How to get married in Ankole kuhingira ceremony

Bride price in Ankole has undergone many changes and innovations. But the basic guidelines are the same. It is an exchange of gifts from the families of the boy and girl to signify a new bond. Because the boy's family gains a new member, it gives more as appreciation and compensation. 

Cows and goats are the preferred gifts. Chicken, pigs and sheep are unacceptable and may be considered belittling, which can easily end the relationship. The girl's family asks for a number of cows which include the cow(s) they will sell to raise money for the gifts they have to buy for her as she starts her new home. 

These gifts are mandatory and can cause squabbles if they are fewer in value in relation to the number of cows the boy's family gave. Another cow is slaughtered (or will replace the one slaughtered) for the kuhingira function. The third is usually reserved as a gift they give whole to their daughter as she starts a new home. Thus the cows cannot be less than three, unless behind the scenes, the boy's  family agrees to forfeit the gifts. Thus if a family asks for five cows, one is for conversion into gifts (emihingiro), another for slaughtering at give away, the third is a gift for the girl at kuhingira and the remaining two are what they keep. There are a number of goats that are mandatory during the process of marriage which takes at least four stages; the introduction (okweyanjura), deciding bride price (okucwerwa ebintu), paying the bride price (okujuga) and give away (okuhingira/okuriira ebintu). Certain relatives like the aunt and uncle have to take goats.

During kuhingira the girl's family hands over the gifts and tradition requires that they are announced one by one to everybody present. Other relatives, neighbours, family friends, community leaders may also add gifts which are usually in form of cows and it is not uncommon to pay five cows in bride price and be given more than 10 as presents depending on the family's  social-economic status. 

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