The kitchen party is a pre-marital female tradition in many sub-equatorial African countries. Much like a bachelor party, it concerns the person getting married and their immediate circle of friends and colleagues. Kitchen parties are radically different from the western world's stag nights and bachelor parties, though. Whereas the objective of a bachelor party is to "say goodbye" to being unmarried, the aim of the kitchen party is to endow the wife with all the necessary qualities and material things she needs to be a proper wife to the man she is marrying.
Kitchen parties are strictly off limits for men. While they are not held in secret, the women in charge make sure that no men stay around for the party and that none come in during it. This allows the people attending to be frank to each other about marriage, womanhood, sex and everything that the bride may have questions about. She is given a wealth of information from her peers who already have experience in the matter, and she is expected to incorporate it all to herself.
Each woman invited to the party is expected to bring a gift to aid the bride to please her husband. These gifts can range from a cookbook and advice on cooking to appliances such as a meat grinder or pots and pans. Many of these gifts will concern cooking and housework, from which the party derives its name.
During the ceremony itself, the bride is expected to sit quietly with her head covered. Older women perform music and dance around her, and she is expected to not join in but sit almost morose. This is, however, a mere facade, a function of tradition. The bride is even expected to have difficulties controlling herself, but retaining one's composure is considered a sign of a prepared wife.
The party lasts well into the night, with food and ample drink served regularly. The dances can indeed turn quite wild, though there are only women present. Being invited to a kitchen party is an honour, especially for a foreigner, as the traditions are revered and only close friends are asked to attend.