible, the family will arrange the fête at a less expensive locale but may pay an upmarket hotel for having photos taken in their grounds.   These grand events have multiplied now that the war is over.

The following weddings took place at the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika, a favorite locale for weddings, engagements, and other celebrations.

A stroll by Lake Tanganyika with ntori drummers, di rigeur if the family can affort it

A stroll by Lake Tanganyika with traditional drummers – de rigueur if the family can afford it!

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This is Part III of the blog series on wedding and engagement celebrations in Burundi during the dry season.  The first blog looked at the poor and

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Botanical – Brews

dianabuja:

An interesting blog on botanical brews from Diane O’Donovan and her excellent writeups on the Voynich manuscript. I’d completely forgotten the exchange that we had on botanical brews – as discussed by me here – http://dianabuja.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/banana-beer-and-other-fermented-drinks-in-africa/. Diane carries out the discussion in her blog, below-referenced.

Diane has a variety of fascinating plates and data on botanical aspects of this medieval European manuscript; very worth checking out!

Banana beer is frequently on sale in rural markets and is an important micro-enterprise for women who run a brewing enterprise.  The goal is a refreshing drink during the heat of day – not a high alcohol item.  The seller is pouring beer into a gourd, which the customer will drink with a straw that is generally made from a local reed.  I took this photo at a local market in northern Burundi.

Banana beer is often on sale in rural markets and is an important micro-enterprise for women who run a small brewing enterprise. The goal is a refreshing drink during the heat of day – not a high alcohol item. The seller is pouring beer into a gourd, which the customer will drink with a straw that is generally made from a local reed. I took this photo at a local market in northern Burundi.

 

Originally posted on voynichimagery:

Exemplary type: f. 13r. Musaceae

root-mnemonic 'Brews'

root-mnemonic ‘Brews’ f13r VG enlargement

Having concluded that the group of plants shown on f.13r came from the Musaceae  –  and thus agreeing (as I learned months later) with Edith Sherwood, I’d meanwhile been puzzled by the form given the root and even more the side-shoots’.

f28r Ensete VG enlargment

f.28r Ensete VG enlargement

Other folios given this type of root – more or less –  included f.28r which I identify as the Ensete. I’ll post its analysis  next.

f21v

f 21v Hops VG enlargement

Later, Dana Scott identified f.21v  as Hops. The identification threw me, because hops is known only in the northern hemisphere, especially in Russia through to Ireland, but it seems reasonable enough and so I adopt it, bemusement notwithstanding.

Hops is an annual climber, and the bitter melon a true vine. Their leaves are also similar, but leaves are omitted as…

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Provisioning Rome with Grain – And the Workers must eat, Too!

Rachel Laudan has put up a most interesting blog on food production and distribution in ancient times, focusing on the problems of provisioning Rome; she says >

Provisioning Rome, one of the world’s largest cities, if not the largest with as many as a million people by about 55 B.C., was one of the greatest challenges of the Ancient World.

Bread was the basis of the diet, supplying most of the calories for most of the population. So getting grains, particularly wheat, into Rome was the major provisioning problem…

For most of history, travel by water where the current or the wind supplied the power was much, much cheaper than travel by land where animals (human porters, mules, oxen) provided the power. Those animals had to be fed. Even if there was a lot of grass or other food along the way, they needed grains for energy. As quartermasters from Alexander’s time to World War I knew, animals quickly went through the grains they were transporting.

Source: Rachel Laudan, What the Roman Empire Knew About Food Miles

And where was a large part of the grain destined for Rome produced?  Egypt – ‘The Gift of the Nile’ – which, during the period discussed by Rachel, was a major ‘grain colony’ administered by the Roman government.  Enormous amounts of grain were shipped from Egypt to Rome; and the ability to ship grain by water – practically from the fields in the Nile Valley to Rome itself  – was a major attraction.

How much of a producer’s fields were destined for these markets, and how much was consumed domestically? The following manuscript, written in the 3rd or 4th Century AD  (during Roman occupation of Egypt), tells us a little about local consumption (in Egypt).  It is a document recording payment in-kind – in grain – which is due to the fuller Heraklas for labors completed.

P. Mich. inv. 1507 was acquired by the University of Michigan in 1924. Source - Sheridan

P. Mich. inv. 1507 was acquired by the University of Michigan in 1924. Source – Sheridan-Order for Delivery of Wheat and Lentils.

Agathinos to Barbarus his brother, greetings.
Measure out for Heraklas the fuller [laborer],  for salary, three artabas* of wheat and two artabas of lentils.
Totals 3 artabas of wheat, 2 artabas of lentils. I have signed for . . . of wheat . . . of lentils

Source: Jennifer Sheridan Moss, ‘Order for Delivery of Wheat and Lentils,’ in Papyrological texts in honor of Roger S. Bagnall / edited by Rodney Ast, Hélène Cuvigny, Todd M. Hickey, and Julia Lougovaya.
(American Studies in Papyrology ; volume 53)

It is probable that Heraklas is an overseer of common laborers working in the fields of his brother Barbarus; we simply do not have corroborating documentation, for there is no provenance or other manuscripts related to this slip. However we can surmise that the writer and his brother would have been subject to taxes, paid (often) in grain to colonial representatives of Rome located in Alexandria.  In this way, the administration of Rome worked to assure supplies of grain to the capital – a strategy that ultimately contributed to a near-collapse of Egyptian agriculture.

More about these and related events to come in later blogs.

* artaba – dry measure used in ancient Egypt, equal to approximately 27.13 liters.

Posted in Alexander the Great, Colonial, Colonialism, Egypt-Ancient, Food, Graeco-Roman era, History-Ancient | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Six things about Sekhemka

dianabuja:

Excellent write-up about the history of the sale of Sekhemka –

Originally posted on Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper:

left side

1. It’s beautiful

The best analysis of the statue is by TGH James. An Egyptologist at the British Museum, he described it in full, for the first time, in 1963, after someone had tipped him off about it (“The Northampton statue of Sekhemka”, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 49, 5–12).

According to James, the man is identified by an inscription on the base beside his left foot (“Inspector of scribes of the house of the master of largess, one revered before the great god, Sekhemka”). By his right foot sits Sitmeret (“She who is concerned with the affairs of the king, one revered before the great god, Sitmeret”). She is carved, it seems, as a real woman, her left arm wrapped affectionately behind Sekhemka’s right leg, the hand protruding below his knee – the other half, as it were, of his identity. No relationship is described, but James felt “the intimate…

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The Dry Season in Burundi – Time to Celebrate! II of III (Rural Notables – An Engagement, Pt.ii)

dianabuja:

This is the second part of the blog on Rural Notables – the celebration that took place after all of the food preparation took place, as discussed in the past blog of this series.

Dao, father of the groom-to-be, gives the dowry to Omer, father of the bride-to-be, in a traditional basket.

Deo, father of the groom-to-be, gives the dowry to Omer, father of the bride-to-be, in a traditional basket.

Originally posted on DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture:

Revised 12 July 2014

After all of the food had been prepared and the entertainment arranged for  Yvonne’s engagement party, it was time for the guests to arrive and the celebration to begin.

Links to sauteed ndagala (whitebait) recipe that was prepared for the engagement feast is given at the end of the blog.

Evonne's younger sister, Elianne, is dressed in her new smock and with a cousin is coming with a traditional basket of beans for the newly-engaged couple
Yvonne’s younger sister, Elianne, is dressed in her new smock and with a cousin is coming with a traditional basket of beans for the newly-engaged couple

The guests have been seated in a large, open-front tent made of wooden poles and plastic sheeting.  Then, Yvonne is brought in by a group of women relatives who clap and sing that she is going to be a happy bride &c.  In spite of joyful songs and urging, Evonne hangs her head and moves very slowly, as part of the ceremony she is showing her sadness at leaving her own…

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The Dry Season in Burundi – Time to Celebrate! II of III (Rural Notables – An Engagement)

dianabuja:

Second of the series about dry weather celebrations in Burundi, Part I is found here -The Dry Season in Burundi – Time to Celebrate! I of III (The Poor).  This entry is about preparations for a large engagement. A recipe for the main dish is also included.

Members of the village drummers' society come to visit and perform.

Members of the village drummers’ society come to visit and perform.

Originally posted on DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture:

When Yvonne, the daughter of my cook/paravet,  became engaged to one of our staff, a huge celebration was organized in the compound.  During this ceremony a dowry is given to the future bride’s family by the future groom’s family and if accepted, then the marriage can be planned.

Below are photos and descriptions of the event, together with the following recipe, which is given at the bottom of the blog. >

Sombé – Manioc Leaves & Goat Meat in a Hot Sauce

Evonne, on left, with her father behind her and future father-in-law standing at the extreme right. Her sister, brothers and a cousin are next to her.

Yvonne, on left, with her father behind her and future father-in-law standing at the extreme right. Her sister, brothers and a cousin are next to her.

About thirty family members from upcountry came down a few days before the event to help with preparations of the feast that would take place.  Since Omer, Yvonne’s father, is a cook, he supervised the cooking and organized the kitchen work according to different…

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The Dry Season in Burundi – Time to Celebrate! I of III (The Poor)

dianabuja:

As the dry season ingratiates itself with us here in central Africa, it is time to revisit several posts about marriages and related celebrations that are held during this season in Burundi.

Below is the first of three blogs, on poor – middling – and richer folk and their celebrations and activities that are organized during the dry season.  Though it is to be stressed, that ‘poor’ in the context here, in the rural village, is relatively well off.

Tarsus and his bride with his good friend just after their wedding in Bujumbura Rural.  Being serious in ceremonial photos is necessary.

Tarsus (right) and his bride with his good friend and his bride just after their wedding in Bujumbura Rural. Being serious in ceremonial photos is necessary.  Tarsus told me that wearing sunglasses added a touch of celebration to the wedding, as did the white cotton gloves of the men.

Originally posted on DIANABUJA'S BLOG: Africa, The Middle East, Agriculture, History and Culture:

Watusi cattle in the Thoiry zoo.

Image via Wikipedia

Recipe at the end of this blot > sautéed Ndagala (whitebait) in tomato sauce.

July and August are the months of engagements and marriages in Burundi and these are almost always accompanied by feasts that are as lavish as the families can organize.

This is the first of 3 blogs on the topic and a celebratory recipe will be given at the end of the blogs.

Why July and August?  First, we have  two ‘seasons’ – wet and dry.  Temperatures vary more between night and day than they do between wet and dry seasons, although there is higher humidity during the rainy months, from mid-September through May or June, than there is during the dry season, from approximately June through September.

In the middle of the rainy season – December/January – there is also a ‘little’ dry season, following which certain crops can be planted. …

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