Preparing To Walk Down The Aisle: The traditional Nigerian Wedding

Traditional wedding is an African theatrical display of Romeo and Juliet. Only that, it is a jolly affair embedded with deep symbolic actions and symbolic gifts too.

However, going to make known ones intentions bearing gifts to the bride’s family is one, discussing the time the main event

will take place is another inclusive of the list given to the groom’s family to provide at the next meeting.

So the main traditional union of boy meets girl that seals the deal between these two, called Igbankwu, for the Igbo’s

or Fitihah in Hausa and Igbeyawo in Yoruba. It is here that the disparity begins to arise.

For the Yoruba Wedding

Igbeyawo just like others is done with deep-rooted meaning and calculated intention. The engagement for the Yoruba

is an essential part of the union which is mostly spearheaded by the Alaga taking the role of the MC with her poise

and sense of humor she drives the smooth running of the event being a traditional custodian to ensure that

all is done in the right manner.

Preparing To Walk Down The Aisle: The traditional Nigerian Wedding

Like dance drama with lots of symbolic actions in between the entrance of the groom begins the rich cultural display

as he dances in flanked by his friends as they all humbly prostates in respect and honor before his in-laws then

the second prostrate he does alone which comes with showers of prayers from his in-laws.

The Yoruba mode of tradition is stagy in every way, like sitting down and watching a live performance at the theatre as

two love birds become one. You have the writing of letter by the groom to the bride which is read out for all to hear

as well as the bride ready with her response in form of a letter too, these actions are done by delegates from

the bride and grooms family.

For the Igbo Wedding

The Yoruba and the Hausa brides have semblance with having the bride’s face veiled and is later unveiled

at the right time during the ceremony by the appropriate persons, a system that is not done by the Igbo’s at

“Igba nkwu”. But the dramatic display of the Igbankwu is mainly with the bride seeking her groom;

she graciously dances to the delight of her guests as she carries palm wine in a gourd cup in search of

her husband in the crowd while having other eligible bachelors trying to draw her attention their way.

The gods of the land are present in spirit and are represented through the Umunna who come out in mass

to give out their daughter in marriage.

Preparing To Walk Down The Aisle: The traditional Nigerian Wedding

More Wedding Tradition

The use of Asoebi; a borrowed Yoruba word is used to coordinate colors at the event and to differentiate

the bride’s family from the groom’s family. It is a colorful coordinated traditional attire worn by families and friends.

The listed ethnic groups all adopt this color scheme pattern in their arrangement especially white which has found its

way in the heart of many Yoruba wedding settings accompanied though by other colors. Another is the list.

Everyone has a list from the bride’s family.

This can be monetized if need be and can also be bargained. The list includes foods items and drinks with the

list varying from one tribe to another. The Yorubas’ have on their list a fruit basket for the bride with the

significant presence of the pineapple with represents patience and resilience. While the Igbos cannot

begin their celebration without the breaking of the kola nut as it is said “he who brings kola nut brings life”.

Do you know that the disparity does not end at the traditional union of the bride and groom? As for the Igbos who are

known for Omugwo, this tradition juxtaposes the Yoruba’s belief as the groom’s mother is the one who takes care of

her daughter-in-law after when she gives birth unlike the case of Igbo customs.

For the Hausa Wedding

Yet again the Igbo and Yoruba are more exorbitant to arrange for the elaborate nature of both whereas the

Hausa is oftentimes simple and easier to handle though theirs is primarily guided by the principles of Islam.

Preparing To Walk Down The Aisle: The traditional Nigerian Wedding

Interestingly, the exchange of vows is done by proxy and not by the bride and grooms themselves.

Perfume is an element used by the Hausas’ which does not feature at Igbankwu or Igbeyawo.

The traditional wedding is a test of the man’s capability to take care of his wife and family and family which

many of the gifts showered and the actions carried out metaphorically represent.

By Taiyelolu A

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