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 on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, a favorite locale for weddings, engagements, and other celebrations.
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 the second looked at rural notables. Some background, from the first blog:
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. . .
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. It is during this long dry season that most celebrations take place.
The second reason that celebrations take place during July and August: The dry season is a time to relax a bit, to enjoy the fruits of the harvest, and to put away money from the crops for important expenses – especially education of the children – and also for celebrations, especially engagements and marriages.
It is also a time for making sorghum beer and banana wine, which especially for women in rural areas are important money-earners – indeed, most people have their favorite producer of these beverages. Sorghum beer is traditionally consumed as part of engagement or wedding ceremonies.
More on the Urban Elite Marriages >
The following wedding party paid to come and have their pictures taken at the Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika –
More elaborate weddings may include the walkways being strewn with rose petals, covered with a red carpet, and-or lined with candles, as shown in the following pictures:
A really unique wedding took place a while back. Can you guess what this is going to be?
… And this is what they were constructing –
For this spectacular wedding, dinner for over 400 was prepared and served:
Another wedding party promenading the beach – while waving to a second wedding party that is closer to the lake (out of the camera range).
Here is a menu – that was prepared in the Hotel kitchen for one of the elaborate weddings:
MENU1. Sangala à la girardet saffron cream sauce with peas 2. Supreme de volaille with dried mushrooms veloute sauce 3. Filet de bœuf with peppercorn demi glace sauce 4. Buttered honey carrots 5. Medley of broccoli and cauliflower in béchamel sauce 6. Gratin de pommes de terre 7. Almond, cardamom and Turmeric Rice 8. White rice COCKTAIL & SNACKS BEFOREHAND Chicken liver Paté with red onion marmalade on crustinis Nems filled with avocado and confit of root vegetables with apple vinaigrette Pepper and cardamom cured beef filet with aioli in profiteroles The following video of a local drumming group shows the ensemble performing for guests at an event here at the Club du Lac Tanganyika. Traditional drumming is very much a part of Burundi life – not just an event for special occasions – and needs to be seen in that fuller context. It is traditional for a little boy to be part of the group, and for an elder to lead, as seen here.
Traditional dancing is also a central feature of Burundian social life. The following video shows a group of students at Université de Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada) performing Igishakamba, a dance found in northern Burundi. Dance performances may be part of an event or just performed in one’s own area.