My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding

Counting down to the big day

A Tale of Three Showers: Part 2

on July 28, 2012

There is a bittersweet thing about doing a destination wedding in Jamaica.

Sweet: You’re going on a vacation to Jamaica, you’re getting married on a beach, right?

Bitter: So many of your friends and family will not be able to attend for a host of reasons like financial, work-related, family commitments, and health.

Two of my close friends Denise and Marla will not be able to attend my destination wedding.  (Although, we all have “held out” for seat sales and surprises.)  I realized early on that I wanted to do a special intimate shower with my friends.  This was a perfect task for my honourary bridesmaid Njeri.  Over iced tea at Starbuck’s, I asked Njeri if she could co-ordinate a smaller shower for me and my friends.  I had a couple of requests: close to the water, making something together as a group, and having something to take with me.  Njeri took it and ran away with it.  The result: a beautiful moment shared with my dear friends.

They packed a nice picnic lunch for me and we headed over the Toronto Centre Island at dusk.  This was also a special treat since Marla was in from out of town.  She recently passed the bar and accepted her first job as a lawyer.  We had a beautiful dinner and shared words of advice and best wishes.  We also made charming waist beads.  The waist bead tradition originates from West Africa where women wore waist beads for centuries.  Still today, I know plenty an African sister who wears her waist beads and never removes them.  After searching the internet, I found different meanings for the waist beads.

Possibly how the original waistbeads were worn

A modern take on waistbeads

On one site, I learned:

The beads were symbolic of Mother Nature’s initiation of a young girl – the first menses. Some say the beads  may have  been used as an anchor about which  the monthly  cloth was wound similar to the old style sanitary napkin belt.  The menses was the beginning of  the reproductive cycle of womanhood and admitted young girls into the lodge of female mysteries.  

All over Africa beads were money, a successful suitor would commission a set of beads for the waist, ankles, arms, wrists  and neck of his bride.  These beads formed the foundation of her personal wealth. In matriarchial socities it was the man who offered his bride  and her family *gifts*.  In a patriarchy the  onus was reversed as the woman’s family  was the one who offered the male a  substantial *dowry*.

Or on this site, I learned:

Traditionally worn under clothes by African women, waist beads have several different meanings. Ranging from rites of passage, to enticing your husband to healing and rejuvenation.

In West Africa, waist beads have several names.; Jel-Jelli, Jigeda, Giri-Giri, Djalay Djalay or Yomba. They’re always worn under clothes. In Ghana women knew that waist beads helped form their body into a particular shape and adult women wear beads to sexually stimulate the male. In other parts of West Africa, women would wear waist beads with bells on them, and when they walked it would make a jingling noise. Dipping them in oil scented the beads.

We stayed for a few hours until the mosquitoes started to make us their dinner and it was too dark to work.  We moved from their and finished our work at another location.

A beautiful meal of Barbequed Tofu, my favourite dish, from One Love.

Ducks played close to the inlet where we had our dinner.

Marla and a sliver of Denise prepping the table for dining.

I’m makin’ my waist beads.

The lovely beads

A box to keep them all.

Thanks Njeri for coordinating this with everyone!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: