Traditional Marriage Rites in Igbo Land, Bridal List And All You Must know

The Igbo Traditional Wedding Ceremony (Igba Nkwu) | Marriage is a very important aspect of life. Apart from the benefits of raising children, marriage also aids companionship. 

Traditional Marriage Rites in Igbo Land

Every tribe has its own unique way of conducting its own Traditional marriage. The igbo traditional marriage in particular has alot of preparations to make. It starts From seeking consent from the bride-to-be’s extended family known traditionally as Umunna.

Traditional Marriage Rites in Igbo Land

After the first visit, the bride’s family begin investigation on the groom’s family, they check their background and history (hereditary illnesses, bad behaviors, divorce, fertility etc. are all checked). This investigation also determines the progress of the next meeting between both families as the bride’s people will then decide if the groom-to-be is good enough to take care of their daughter and their future children.

It is also assumed that groom’s family must have carried out similar investigation before the first visit.

The next meeting will be between the groom’s family (they can be as much as 20 people) and the bride’s extended family popularly known as Umunna.

This meeting is important because the groom’s people have to restate their interest in marrying from their family, they first have to give the groom their consent and the bride gives the final consent, dates for the traditional wedding will be set and bride price list will be sent out.

In Igboland, tradition states that the groom take a few gifts along (such as kola nuts, palm wine, beer, soft drinks, tobacco, snuff and a goat). This will be shared between the groom and bride’s family.

See Also: Traditional Marriage Rites in Yoruba Land, Bridal List and All Should know


There are basically four different (Gifts), There are:-

  2. Cartons of star brand of beer (2)
  3. Cartons of Guinness stout (2)
  4. Cartons of malt (2)
  5. Crates of soft drinks (6)
  6. Bottles of hot drinks/whiskey (3)
  7. Tubers of yam (30)
  8. Bags of rice (2)
  9. Bags of salt (2)
  10. Onions (30)
  11. Palm oil (one 10 or 25 liters gallon)
  12. Groundnut oil (25 liters)
  13. Kerosene (1 gallon)
  14. Stockfish (1 basin)
  15. Meat – goat leg (2)
  16. Bread (25 loaves)
  17. Tins of Tomatoes (1 carton)
  18. Tins of Milk (1 carton)
  19. Tablet soap bars (1 carton)
  20. Talc face powder – big size: Saturday night powder or morning rose powder (20)
  21. Tobacco snuff (20 heads)
  22. Cigarettes (10 packets)
  23. Big basins (2)
  24. 5 sets of (George or Abada such as Vlisco Hollandais, super wax, HiTarget, ABC, Nigerian Wax, George)
  25. Igbo style lace blouses (2)
  26. Gele headtie (2)
  27. Wristwatches (2 or more), Gold necklaces (2 or more), Large suitcase (1), Lamp / Lantern (1), Umbrella (3)

Umu-ada means daughters. Basically, the gifts for the ‘umu ada’ would be shared among all the grown daughters in the bride’s extended family.

  1. Wrappers (George or Abada/ Ankara – brands such as Vlisco Hollandais, ABC English wax, Hitarget wax, super wax, Nigerian Wax, etc.)
  2. Igbo-style lace blouses
  3. Igbo Ichafu scarfs, also known as Gele headties (assorted styles and colours)
  4. Shoes and bags (assorted designs and colours)
  5. Jewelry (wrist watches, earrings, necklaces and rings in either gold, silver, gold plated/ GL)
  6. Toiletries (bath soaps, body creams, washing detergents, perfumes and so on)
  7. Beverages
  8. Drinks (soft drinks)
  9. cash gift

These items will be shared among the male of the extended family of the bride.

  1. Kola nuts

b.Palm wine (in gallons/ jerry cans)

  1. Bottles of hot drinks
  2. Cartons of assorted drinks (malt, soft drinks and beer)
  3. Tobacco snuff
  4. Cigarettes (rolls)
  5. Goat (1)
  6. cash gift
  8. Money to bring down the pot from the fire ( ego nfotu ite) – N1,000
  9. Money to open the wine keg (ego nkwupu udu) – N1,000
  10. Money for in-laws (ego ogo cherem) – N50,000 (Ogo cherem literally means ‘in-law, wait for me. One of our readers, Chinelo, says it also means ‘the money my in-laws presented to me’).
  11. Money for maternity bill (ego maternity) – N1,000
  12. Money for the village chief (ego onye eze) – N1,500
  13. Lump-sum cash (ogwe ego) – N5,000


The bride price of the Igbo traditional marriage is not static but it is negotiable. The bride price also varies from family to family, some collect bride price as small as N5,000 while some collect as much as N100,000. “Bride price is a sign of seriousness and a cultural tradition, tribes in Igbo land.


  1. Abacha
  2. Ofe onugbu
  3. Nkwobi
  4. Ugba etc.

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