This Zambian wedding tradition has a bride cooking over 40 meals for the groom


In Zambia, food is used to bond families and elucidate the popular sentiment that food is a way to man’s heart.

This ceremony introduces the husband to foods made by the bride’s family. Icilanga Mulilo directly translates to the “showing of fire”.

The bride and her family will prepare the food for Ichilanga Mulilo. In the Eater magazine, a Zambian bride said she and her family cooked over 40 meals.

A lot of meals are cooked [Facebook]

Before the marriage, the man was not permitted to eat with his in-laws, therefore the occasion was a way to overcome food taboos between a groom and his in-laws.


He had the opportunity to sample the dishes that his bride’s family prepared through the food ceremony, almost like a welcome to the family party.


The meal being presented to the groom and his friends [Eater]

Once the meal has arrived at the groom’s house, the bride’s friends, her instructor, and her drummers greet the groom and groom’s friends in a song that might be loosely translated to mean, “We have brought the food cooked on the fire,“. The groom’s side then expresses gratitude by placing cash on a chitenge (a type of fabric). The bride’s instructor introduces each dish to the groom while her group of women sing and drum.

The bride’s family doesn’t depart until every meal has been explained. The occasion is a chance for families to come together and spend time together as the two sides come together before the big day. It was designed as a transparent glimpse into the kinds of meals a groom should expect his wife to cook for him.


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