‘Show the fire’: A Zambian wedding tradition explained

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Travel writer Mazuba Kapambwe-Mizzi prepares a special meal for the groom as part of the Zambian wedding tradition known as ichilanga mulilo. Photo courtesy of Mazuba Kapambwe-Mizzi.

When Mazuba Kapambwe-Mizzi was planning her wedding in her native country of Zambia, ichilanga mulilo was a part of the celebrations. The phrase translates to "show the fire" in Bemba and it typically happens a week before the actual wedding ceremony. The women in the Bride's family arrive at the groom's house with a buffet of food, showing off and explaining the delicacies they've brought. She describes the food (including a symbolic whole chicken), invitees, and ceremony in her piece for Eater.

The bride inspects every meal before it is delivered to the groom including roasted groundnuts and cassava. Photo courtesy of Mazuba Kapambwe-Mizzi.

The bride (right) cooks a nshima (a bleached corn) in a large pot. Photo courtesy of Mazuba Kapambwe-Mizzi.