The Traditional marriage rite in Igbo land is usually very festive and colourful.
Traditional marriage used to be arranged by the parents of the future Bride and Groom, after careful investigations into the background of both Families.
The process involves different stages.
First, the future groom finds the lady he wants to marry and tell his parent.
He is then accompanied by his parents, siblings, and close family members, and contact the family of the bride_to_be. A date is then set for both Families to meet.
During the meeting, the groom_to_be’s father will state their intention.
The father of the groom and relatives normally will not expect the family of the bride to give them positive or negative answer right away. They then will schedule another date to meet. Before the next meeting both Families normally carry out investigations on each other to see if the families are of good character and morale standing in the society.
On their return visit to the bride to be’s home, the groom’s parents will reiterate their intention that their son wants to marry the girl in question. At this stage, it is expected that the bride to be’s family must have concluded their investigations and consultation with their daughter. The bride -to-be is summoned before both Families on the return visit and asked if she’s interested in her future husband. If she agrees to marry her future husband then the bride’s family will give the groom either positive or negative answer. During the return visit some items are presented to the bride’s family by the groom’s parents, these items include Kolanut, Palm wine (local brew), Dry gin and soft drinks. Both Families will share the foods and drinks. After the Merriment they will set another date for the actual marriage ceremony called “Igba Nkwu”.
The family of the bride complies a list of items that the groom’s family will bring to the wedding ceremony as demanded by their Customs and Traditions. Typically, the list includes the following.
*Gallons of Palm wine
*Bottle of gin
*Packet of cigarettes (optional)
*Bags of rice
*Tubers of yams
*Crates of soft drinks
*Bundles of George/Hollandis wrappers
The exact number of items required depends on the tradition of each community or town.
In the final stage of the traditional marriage rite, the groom will go to the house of the bride to be, with his immediate and extended family, villagers and towns people with the above item.
Host families will prepare different kinds of indigenous Dishes to entertain their guests. Both families and their extended Families including members of the community will eat, dance and drink together.
During the ceremony, the bride will be asked to give Palm wine to her husband, which she will do while kneeling down. The parents and elders in the family of both the bride and the groom will pray for the newlyweds and for success of their marriage.
Afterwards, the bride and groom will dance along with their family members. When the ceremony is over, the bride will go home with the family of the groom signifying that the two are now Husband and Wife.