List of traditional marriage requirements in Igbo land. The Igbos are generally traditional in all areas of their lives. Almost every aspect of their lives are deeply rooted in one tradition or the other. Such as, child naming ceremony, burial rites ceremony, and marriage ceremony including others.
In all of these ceremonies, their traditional marriage is ranked among the most important customs in Igboland. If you intend marrying an Igbo woman, be prepared to abide by the customs and the ethnic rites guarding marriage in any part of their land.
Generally, people has the notions that the cost of marriage in the eastern part of the country is high, but that is not completely true as this often depends on some families and on what the prospective in laws agree to pay in excess of the generally stipulated amount which is usually nothing when compared with what it takes to own other valuable things of life. A clear indication that the woman is not for sale!
So it is purely personal if you want to prove how rich you are to your in-laws. The most important thing for any one planning to marry an Igbo woman is to start early in his preparation and follow through in other to fulfill all the traditional requirements in Igbo. Below is the list of Traditional Marriage requirements in Igboland.
Basic Steps Towards Traditional Marriage in Igbo Land
This list usually covers the basic things needed for the occasion but it doesn’t have anything to do with one ethnic group in particular but varies from place to place. First of all, here are the sequences in traditional marriage in Igbo land.
(a) The introduction
(b) The presentation of the engagement list
(c) The bride price/dowry
(d) The general gifts/ the marriage ceremony itself
Steps and Lists of Requirements for Igbo Traditional Marriage
(1.) Meeting your wife to be. This is usually the first step leading to marriage which is not peculiar to the Igbo people alone. It starts from becoming friends and haven observed each other for some time and feels like taking a step further into solidifying that friendship with marriage, you decide to formerly inform her of your intention or what many people call marriage proposal – it started in Igboland.
(2.) The woman then informs her parents about her new-found love and may informally bring him to meet her parents likewise the man too taking the girl to see his own parents.
(3.) The groom now prepares and formally go with his parents with one or two persons, preferably elderly relatives to properly make a proposal by asking the woman’s hand in marriage. This is referred to as (Iku aka n’uzo) knocking on the door, which the girl’s people, basically her parents shows respects and honors accordingly just as it is traditionally expected of them.
After this marriage proposal, the groom is then given a date to come and collect the engagement list which they are to follow through to the later as the case may be.
The list usually include provisions like the dowry, items required, their sum, together with the bride price.
It also includes but not limited to the following:
Ankara-Nigeria Wax, Tubers of yams, Palm wine, Provisions in some great quantities, Large suitcase, Shoes/bags, Jewelries, Umbrellas, Goat, Drinks of all types, Walking stick for the father and clothes for both parents, Bag of rice, Talc powder, and cash sums to go with it.
When the list is provided, and after some usual negotiations between the in laws to be, the next step now is (Nmepe uzo) open door which signifies the acceptance after some additional protocols of traditionally prolonging some matters just for formality sake at times.
After the acceptance of the gifts which is usually interwoven with the marriage ceremony itself, the occasion then continues with some merriment signifying the happy mood of the day.
During the ceremony, another thing that usually attract attention, is the bride’s father giving her wine to take to her husband to be. This often serves to make it known to all the guests, of who her husband really is and to be certain even though it’s mere formality.
As for the gifts that was brought by the in-laws, it’s usually shared among the bride’s families and the extended relatives as well.
Worthy of note in Igbo land about their traditional marriage, in fact all their marriages is that, no matter how much or little a man brings for the woman’s family, it is always plainly stated that their daughter is not for sale nor is given out for the man to turn to a pouching bag.