it all started in january while aldo and i were walking around Maputo on a saturday morning.
on another post i will explain what exactly that means, but now it’s just to let you know how one italian and one portuguese end up in a mozambican wedding, while in the famous capulana shop, Casa Elefante. when you walk into this shop you imediately look up, you are swallowed by four huge walls filled up until the top with various colors, drawings and sizes of capulanas. i love this store, even knowing that it’s where they are most expensive. i have found cheaper and better quality places, but in the begginning this is the spot.
while we were there chosing a few different ones to make my summer clothes, which i have yet to show it off to you, i was telling aldo out loud how i had no idea how the women in the typical villages’ weddings wear them when this young chubby woman grabs the capulana i had in my hand and throws it on me, ties it around my waist and says “eishhh assim tá beeemm!” (translation: “ecco fatto” or “there you go” with a moz accent, which means making vowels as long as you can.
while i was in shock of having a stranger “dress” me up as a married woman, yes because capulanas are worn or should be worn by married women on top of their clothes, almost as a apron but with a much symbolic attitude, i had my arms up in order to give her space to “do her thing” and she kept saying that i was very pretty and looked very nice with it on. it felt wonderful and aldo was enjoying it too. at some moment i told her that it was useless to teach me because i would forget how to do it and i would never go to a mozambican wedding, seeing i didn’t have, yet, mozambican friends who would get married anytime soon for me to use her teachings… to which she responded “come to my wedding!” (again apply a moz accent otherwise it’s no fun), “you’re getting married” i asked, “yes” she said “in june!” …”six months from now? that’s too far, where will it be?” she simply said “it will be in Xai-xai beach, give me your number and i’ll call you then to send you the invitation!”. i really wanted to go so i, for the first time in my life, gave a stranger my phone number and said our goodbyes. leaving the shop our separate ways. aldo and i secretly hope she wouldn’t forget, but were a bit scared we might regret it.
we went on with our lives… until the 29th of may, i get a call, amazing as it seems it was the last call i ever received on my mcel phone number, just minutes before i officially changed into my now vodacom number, i answered not recognizing the number and asked as usual “who the hell are you?” in my suspicious voice.
“olá!!! it’s lucinda, i have your invitation here, please come and get it!” huh? “huh?” i asked, “it’s lucinda, don’t you want to go to my wedding and get a capulana?” the girl had actually remembered me!!! us!!!! and the fact that i wanted to get a capulana, as is custom to give the married women who you invite to your wedding (sush, i know i’m not married!!). “are you sure?” she didn’t even want to hear me, she told me to go to her office, she works at the Barclay’s Bank in Av. 24 de Julho in Maputo and get my invitation. i went. i loved seeing her again, this time feeling as if we were friends. i can’t lie, i was a bit shocked and afraid of how we’d look in a traditional mozambican wedding, but it was still 4 weeks away and we had time to run if we needed.
we didn’t. if you ever get the chance, don’t run, stay and live this moment like no other! it was fun, lovely, emotional, cute, amazing and so much fun!!! KEEP THEM COMING I TELL YA!
as acustomed as we are, we left Maputo already late, with me wishing i had stayed in bed, where it was warm and cuddly and nothing to do (well, i could think of a few things to do), and because of our being late we arrived in Xai-xai one hour after she was supposed to get in church… oops… plus it was so lost in the middle of the poorest town we’d ever visited that i got lost twice and had to be escorted by the town’s children. and finally arrived. surprise, surprise, we were the only white people, and aldo nowadays is even hard to tell, but i was for sure the whitest! everyone was looking at us, up and down wondering how the heck we got there and what for. we went straight to the bride and believe me when i say this, she was soooooo happy to see us. almost as a dear friend would after a long time apart. it felt so wonderful to see her smile and introduce us to people as her friends from Maputo.
other people just introduced us as “mulungo maputo!” which literally means “white people from maputo!” i loved it! i had never been watched or looked at so much in my life and i knew it wasn’t because of my beautiful dress, it was literally of how white i am. for the first time in my entire life, i was part of a race. proud to be white!!! lol
she was literally out of the church so we followed her and her family and guests to her family’s house to make the little ritual of her departure from her original family. everyone gathers around her and her family and celebrates the fact that she is leaving home, and her mother and father. my god, i can’t even start describing the singing of how amazing it was. (i’ll try to put it on this post, otherwise close your eyes and imagine), the chorus was lovely and the women were very happy receiving each one (me included) the traditional capulana the bride offers her married women guests… i got one! beautiful. but i left it at her house by mistake and when she comes back from her honeymoon (i think…) we’ll have lunch and dinner aat our place to exchange things.
the next step was driving to the beach of Xai-xai, right on it and enter the Halley Hotel (hotel is too big a description) and assist the Civil Marriage, yes this time we were there hearing it loud and clear “i do”. after that it was off to the room next door for the party. and what a party.
it’s completely different from what i had ever seen. they cut the cake right away as a simbolic gesture, then she dances for him. apparently if the bride dances for the groom he will know what he can expect! it’s hilarious, because it almost seemed like a striptease dance with all clothes on!
noone really started conversations with me aldo and we didn’t either, mainly because you have no idea who speaks well portuguese and who can only speak in changana, and as much as i can already say a bit to our coffee lady at the office, it’s not enough to talk at a wedding. so when the music started, marrabenta, it was our gateway to making friends. we started by just circuling the dance floor watching the bride who insisted on talking to me over the loudest music and over the people who wanted to hug her, i smiled, she laughed and talked and we agreed to pretend we got it.
people were moving. the women looked as if they wanted sex, and the men watched with a few really good moves. to dance marrabenta you need a good move, a nice ass and boobs to match it, i’ve got none of these so i tried my best, aldo even danced passada with me, which basically is a dance of two glued together bodies, and we got a lot, and i repeat A LOT of compliments!!! we danced ’til we droped and it felt great.
we even decided in the end to sleep at a friends place in Xai-xai in order to not miss too much of the wedding instead of driving to Chokwe, 2 hours away and closer to the orphanage. it was worth it. we loved it and this only means that…
i loved my first mozambican wedding and i really want more!
(this is dedicated to all the girls, Sofia, Rita and Francesca whose weddings i’ll be missing this year… )