Nigeria is a big country with different languages, religions, cultures, and traditions. Nigeria is said to have 371 tribes but the main three are Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba. Weddings from all corners are commonly all-out, colorful affairs with numerous cultural intricacies.
There are multiple layers to weddings from every tribe right from the proposal. For Igbo and Yoruba people, the traditional wedding comes first, followed by a church ceremony that is often referred to as the “white wedding”. The white wedding customarily takes place in a church, but modern couples can opt for non-denominational venues.
It's universal across most Nigerian tribes for the man to provide an agreed set of items for the bride’s family before the marriage may take place, just like it is in Ghana. This is known as eru iyawo in Yoruba, rubu dinar in Hausa, or simply as the bride price.
The bride price does not indicate that a woman is being sold, but it is rather a symbolic gesture to prove that the man is capable of taking care of her and their new family financially.“This is also to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of income or labor he is extracting from the family by marrying her and taking her away,” this makes a lot of sense.
The bride price is usually a combination of cash and gifts ranging from clothes, household goods, food, and sometimes animals. The items of bride price of Nigerians are no different from that of Ghanaians.
Now let's see how the three major nigerian tribes do their traditional wedding;
When an Igbo man wishes to marry a woman, he goes with his father and other male relatives to knock on the bride's family’s door in a process called Ikuaka or “knocking.” It is normally the man’s father or uncle, who announces his intentions to marry the woman. The men come bearing gifts such as kola nuts and alcoholic beverages.
The second stage of an Igbo wedding is Ime Ego, which is the payment of the dowry or bride price. The final traditional ceremony is called Igba Nkwu or “wine carrying”. At this lively event, the bride searches for her future husband who is hiding among the crowd of men. She dances joyfully while scanning the room for him. She must correctly identify her fiancé and then offer him a cup of wine, which he must then drink from to prove he is indeed her groom. The couple is then declared married.
Traditional Yoruba weddings are large and lively with anywhere between 200 to 1,000 guests in attendance.
Yorubas have a greeting custom known as Ìdobálè whereby males prostrate, placing their full bodies on the ground as a sign of respect. The groom and his groomsmen must prostrate before the bride’s family and the chest must touch the ground completely for the greeting to be complete. It is known that “once the men prostrate on the ground, the bride’s family asks a few questions, the groom is seated and then the bride enters with her ladies who are all wearing matching aso-ebi. After this, she places a hat on the groom's head and then he carries her. This is known as Igbeyawo. He then places a ring on her finger and they are pronounced married.”
Matrimony among Hausa people begins with the payment of the bride price which is called Kayan Zander. A lower bride price is incidentally said to result in greater blessings for the couple. Once this has been paid to the bride’s family, the wedding can take place. The Fatihah is the actual wedding day where representatives from both families exchange vows before the religious priest and not the couple themselves.
Event number three, Wuni, is ladies-only. Here, the bride enjoys time with her female friends adorning their hands with henna. During Kamun Amariya the groom’s relatives then playfully negotiate with the ladies for the “release” of the bride for the reception. Finally, the bride is escorted to her matrimonial home in a process called Kai Amariya.
Yes, their ceremonies are beautiful right? Being Ghanaian means, your traditional wedding can't happen the same way unless you're marrying a Nigerian but that doesn't mean you can't dress that way.
Yes, today i bring you 6 styles of the Nigerian traditional wedding outfits you can try if you want to stand out and look different.
Are you willing to look different and try asoebi and gele instead of kente? Comment down below.
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