Igbo traditional marriage is one of the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo, a tribe in West African Sub-region. The exquisite culture of the Igbo is extolled in their traditional marriage ceremonies.
Campusaga Media was at Nnokwa, Idemili South, Anambra State, Nigeria for event coverage of the traditional marriage between Ifeoma Vivian Onwuagba and Chukwuemeka Emmanuel Nwajiobi. The successful marriage brings Igbo traditional marriage in focus.
Marriage is an institution world over, but very serious and special in Igbo because of the revered families and cultural ties that are involved
Getting Married in Igbo
Getting married in Igbo involves serious stages of engagement both for the bride and groom to be and the parents:
Getting one you think you love.
Each party informs the parents.
Upon acceptance, the groom to introduce himself to the parents of the bride to be.
The enquiries begin ( both parents enquire about the other family and lineage. The importance of this is to ensure a credible reputation of each of the family).
Upon satisfaction, the groom to be with his parents visits the bride with her parents. The visit ensures that the groom’s parent are in support of his intention.
Enquires continue after the visit, the bride and groom to interact freely, now is the serious courtship. There is no limit for how long this will last before the bride price and traditional marriage or both. As soon as they ensure compatibility, then more commitment and engagement.
List of commitment is handed over to the groom. These commitments are fulfilled before or on traditional marriage. And upon fulfilment and satisfaction, the traditional marriage is the event to follow.
Earlier the bride price is done separately, and still now in some areas, but as well, it can be done during the traditional marriage.
The invitation to Umunna ( the kindred of the groom and the bride). Both kindred must interact and confirm that all necessary rites were fulfilled before they are pronounced husband and wife. The invitation is extended to other relations, friends and well-wishers to be a witness on the traditional marriage.
The traditional marriage ceremony takes place at the bride’s ancestral home town. This is usually done before the church wedding or the court. Without traditional marriage, there will be no court or church wedding in Igbo.
These were the mandatory steps that Chukwuemeka and Ifeoma fulfilled before the event on Saturday, February 15, 2020.
The highlight of the traditional marriage was the arrival of the guests, the groom and his kindred. There comes the observance of tradition and culture.
The observance of tradition and culture ensure that all the items in the list of commitment are fulfilled.
When the two kindreds are on the same page with all the requirements, the bride makes the first appearance. The significance according to Nnokwa’s tradition is to ensure the groom and his family truly know who they come to marry. When they affirm she is the bride. She makes the second appearance.
The second appearance is for her to also confirm that she truly accept that she wants to marry the groom. She takes wine to him, he drinks and they go for first marriage blessings before the bride’s father.
When the bride appears for the third time, in a dance with little brides, maidens and friends, the groom dances with her in celebration and they receive the final prayers and blessings from the bride’s father. The dance continues with other merriment in celebration of the union.
Finally both kindred commune in prayers with the exchange of kola nuts.
The bride goes home with the husband and the family.
The event was colourful with amazing decoration by the Jenny Royal Bridals, Nnokwa. The props of the decoration caught the attention of Campusaga media to know what they represent.
The symbolism of the hut in green leaves is life and growth of the marriage.
The calabash represents the palm wine that is used earlier for traditional marriage in Igbo. The palm wine till date is a must item on the list of commitment to be fulfilled by the groom.
Jenny Royal Bridal told Campusaga Media that the lanterns hung on the green hut represent light unto the marriage, and darkness will never besiege the union.
The mirrors are the mutual image observance for the continual growth of love in the union.
The basket in Igbo is for food. It shows the marriage will never lack an abundance of food which is the first step for wealth.
The event was quite a special feature.