Marriage is a big deal in the Igbo culture. In an Igbo traditional wedding, every member of the extended family is involved and there are a lot of things to be done during the wedding ceremony. Igbo traditional wedding takes a step-by-step procedure as there is no rush.
Iku Aka or Iju Else
Translation in English is coming to knock or inquire. As a man who wants to marry in the Igbo land, you will go with your immediate family to the house of the girl you want to marry. You can go empty handed or bring kola nuts and drinks. The groom’s father is the one who speaks and tell the bride’s family that his son wants to seek for the hand of their daughter in marriage. The bride to be is called out and asks if she recognizes the suitor and is willing to marry him. Her answer determines whether they will proceed with the marriage.
Umunna when translated to English means seeking the bride’s extended family’s consent. Investigations are carried out on the groom’s family by the bride’s family after the groom-to-be visits for the first time, the groom’s family also does the same. This meeting is for the groom’s family to reinstate their intention in wanting to marry their daughter. The extended family of the bride has to give their consent to the union and the bride must also give her consent. After both agree, a date is chosen for the traditional wedding and the bride price list will be given to them.
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This is when negotiation of the bride price is done by the groom’s family. The bride price is not always a lot, as Igbos do not see money as an indication of the worth of a bride. But the gifts that will be brought takes a larger part of the bride price list. During Ime Ego, the negotiation takes a long time, as the groom’s family will plead for a reduction and the bride’s family talking about the benefits accompanied with marrying the bride. This will go on till there is an agreement.
Igba Nkwu Nwanyi
Translation in English is ‘bride’s wine carrying’. Igba Nkwu Nwanyi is one of the vital and most interesting part of an Igbo traditional wedding. Igba Nkwu Nwanyi signifies that the marriage has been concluded and both families have accepted and blessed the union. The groom is accompanied by his family and friends, and the bride carries a gourd of palm wine to search for her groom among the crowd accompanied by her maidens. When she finds him, she offers him the palm wine while kneeling down. If the groom drinks the palm wine, it means he is her husband and they are married officially.
Ido Uno is the final part of the traditional wedding, this is when the bride goes to the home of the groom for the first time since the first meeting. Her family gifts she with different gifts that she will find useful in her new home, and she goes accompanied with a one of her unmarried maiden or sister. After sometime, the maiden goes back to give feedback to the bride’s family.
To summarize, every wedding ceremony has its own beauty, uniqueness, and style, but there is a distinct difference between every other wedding ceremony and the Igbo traditional wedding ceremony.