Courtship is a period in a relationship between engagement and marriage. At this time, those in relationship are getting to know each other.
In this article, we are going to look at courtship in the Meru community - one of the 47 communities in the Kenya.
Though time has passed and humans have revolved with civilization, courtship in the Meru community is still a family or a communal affair.
In this community, a young man became legible for marriage after being initiated into adulthood - after circumcision and serving as a warrior.
After serving the community in the war, the young man was required to return home with livestock, women and young girls. These women would then be married to the community's elders. It was a taboo for a warrior to touch a woman who had been taken as a captive during the war. This would allow for maintenance of heterogeneity in the community.
A man was supposed to identify a woman to marry before initiating the first contact with her. The woman the man chose was not supposed to be a relative. To ensure the lady was not related to the man, the elders were consulted to verify the suitability of the girl for marriage.
After identifying the woman, the man was supposed to introduce himself and request the lady if he could pay her a visit at their home. He could only make the visit if the lady also admires him.
During the visit, the man is to go along with a friend, who will speak on his behalf while trying to convince the lady's parents on why he want their daughter. While the friend is doing the convincing work, the man should be very courteous and show good manner before the lady's family. While displaying good manners to the lady and her family, the man is not allowed to portray any sign of weakness.
Any time the man visited the lady at their home, he was required to plan a spear in front of her hut and cough to call for attention. After that, the lady would then come out to receive him. During the visits, he was also supposed to carry gifts for the lady as a sign of engagement.
He man was also supposed to buy gifts for his in-laws to be - a sign of asking for permission to court their sister. When the lady's siblings started referring to the man as one of them, it would show he had been accepted in the homestead hence he could then be allowed to marry the lady.
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