Traditional Marriage Rites In Edo State, Nigeria.
Every tribe in Nigeria is unique in conducting their own traditional wedding ceremonies and this is not very different from the Edo state. if you have been seeking information on what is needed to conduct an Edo traditional marriage because you are courting an Edo girl then you do not have to worry any more as this article provides a handful of information on all you need to know about the Traditional marriage rites preparation and how it is conducted in Edo state.
The Edo state is part of the six southern states that we have in Nigeria and its capital is Benin City. The Edo state formerly was part of the Benin Empire that existed before it fell. The Edo state consists of mainly the Bini, Esan and Afemai people. We cannot examine how the Edo state tradition marriage is conducted without a proper knowledge of what a traditional marriage is.
What does a traditional marriage mean?
A traditional marriage is simply the joining of two individual (most times male and female) as couple according to the custom and tradition of the villages which they come from.
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How does the preparation begin?
The traditional marriage rites in Edo state begins by you informing your parents as a man of your intention of marrying a woman. The message is then sent to other elderly ones in the family, then they discuss with the family of the woman on the date for introduction.
The introduction is commonly referred to as “Ivbuomo” by the Edo’s which simply means “To seek a bride”. It is at this time that both families conduct investigations about the opposite family on issues like diseases, disability, mental illness and criminal acts from other trusted sources. In preparation, the groom would need to buy about 40 kolanuts or more, alcoholic drinks, palm wine, non-alcoholic drinks to give to your in laws.
There would be need for you to get a spokesman from your family (groom) who would be able to negotiate on behalf of you and your family.
The sitting arrangement of the introduction would be both families would sit opposite each other and then the bride’s family would go ahead to welcome the groom’s family. Then, the kolanuts that were brought would be broken according to the tradition. The spokesman for the groom’s family will then stand and make the purpose of the introduction open and thus present the drinks as well as the kolanuts.
The father of the bride will then go ahead to call the bride to ask her if she knows the people that came to ask for her hand in marriage and also ask if he should accept the drinks as well as the kolanuts. If she says “Yes” then the wedding would be planned but if she says “No”, the wedding would have to be cancelled. If she says ‘yes’, it is at this point that the bride’s family would accept you and your proposal and then food and drinks would be served.
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What is contained in the bridal list?
This list may vary according to the culture of either the Esan, Bini or Afemai, but a typical list according to the Edo tradition are contained with the following:
- The holy bible
- 25 liters of palm oil
- An umbrella
- One jar of palm wine
- Two bottles of schnapps
- Wrapper (6 yards and above)
- 28 tubers of yam
- Crates of malts
- Soft drinks
- Crates or cartons of beer
- One carton of wine
- One bag of salt
- Bride price ( price varies)
- Money for the mother (5,000)
- Money for the father (3,000)
- Money for men from the bride’s family (9,000)
- Money for women from the bride’s family (6,000)
- Bush meat
- 0ne Bag of rice
- One packet of sugar
How does the traditional marriage go?
After the introduction has been conducted, a date would be fixed for the traditional marriage. However, you can merge both the introduction and the traditional marriage together if you are able to financially.
The traditional marriage usually takes place in the bride’s father’s house but recently, the use of halls has been rampant being that it is not just comfortable for the guests but it provides for less after party stress for both families. The bride has to be well dressed in the Edo traditional cloth or attire. The next thing that would be done is the presentation of palm wine as well as kolanuts to the guests present and then food and drinks are presented afterwards.
It is at this point that the groom’s family will pay the bride price to the bride’s family. The groom would then be asked to identify his bride out of a troop of other younger ladies and the bride brought out by the older women from the bride’s family. If the groom successfully picks out his bride, then she is presented to his family and the ceremony is called to a close.
After the ceremony, the bride would be escorted by her family as well as her friends to her husband’s house. After the traditional marriage, the groom’s mother will then visit the home of the newly wedded couple to confirm if the wife was truly a virgin or not in strict traditional families. This would be done by the groom’s mother checking the blood stain on the bed sheet the couple first made love on.
The wife would then be presented with gift items is she was a virgin but if not, she would take an oath called the Ivihen oath
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When not to conduct an Edo traditional marriage introduction?
In the Edo tradition, it is important to note that there are days you cannot perform or conduct a traditional marriage introduction because it is forbidden. It is a Taboo to conduct traditional marriage or to pay the bride price on the market days in some villages in Edo state and this is most common among the Ekpoma area of Edo state.
You will then have to ask your bride on the days that are forbidden for her own village.