Marriage Ceremony almost the final stage among the Kalenjin called "Ratet," means" the tying." It occurs just after dark in the house of the bridegroom's mother (or his own house if he has one, i.e.if already married), where relations of both parties sit talking very quietly round a small pot of beer decorated with "Korosek " (sacred plants) from which the guests drink through long tubes some 8 or 10 feet, long. The principal old man of the "Kokwet"or social unit sits on the east of the fire, and a large ox-skin is placed on the opposite side for the bride and bridegroom to sit. Presently the bride is heard arriving, for she usually wears at her waist the virgin's bell-not always of course. She is conducted by her father and mother and perhaps also brothers and sisters. There is no space for all the details (which I have seen many times), the ceremony lasting some two or three hours. Suffice it to say they first sit in arow opposite the officiating elder. Plaits of a certain grass (segutyet)are made and anointed with butter and the bride and bridegroom,sitting side by side, each ties on the wrist of the other a bracelet of segutyet while the elder chants blessings, asking happiness, prosperity and many children for the pair. The four principals, carrying in their hands bouquets of the leaves of the "Karasek" of their clan, form a procession going round the beer poot under an arch of beer tubes, and then outside and round the "mabwayta " each four times. The "mabwayta" corresponds to an altar and always stands on the east side of the house (comparable with "Njor" the eastern side of the house,
We see here several items reminiscent of the European marriage,viz. the officiating elder exhorting and blessing the pair, the best man,the bridesmaid, the bouquets, and finally the mutual bracelet on the other's wrist, which seems to respond to the European ring.
It is interesting to note. that the man does not only tie the girl,but each ties the other, which is surely some evidence that marriage is not the one,sided purchase that some are apt to suppose
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