In the Rwandan tradition, whenever a girl was old enough to get married, her aunts would prepare a ceremony and train her on how to handle her new family.
A woman is considered the heart of a Rwandan family. She needs to be well equipped to handle several chores and activities in the home. But most importantly caring for her husband.
While growing up, the boys always spent most time with their fathers or male counterparts usually grazing livestock, wrestling and dancing, drumming and going to war.
However, the times have changed and this traditional way of life in Rwanda has faded. Something new called Bridal Shower has cropped up- its imported social culture.
These days, girls ready for marriage organize for themselves a closed door event – Bridal Shower and only girls or women attend. In some situations it is only girls involved. This new culture is criticized by many people for different reasons.
Taarifa approached different people to share their thoughts on Bridal Shower and whether men should be part of it.
Kayiranga lydiane is a mother of two; she doesn’t support the idea of both the bride and groom to take part in the bridal shower.
She suggests that the couple that plans to get married should have a conversation with old couples with enough experience of marriage life.
“You know bridal shower is very feminine and the boy can’t join it to learn something, it would be bothersome for him.But if the couple could meet with other couples married for long time to help them that would be awesome,” Kayiranga told Taarifa.
Mugwaneza José 27, supports the idea of the groom to be joining the bride to be in order to advise them together.
“They should be talked to together not only the bride to be, because when you are married and you try to behave as you were trained and you find that you are making efforts alone your husband doesn’t care about that concept of understanding things in the same way,“ Mugwaneza cautions.
However, some boys disagree with the idea of them taking part in the bridal shower unless it is improved by selecting wise people to lead the conversation.
Kubwimana Nelson says that a ceremony of only 2 hours as bridal shower can’t really help to deliver enough packages to the bride to lead well her house. He suggest that the event could start earlier in order to have impact.
“A 2-hour ceremony attended by young girls? I don’t think it can help enough unless it starts earlier, and for us we don’t need this ceremony, every man who plans to get married approach a friend of him and they discuss.”
Women who have been married longer – at least more than 5 years consider it as gender discrimination if a girl is the only one who is supposed to be instructed to obey a man even though the man would be wrong.
Ange Bizimungu, a father of three says that the bride and groom should be involved because they will have to handle problems together.
“Marriage is something that can make you happy or wounded for life therefore, if girls are trained to prepare them for their new family, it should be so for boys,”He says.
Old people also support the idea that the couple should be instructed together but the big challenge is that in Rwandan society, men are considered special and deserving to be honored and valued by women.
They find it unfair because a family need both men and women, they suggest that this mindset should be changed through the government regulations because when problems occur they reach to the whole family and the couple has to handle them together not only the woman.
According to Rosette Nkundimfura [Ministry of gender and family promotion], marriage is a project of two people that has to be well planned by both (women and men) and couples should make sure that they communicate effectively before even being advised by others.
“In my opinion we can’t prepare girls alone but boys too because training only girls wouldn’t make sense, because all those advices given to the bride wouldn’t be important,” said Nkundimfura.
According to Nkundimfura, bridal shower has weaknesses as some of girls refuse to plan and save for their wedding, waiting for the support from bridal shower which is not right.
Nkundimfura says that in most divorce cases, there has been miscommunication between husband and wife because they don’t really know each other.
In her suggestion, couples should have enough time to converse sincerely to avoid surprises.
She also counsels those planning to get married to meet wise couples with enough experience and converse with them about what is really important for them for the good of their family ahead.
She also reminds those who stand for them and responsible to accompany them as their God mother and father to make sure that they follow up them after getting married because sometimes those are only seen during wedding for Photos and after they no longer appear.