Hausa -Fulani Hawan Angonci – Groom Mount
This is an extract from Buhari and Hauwa’s wedding which took place in Kano on the 6th of January, 2018.
Hawan Angonci (literally the Groom Mount) is a modern horse-riding performance reminiscent of the ancient royal Durbar of traditional Hausa society.
In contemporary Hausa-Fulani society, it is mainly performed upon a wedding ceremony in a family with ties to the Emir’s palace, either through the groom, and especially so, or through either of the spouses’ parents. However, people with no royal connections whatsoever often organize the spectacle these days, to revelry and fun.
The hawa (literally mount) is typically scheduled for the early evening of the wedding fatiha or anytime in the following days as contingency may cause (for example rain could cause delays). Usually, the hawa heralds the conveyance of the bride to her groom’s family house (the extended family compound, which could be his parents’ or grandparents’ residence).
Typical participants in the hawa are the groom and his friends. The custom is executed strictly while the riders don traditional-royalty apparels. The groom makes sure to stand out both in his attires, appearing like the emir in alkyabba, a flowing open gown with golden embroidery, and kupta (overcoat), and in terms of positional prominence among the team. His friends dress in gare or babban riga with turbans.
Often, the best man and one or two other friends wear the same colour as the groom himself. They all wear the pangarde (royal shoe). The overall symbolism here is to glorify the act of getting married and liken the man who has just wedded to a King.
The horse is donned in its own costume as well, with accessories like the pangami (horseshoe) made by the best farrier, dan goshi (a decorative metal place on the forehead) nanami (a rope tied around the mouth) linzami (tack) e.t.c., all made by the best craftsmen.
The groom hires or borrows if he doesn’t have one, the healthiest possible stallion for the event, which receives excellent grooming in the days leading to the event.
In ancient Hausa societies, as noted earlier, hawan angonci was strictly a royal family event which took place in the Palace and ended in the groom’s family house where the groom’s father welcomed the groom back and they proceeded to the next event which is budan kai (unveiling of the bride).
With modernity hawan angonci no longer represents royalty alone, but even more significantly, pomp, power, wealth and prestige. In a way the hawan angonci by the wealthy citizens symbolises the groom becoming king in his home.
The difference between the ancient hawan angonci and the modern is that in modern practice, participants often have no business with the palace or the tradition of welcoming back the groom by his father. Also, they ride ordinary around state capitals or towns, not riding in the palace.
In all, hawan angonci marks a rite of passage, as the groom bids farewell to bachelorhood (or as the case may be, to having just one, two, or three wives) and welcomes into his life a new Queen to accompany him on the next leg of life.
Article contributed by: Aisha Firdausi Bashir