ICILANGA MULILO: A fascinating wedding tradition of Bemba People in Zambia

Africa’s biggest facts brand and the world’s most up-to-date facts platform ‘Africa Facts Zone’ has shared a video of North-Eastern country Zambia. In the video shared a lady who is a newly bride can be seen cooking for her in-laws.

Indeed, she was following a ritual in which a bride has to cook for her in-laws, so they can taste her food before she marries their son.

This Zambian tradition is known as ‘Icilanga Mulilo’ and is practiced by the Bemba People. Bemba people belongs to a large group of Bantu people, who are primarily found in the Northern, Luapula, Muchinga and the Northern Central Province of Zambia.

Bemba People entered the Zambia province before 1740 by crossing the Luapula River from Kola.  Considerably, several other ethnic groups in the northern and Luapula regions of Zambia speak languages which are similar to Bemba but originates from different regions.

The Bemba people are not actually indigenous to Copperbelt Province, they have arrived there during the 1930s due to employment opportunities in copper mining.

In the tradition, where the bride in Bemba people of Zambia has to cook for her in-laws before the wedding, an anecdote follows where a lady and her family once prepared forty meals for their in-laws.

The tradition, known with the name ‘Icilango Mulilo’ means ‘showing of fire’ when translated in English.

A popular digital content creator Elijah K. Samuel Kirichu also shared the video and said that during the ceremony, the bride-to-be and her family cooks different meals or cuisines.

At the same time, the bride and the women helping her in cooking, mainly the dress wrappers of the same colour. After done with the cooking, the food is then taken to the groom’s family and this is accompanied by dancing.

The main purpose of the ceremony is to introduce the groom-to-be, to the different foods prepared by the bride’s family. Whilst the tradition, is a major part of the wedding process among the Bemba People.

post shared by Sentimental Foodie on 'X'
post shared by Sentimental Foodie on ‘X’

Another digital content creator Sentimental Foodie has shared on his ‘X’ account the same video and captioned, “Maybe I’m oldskool, but when did brides start wearing make-up and those silly outfits when cooking? By the way, I’m married to Bemba woman.

Sentimental Foodie is an account of passionate Gen X Foodie, who is a coffee lover, a tech geek and an amateur photographer and also an history buff. The foodie loves Zambian food and is keen on learning other food cultures.