Traditional marriage rites in Ilorin, Kwara state happens to be a ceremony of different colors and rich traditional displays of all sorts. Being a state with different ethnic groups, their marriages always turn out to be a blend of cultures of various interesting ethnic group tastes and traditions.
Once a boy and a girl had nurtured their interests in each other to the point of getting married, both parents are usually informed of their decision to marry by the husband and wife to be.
As soon as this is done, and after verifying the girl's family background, the groom's family then takes a step further to go the girls house and formally ask for the young girl's hand in marriage.
After deliberating on the proposal, they will now carry out some spiritual consultations to find out whether to go ahead with the marriage and if it's positive, the groom's family will do a thanksgiving by visiting the bride's family with gifts of money and kola nuts.
The money and the kola nuts is then shared among the relatives and date fixed for the marriage. This money is called Owoidajo. After the date for the marriage is fixed, sweets and kola nuts would be sent out to neighbors and distant relatives as an invitation for the wedding ceremony.
Traditional marriage rites in Ilorin, the ceremony in is usually a week long tradition which begins on Sunday and culminates seven days after.
Traditional Marriage Rites In Ilorin Procedures For seven days
- The bride prepares her self for the wedding by having traditional tattoo done to beautify and uplift her looks for the ceremony, this is called laali and is usually done by a relative or a friend of the lady away from her father's house.
- Next is a night party where traditional song and dance known as kengbe goes on till dawn after which she would get a traditional bath.
- Another form of tradition takes place on Tuesday whereby pouring of water in a mortar and covering it with a calabash is observed, this is entirely women affairs, while performing this tradition, a drummer is always present to keep them busy dancing to their traditional talking drum during the rites.
- Then the following day is for Walimat...as a Muslim dominated community, if both of them are Muslims, a ceremony is organized for both of them in their respective families to commemorate their completion of reading of the holy Quran; during this tradition, they are made to recite selected chapters from Quran before the Alfas who taught them Quran and then proceed to go round with their friends to different family members reciting it and are being given some money in appreciation.
- On the Thursday of the week, the women from the groom's family will come as a group demanding for their bride in the name of the prophet ("efun wa ni yawo wa anabi lafi be yin o")
- Friday takes on some spectacular forms of traditional display as if the women's requests were granted to take their bride home. The proceedings goes thus: The bride is accompanied to the groom's home by some family members along with drummers and singers on a horse back while covering her face with a veil. They go there with all the household items that bride would use when she finally gets to her husband's house. As soon as she alights from the horse at the groom's family house and water is poured on her feet according to the tradition, a mortar is quickly put before her and a young man is asked to pour millet in it for her to grind. This she pounds three times and goes inside the house where she would be brought back to repeat the process thrice before finally taken in to be introduced to the family members at this point she displays the household items that she came with. After this it becomes the turn of the groom's family to entertain the bride's family with foods and other delicacies but mostly traditional foods like Amala with Gbegiri and Ewedu soup, eko and rice for all the guests.
- Then on Saturday, the bride is taken to see the queen mother on chamber. In this chamber she will be beautifully dressed in the best and lovely attires and then as if to say that her beauty had become highly irresistible having been beautified by a queen, the husband comes for her and takes her to his own house.
Finally on Sunday morning, the bride leaves her husband's house and heads back to her father's house where she would be given two big bangles to adorn her hands with and another two for her legs also and she is expected to wear it for a week before she removes them for keep and for special occasions. After this some gifts of local delicacies, like ground nut, sugar cane and dankuwa are given to her to take back to her husband's house.
You may be wondering within your mind and with your mouth probably wide open; asking Seven whole days ceremonies for a wedding tradition?!
Well, others have shouted just like you but the greatest shout of all is the one that the present day realities is shouting. Good enough, the story has changed and wedding in Ilorin could now be done with within two days excluding all other arrangements.
Though some are still clamoring for traditional marriage rites In Ilorin 'as it was back in the days', but the current trends and the economic situation all over the world are giving the modern civilizations upper hands in having most of the aspects of the cultures sliced off. So today, a full traditional marriage can take place at Illorin with all the necessary traditions and customs fully observed.