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CULTURE TUESDAYS

Marriage
in Igboland is not just an affair between the future husband and wife but also
involves the parents, the extended family and villages. First the groom asks
his potential partner to marry him. Assuming that this is affirmative, the
groom will visit the bride’s residence accompanied by his father. The groom’s
father will introduce himself and his son and explain the purpose of his visit.The bride’s father welcomes the guests, invites his daughter to come and asks
her if she knows the groom. Her confirmation shows that she agrees with the
proposal. Then the bride’s price settlement (Ika-Akalika) starts with the groom
accompanied by his father and elders visiting the bride’s compound on another
evening.

They
bring wine and kola nuts with them, which are presented to the bride’s father.
After they have been served with a meal, the bride’s price is being negotiated
between the fathers. In most cases there is only a symbolic price to be paid
for the bride but in addition other prerequisites (kola nuts, goats, chicken,
wine, etc.) are listed as well. Usually it takes more than one evening before
the final bride’s price is settled, offering guests from both sides a glamorous
feast.

Another evening is spent for the
 payment of the bride’s price at the bride’s compound when the groom’s family
 hands over the money and other agreed prerequisites. The money and goods are
 counted, while relatives and friends are served drinks and food in the
 bride’s compound. After all is settled, the traditional wedding day is
 planned. The wedding day is again at the bride’s compound, where the guests
 welcome the couple and invite them in front of the families. First the bride
 goes around selling boiled eggs to the guests, showing to both families that
 she has the capability to open a shop and make money. Then, the bride’s
 father fills a wooden cup (Iko) with palm wine and passes it on to the girl
 while the groom finds a place between the guests. It is the custom for her to
 look for her husband while being distracted by the invitees. Only after she
 has found the groom, she offered the cup to him and he sipped the wine, the
 couple is married traditionally. During this ceremony, there is also the
 nuptial dance where the couple dances, while guests wish the newlyweds
 prosperity by throwing money around them or putting bills on their forehead.

Nowadays, church wedding follows
traditional marriage. During this ceremony, the bride’s train, made up of the
bride followed by her single female friends, enters the church dancing on the
music, while the guests bless the bride’s train by throwing money over the
bride and her entourage. The groom receives the bride at the altar for the
final church blessing by the priest. Sometimes, the traditional marriage is
combined with the reception that is then preceded by the church ceremony.

Be sure to click the link above to watch a video of a traditional Igbo wedding!

-Description taken from http://www.igboguide.org/HT-chapter11.htm

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