Update: I originally wrote this post the week after my son’s and his fiance’s engagement party last July (they have since tied the knot) but I didn’t post it before now….I took a break from the blog but I’m back and ready to share!!!!
‘You are probably asking yourself, what does “Yawo mami don ansa yes o” mean? I was too until this last weekend so let me explain but first I must set the stage….
It all started in 1986 on a hot summer day in August…….nahhhh, that’s too far back. I won’t bore you with with all of the intricate details of my oldest son’s first 26 or so years of his life but fast forward to approximately 4 years ago and we will start there. Christopher had gotten a new job at a large company and was in training. It was there that he met the woman who will become his wife this year. I remember him telling me about what was going on in training one day but followed it up (paraphrased but very close to what was said) with “there is the coolest and most beautiful girl in my training class. Her name is Doreen”. It was obvious from the first moment he spoke about her that he was smitten. As any great love story begins, they were friends first and then fell in love. Can I get a collective AWWWWWW here????
3 years later Christopher took a deep breath, went to her parents and asked for her hand in marriage……They were already living together so we were pretty confident in the answer, but at the very core of all of them, they believe in tradition. They asked all of the right questions and he gave all of the right answers, so, her parents generously gave their blessing and the planning began.
They set a wonderful Fall date for the wedding, she said “Yes to The Dress”, they registered for all of the new couple thingies (that is a very technical term in case you were wondering), booked the church, picked a reception venue, and then set a date for the engagement party. SIDE NOTE – Admittedly I am a TLC junkie and I watch any and every show that involves romance, engagements, gratuitous spending on lavish weddings, etc..etc..but no show prepared me for what I was about to experience; a “Put Stop” ceremony.
I am by no means an expert on this topic but here is what I learned. The Put Stop ceremony originated in Africa and is a present day ceremony whereby the groom’s family comes to the bride’s family to present gifts and ask for a “rose” from their garden. The bride’s family present their “roses” and the groom’s family picks one. The groom’s family presents their gifts and once the bride’s family has examined the gifts and deemed the groom’s family worthy, you hear the magic words”Yawo mami don ansa yes o!!” (I’m not sure what happens if the brides family says no because thankfully that didn’t happen for us).
I must admit that the most awkward part of the ceremony for me was the presenting of the roses. There were 3 other girls that were presented before Doreen and I get that it is just a reenactment of a time honored tradition from Africa but you essentially have to reject the first 3 girls and no one wants to tell another that they aren’t good enough but everybody took it in stride 🙂 When Doreen was presented, the energy in the room changed. I don’t really know that my description will do it justice but it went from a reenactment to a group of strong, beautiful women presenting a strong, beautiful woman to my son. These women embody beauty, strength, decades of knowledge and power, years of love and honor and everything else that is good in this world.
Once we heard the magic words – Yawo mami don ansa yes o – the entire house erupted!!!!! It was magical!!!!! There was music and dance and lots and lots of food (I could seriously eat my weight in plantains!!!)….We met her entire family and celebrated the coming together of 2 very different families and cultures and the wedding planning has begun……..
Stay tuned for wedding updates……and I must now binge watch Four Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, The Bachelor (that really doesn’t have anything to do with them but I LOVE the show) and any other show in between that has to do with weddings……
Be safe out there and be kind to one another!!!