Nigerian wedding is an all-out affair that is full of fun costumes, bright colors, amazing cultural music, custom, and traditions of the ancestors; weddings in Nigeria are not just the joining together of two individuals but a marriage of two different families with unique lifestyles. The awesome unique wedding traditions of the most popular and well-known tribes will be on focus; Yoruba prostration of a wedding introduction, to the Igbo palm-wine carrying brides, backing-the bride to her new home by the Kanuri and Hausa culture, and a peep at the Kanuri custom of washing the hair of the bride-to-be while sitting on a wooden mortar to bath, a spectacular show of the Fulani “Sharo Festival” of taking a maiden as a bride, during which the groom-to-be endures the strokes of the cane from other contenders. All these traditional practices will be on focus with great reference to the two most dominant religions in Nigeria Islam and Christianity. Nigerians love to party really hard and every celebration turns into a festival and every festival is an endless series of celebrations; the magic sound that heralds weddings, parties, celebrations, and festivities is called ululation a high-pitched tongue trill; it involves the throat and tongue, a long wavering high pitched vocal sound which is called in Hausa “Guda… Ayiririri.”
The traditional wedding in northern Nigeria where engagement and the marriage ceremony is a blend of Islamic rites and traditional practices. Marriage is the only ticket to having any form of intimacy between couples in Islam, but in some cultures like the Yoruba and some parts of the Igbo land, the traditional practices and customs, mostly encourages and expect the bride to be in the family way before any weddings can take place. Islam has a powerful hold and influence on various cultural practices in northern Nigeria; the Hausa, Fulani, and Kanuri lifestyles are mostly based on the Islamic religion which is the dominant religion in the North of Nigeria where people practice an Islamic way of life especially the Muslims; inculcating values and ethics, from the mode of dressing to greetings and cultural practices. But the Christians follow the teachings of the Holy Bible; imbibing with it their cultural values and traditions. Yoruba bridal things are called “eru iyawo” which is the bride price and bridal items consisting of cash and gifts while the Hausa “gara” is the wedding items by the bride’s family including household goods, animals, and foodstuffs. The bride price varies according to the customs and traditions of each family to families, villages to villages, states to states; and differs according to the couple’s financial and social status. In addition to cash money for a dowry, some tribes request that the husband-to-be must till the farmland of the bride’s father or engage farm laborers to do the same on his behalf. The bride’s price is the stamp of honor that gives full respect to the married woman, traditionally and religiously considered as the binding law of marriages in Nigeria.
The Courtship And Marriage: Marriage ceremonies in Nigeria are a celebrated milestone in the lives of newly wedded parents and families. Weddings from all Nigerian tribes and every part of the country are elaborate with proud parents wishing to celebrate such an important historical moment with everyone making it an all-out and colorful affair with multi-cultural intricacies going on for three to seven days. A traditional fiesta is showcased, with rain money coming down on the couple and an open invitation is expected because Nigerian wedding invites is so difficult to make, so everyone is invited and the preparation for the highest number of guests possible is made for catering, seating arrangements, branded gifts, and other wedding essentials. Nigerian weddings are community celebrations seen in attendance are closed families and all extended families, relatives from near and far, neighbors and acquaintances, well wishes, and passersby. In Nigeria, it doesn’t matter how long a couple has been dating, the union is never recognized until they get married and are blessed by legally or traditionally recognized law. Marriage is the beginning of the family and also the start of a lifelong commitment expectedly come what may, Cloud, Rain or Shine; for better or for worse. Marriage is an institution of faith and faithfulness, a bond of purity, emotionally, physically, and spiritually all these are possible if the couple loves each other unconditionally. The Nigerian wife is gorgeous, elegant, beautiful, highly refined, religious, respectful, and obedient, trained from birth to be a priceless gem. The wedding introduction culturally often takes place in the bride-to-be family home when the groom-to-be relatives come to the home of the bride-to-be to pay their respects to her families and to declare their intention. This initial step differs from tribe to tribe and is mostly carried out according to the culture, custom, and traditions of the couples getting married. Nigerians usually observe three (3) weddings depending on the part of the country, which is recognized by the provisions of the Nigerian traditions, religions, and civil law:- 1-the traditional wedding, 2-the mosque/church weddings, and optional is 3-the court wedding.
The Uniform is “Aso-Ebi”-YORUBA, “Anko”-HAUSAS, “Matchy-Matchy”-IGBOS: A glamorous Nigerian wedding custom is a costume known as the “uniform wear”; Aso-ebi is originally a traditional Yoruba costume for celebrations and festivities but today has gain popularity all over the country, copied by all Nigerians tribes to celebrate all occasions but according to their traditional costumes. The uniform attire is mostly the case wherever Nigerian wedding is taking place at home or abroad and non-Nigerians who wish to wear Nigerian traditional attires or “aso-ebi” are welcome to do so. The couples decide on a uniform outfit, color, and design theme, that each of the family members must follow. It is an elaborately glamorous, harmonious attire that differentiates the groom’s family from the bride’s family, their friends, and guests. The Yoruba brides and bridesmaids are usually seen during the traditional wedding in wears known as the “iro and buba” meaning “wrap-around wrapper” and “blouse tops”. A colorful and beautiful beaded outfit, sheer veil, and an “ipele” shoulder wrap or scarf, “Gele” is an ornate head wrap. The Yoruba groom and groomsmen wear agbada a flowing embroidered gown but the couple must be identified by the same fabric type and color from the bridesmaids and groomsmen; only the bride uses a veil and the material used for her attire is “aso-oke”. The Hausas of Northern Nigeria “Anko” is the same as the Yoruba “aso-ebi” which is often a matching outfit for the bridesmaids to stand-out, look beautifully unique, and glamorous. The “Anko” is a uniform dress code with the color theme of the wedding, and styles made out of fabrics ranging from wax print materials, laces, guinea brocade, or a combination of the two of the materials; same accessories same make-ups, and design styles to have the bridesmaids rocking a distinctly beautiful uniformed look. Anko reflects the uniqueness of the bond of family and friends.
The KOLA NUT: The kola nut is at the center of every cultural activity; it is greatly respected in northern Nigeria and so vital for all traditional gatherings in Nigeria and must be included and provided at almost all Nigerian weddings. The northern Nigeria weddings hold the kola nut in high esteem that it is a “Babu Goro, Babu Aure” meaning “No kola nuts, No wedding”. At Igbo weddings, the groom’s family presents the kola nuts to the bride’s family; the bride’s family accepts and the oldest family member of the groom’s family must perform a ritual offering to their ancestors, and a prayer to God to bless the marriage. Breaking of the kola nut is an important tradition in the Igbo land to signify welcome and acceptance, the kola nut is then blessed with prayers, broken into pieces and shared amongst guests, dip into a paste mixture to be eaten which is an Igbo special ceremonial delight known as “ose-oji” a recipe of groundnut, pepper, and salt. The breaking of the kola nut signifies the start of any traditional event and it is the most respected and widely expected way of welcoming guests and elders.
Kayan Lefe Or Kayan Toshi And Kudin Gaisuwa (Bridal Wedding Items And Cash Gifts: Bridal items of clothing brought by the groom’s family for the bride after the introduction and engagement; “Kayan lefe” is a set of boxes ranging from six to twelve sets filled up with female clothing materials like hollandaise, super wax, guinea brocade, sewn or unsewn, laces of assorted colors, abaya and after dress, gowns, and veils, beauty products, shoes and bags, lingerie, jewelry sets and “kudin gaisuwa” meaning “cash money for greeting”. A separate box for the aunties, mother, and grandmother of the bride is presented known as “kayan uwaye” or kakanni”. The great “kayan lefe” is not recommended in Islam, because most of the suitors are graduates, business start-ups, jobless, and from a poor home. Suitors consider such bridal gifts as extravagance and highly demanding expenses thereby making them stay bachelors while the ladies remain single.
The HAUSA, FULANI, And KANURI Wedding: The northern traditional wedding is based on Islamic rites, and not as expensive as the Igbos and Yoruba traditional marriage ceremonies. The wedding introduction starts off with “Na gani ina so” meaning “I like what I see.” The bride-price in Hausa is called “Sadaki” which is cash money or gold coins; also called “Rubu Dinar” a quarter “kilogram of a gold piece”, to the highest gold pieces or gold coins the groom can afford or an equivalent of the gold weight in cash money. In a part of Northern Nigeria the bride is sometimes given away as a gift to the suitor known as “Yar Sadaka”, and he in return present anything he can afford as a gift to the bride. Islamic teachings encourage families to accept less amount for the bride price with the belief that the lower the bride price the more blessing that will follow the marriages. It is a MUST that the suitor who wishes to marry a certain bride-to-be, first of all, seek permission from her parents. The family of the bride-to-be will then conduct an investigation on the groom and his family background to know his religious beliefs, moral and family upbringing, family lifestyles, and customs. The groom-to-be is formally given the right to court the bride-to-be but no pre-marital affairs are allowed and their meetings must be in the presence of a third party known as a chaperone. The most terrifying moment for the groom-to-be is the marriage introduction known as “tambaya” meaning the “asking” which is the introduction that decides whether there will be a wedding or not. Marriage proposals or intentions are presented to the parents of the bride-to-be, it is their acceptance and consent that decides the next step in the wedding, not forgetting an important fact that when two people are in love it is not accepted to elope and get married without the consent of the families. The groom presents his requests through his family and they, in turn, ask the bride-to-be, if she is interested and will accept, her response is then conveyed to the groom. Although modernization is changing things, the new cultural practice now is the groom-to-be; asking his bride-to-be directly for her hand in marriage, but still, the couple must perform the culturally accepted proposal for marriage introduction; that is the formal meeting of grooms and brides family.
The KANURI Wedding Introduction: The Kanuri follow the same norms and values like the Hausa tradition with Islamic origin mix with tradition, wedding Fatiha are being conducted through a ceremonial event and the married Kanuri women are secluded in speech and physical appearances known as “ku’le” meaning to “lock-down” in the olden days; but education and exposure have really changed things with educated ladies working and doing businesses. Marriages are conducted between the “luwali” the “guardian or representative” responsible for the bride’s marriage rights; and the groom must confirm the bride’s consent by sending his male family members to her family, whereby a date is fixed for another meeting by her parents. On the said date the groom’s family will visit yet again this time around to seek for the bride’s hand in marriage presenting cartons of candy, sweets, chewing gums, a basket of kola nuts which is shared among families as a token of the engagement. The Kanuri tradition of “declaration of interest” is known as “ra’aki” meaning “seek” which is similar to the Hausa “tambaya” usually takes place on a given date with the presentation of luggage of bridal items consisting of ladies wears, veils, lingerie, shoes and bags, cosmetics and cash money. Nigerian culture does not accept a groom to come alone for marriage introduction; his family members, parents, family friends, or the representative of his family must be in attendance as a witness. In the land of the Igbos, the introduction involved only the men but in part of the north and Yoruba land it is a mix of both the males and females in attendance, during which the females go in to meet the female family members and the males meet the males family members in the North. The Yoruba practice a meeting where all the family members meet together including the bride-to-be. The culturally rich events of a traditional northern Nigerian wedding last for about a week-long:-
1}Kayan Zance: A token gifts items for the bride-to-be, provided by the groom’s family after the acceptance of the wedding proposal; includes fabrics, beauty products, lingerie, shoes, bags, cash (kudin gaisuwa), and if the groom is rich enough will make provision for a house for the couple to live in but the brides family take full responsibility of furnishing the house, especially the bride’s apartment section, the bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
2}Henna (Sa Lalle or Kunshi or Nalle by the Kanuri): An all ladies event known as the bridal shower; total body care pampering and beautification is done on the bride-to-be to prepare her for the new life ahead of her; where the bride-to-be spends the last few moments of a single woman with families, friends, and well-wishers for the last time in her father’s compound. Henna designs are beautifully done on the bride’s hands, palms, and feet, her friends, families and all ladies also get henna designs too. Henna activities are usually carried out by the groom’s sisters, aunties, or female relatives.
3}The KANURI Wushe-Wushe And Kamun Amarya: Walimah is the wedding reception of feasting and dancing before moving the bride to her new home. Kamu Amarya in Hausa means to catch the bride; one of the oldest wedding traditions and most interesting Hausa wedding events. And to release the bride by her friends and families stationed at the gate; the groom must negotiate in cash with the bride’s friends before she is allowed to be taken to her groom’s house. It is a fun-filled event of haggling prices that the groom’s friends must pay to the bride’s friends before she leaves her parent’s home. The Kanuri are known for “wushe-wushe” meaning “congratulations” which holds on the eve of the wedding day with a glamorous show of dancing skills happens usually at the bride’s residence known as the send-forth of the “lorusa” meaning the bride. The local musicians are always in attendance performing to the peak of their musical best to outshine others. An exciting, entertaining, and memorable event, it is the coming together of both families to rejoice and congratulate themselves for the union of their kids. The popular “ganga kura” is the “great drum” and “algaita” the trumpet is played to the delight of guests; the groom and bride will then walk in majestically followed by an elegant procession of their families and friends dancing to the traditional drummers in praise of their wedding. The couple beautifully adorned in the Kanuri costumes of the blue and black colors with the groom and friends wearing the flowing gown and capping it up with the red “dara” cap. The bride and friends gorgeously dressed in the sari, “lappaya” in Kanuri known as “jene klabe”, and as they dance on the local gun known as “durum kangeye” is shot into the night skies, and the sweet scent of “ka’ajiye” or “turaren wuta” an incense pot of perfume fills the air with the sweet-smelling scent of the assorted fragrance. The couple is encouraged to dance more by the spraying of newly minted naira notes known in Kanuri as “yirne” meaning “spray” and the women making the ululation tongue trilling sound of “guda” endlessly. A gala night that goes on throughout the night till dawn.
4}The Wedding Day (PRAYERS and FATIHA): The Kanuri tradition is to bath the bride-to-be early morning on her wedding day, she appears with just a wrapper around her chest, walks over to sit on a wooden mortar placed faced down in the middle of the compound surrounded by females families and friends, she is bath symbolically by pouring water over her head which signifies a long, peaceful and happy married life. The wedding day usually starts off between early morning to noon. The groom’s friends and relatives converge at a meeting point from where they move to the bride’s family home at a mosque closest to the bride’s home for the wedding solemnization. An imam assisted by other Islamic scholars will officiate the rites of marriage which involves an offer from the groom’s representative and an acceptance of the bride’s hand in marriage by couples “luwalis’ meaning “representatives or guardians”. The wedding Fatiha is vital and very important as opposed to what’s practiced in other cultures, it is the representatives of the groom and brides family that are obligated to perform the exchange, not the bride and groom like the Christian wedding at churches; performed in most cases at the mosques or at the brides family home with an Islamic scholar in attendance to officiate in the presence of families and wedding guests all males. Offer and acceptance take place, prayers offered to tie the nuptial knots. The dowry paid is announced then followed by the wedding Fatihah, prayers and supplication are finally said declaring them as husband and wife in front of all those in attendance as witnesses. A special reception follows immediately, going on for the whole day, feasting and merry-making. That same day the bride’s boxes are taken to her and the bride’s family reciprocates the groom’s efforts by presenting him with boxes of gifts clothes, shoes, perfume, hats, prayer mats, and cash gifts.
5}Kai Amarya (Back-The-Bride) And Sayan Baki: The family of the bride will furnish her apartments with everything an apartment needs, from the bedsheets to the electronics, body care products of special scented “turaren wuta” and “khumura” which is an assorted designer perfume and coal incense in several bottles are given for her daily beauty routine and about twelve to twenty-four bucketfuls of sweet snacks go with the bride to entertain her visitors with. The family and friends accompany the bride to her new home and the family of the bride will delegate any of the senior aunties of the bride to back the bride over the threshold right into the husband’s house from the gate; to be handed over to the eldest groom’s female family member. Prayers and advice are yet again given to the bride. Sayan Baki means “speak to groom”, It involves yet again another negotiation, discussions on the amount to be paid before the bride is allowed to speak to her groom, a very funny moment between the groom’s friends and bride’s friends.
6} Kisai Lewa And Wuni: The day that follows the first night of the bride and groom as husband and wife; a Kanuri tradition known as “kisai lewa” meaning “greeting and thanking” the families of the bride. The groom and his friends will pay a thank you visit to the parents of the bride. Her parents will pray for them, blessed them, and give them yet again gifts to share. While in some tribal practices the friends of the bride go on a sweeping spree; every compound in the neighborhood must be swept by the bride and her friends before sunrise. Sundays are the final wedding day for friends and families, staying the whole day with the new bride.
The FULANI “SHARO” Festival: The Fulani Suitors must endure several lashes to prove their love for their bride to be in the most painful way; mostly seen during the “sharo” festivals are two or more suitors competing to win the hands of the maidens in marriage and as a test of the strength of the groom-to-be, he must prove that he is worthy to be the husband of the maiden through endurance, resilience, and bravery. During the sharo festivals, a Fulani suitor stands in the middle of the market square culturally dressed in the complete Fulani costumes, seen around his neck is a mirror hung and flashing brightly as he dances around and in his hands is another large mirror with which he randomly takes a glance, he stands with legs apart, body shaking; his hands raised up towards the heavens and reciting praises to his family roots and daring the others while taking mighty lashes whilst the tradition states that he must not wince, cry or show any sign of pain, while he takes and absorbs the menacing strokes of the cane. As observed during the flogging, he screams out loud to scare other suitors, saying that there is a warrior in him and for the beauty of the bride-to-be he will take any flogging to win her heart. All lashes he must endure smiling or miss out on getting married to the love of his life and sometimes losing his life while taking the flogging. A referee at times officiates such festivals to prevent life-threatening injuries or death. The winner of the flogging festival/competition goes home with one or more of the beautiful Fulani damsels in attendance. Although, it is a very cheap and cost-effective wedding tradition because no cash dowry is paid; it is a very dangerous way of taking a bride, historically confirmed that at times many suitors die in the Sharo competition-Fulani Marriage Flogging.
The YORUBA Traditional Wedding: The Yorubas and Igbos start off with the traditional wedding then followed by the church wedding for the Igbo while the Yoruba Muslim a wedding Fatiha takes place but ceremonies could be scheduled for days weeks months apart due to financial reasons which can sometimes be as long as years apart. The Yorubas of the olden days used cowries as bride prices symbolically families collect bride prices as low as #25 (Twenty-Five Nigerian Naira Only). others collect as high as #5000 (Five Thousand Nigerian Naira Only); the Yoruba of western parts of Nigeria collects at the lowest bride price, it is the cheapest but other cash gifts to be shared amongst family members goes as high as #10, 000 (Ten Thousand Naira Only). At the bride’s family’s compound during the afternoon or early evening, the groom and his family members are asked to pay a fee by elderly women stationed at the gate before giving them permission to enter the compound. After which they gain entrance; the next custom during such a meeting is for the groom and his groomsmen to lie prostrate before the bride’s parents as a show of respect which is considered by all in attendance as the highest act of respect for the future-in-laws. The grooms and groomsmen start-off with the customary and compulsory greetings known as “idobale” meaning “prostration” they all go down gently saying “ke pe, ke pe, ke pe” meaning “live long” lying facedown, flat on the floor and then a few questions are asked before they are permitted to be seated. The eldest member of the groom-to-be family declares their intention to the brides-to-be family stating that “Ododo kan’be lagbala ti mofe ja, omode yi dara pupo mofe fi she’aya.” meaning “We have found a flower in this house that we wish to take home with us.” The father of the bride sends for the bride to appear but instead, three other ladies appear claiming to be the bride-to-be but on closer scrutiny, the groom-to-be and his family members will reject them. Finally, the real bride appears with a veil covering her face; the groom identifies her as his bride to be and she, in turn, is asked to identify her groom, after which she’s taken back inside to be dressed in traditional Yoruba costume, adorned with the red coral beads, escorted back by her friends singing and dancing, the bride enters with her friends rocking the “Aso-Oke” while her friends beautifully dressed in the Yoruba traditional Aso-Ebi dances on and the bride-to-be goes right up to her groom to be and place a hat on his head to inform all that he is her chosen one. The groom pays the bride price and presents all the requested bridal items after which prayers are said to bless the union. The Yoruba custom expects the groom to carry his bride over a threshold, and the groom-to-be then perform the traditional rites called “igbe yawo” meaning to “carry the bride” as a sign that he has the strength to care for her and her need, to protect her and after which they are pronounced married. Owambe meaning Yoruba “who is who” parties, the celebration galore goes on for days. Eru Iyawo (Bridal Engagement And Wedding Items): An endless lists of household goods, animals, and food items; a Holy Bible or Holy Quran, an engagement ring, a box of clothing, an umbrella, kola nuts (obi) bitter kola (orogbo), alligator pepper (atare), bags of rice, bags of salt, bottled water, bottles of wine, soft drinks, a female goat, cow, Aso-Oke, yam tubers, pots of palm oil, vegetable oil, bottles of honey, sugarcane, corn cake (A’adun), cash gifts (owo ijoko iyawo) meaning “money to bring in the bride” is called “owo iya” meaning “money to seek the bride’s mothers” consents and several other cash requests to meet the demands of all the extended families.
The IGBO “Igba-Nkwu” Is TheTraditional Wedding: The Nigerian nuptial ceremonies only take less than an hour to officiate in the mosques or churches while the reception goes on for hours. In most cultures and tribes in Nigeria especially Igbos, the custom in all marriages follows the order of seniority, older siblings marrying before the younger siblings or choose to marry without the consent of their parents and miss out on their parent’s blessings. The families of the bride to be mostly present an extensive and expensive dowry list of cash and bridal requests to the groom-to-be including hard to find items especially if the bride is a university graduate (degree or doctorate holder) or for the groom-to-be to provide monetary equivalent or compensation for the missing items and all requirements must be met by the groom before proceeding with the engagement; at times the groom-to-be must build a house for the bride’s families or there will be no wedding. The Igbo bachelors work so hard to be able to pay the bride price, inter-marriage in Igbo land is cumbersome for Non-Igbos due to the high bride price; bride price in Igbo land is evidently the highest in the eastern part of Nigeria and the country as a whole, running into hundreds of thousands of naira to millions. The Efik bride-to-be of the Calabar in Cross Rivers State mostly undergoes special marriage rituals and traditional rites which is done in the “fattening room” must be beautifully pampered to look the most radiant, gorgeously glowing on her wedding day by going to the beauty spa for total body care and follow it up with a traditional daily beauty routine and she must avoid stressful tasks, must eat right. The red coral beads are mostly used during coronations and traditional weddings as a good luck charm and worn around the waist by some ladies during their wedding in the southern parts of Nigeria. The red coral beads are a must for traditional weddings in Nigeria; in the southern part of Nigeria couple’s must important costumes are the George and lace materials for the females; the bride wears a red coral beads crown, coral beads on her neck, waist, wrist, and ankles. The men wear the “Isi Agwu” fabric just like the dashiki, a colorful garment short or long sleeve, usually black, red, white, or blue with gold lions all over, with a gold button linked by a chain and an Igbo traditional leopard cap “Okpu Agu”. The family of the groom-to-be visits the bride-to-be to knock on the bride’s family’s door which is an Igbo wedding custom known as “Ikuaka” meaning “knocking” with gifts of kola nuts and alcoholic drinks refer to in Nigeria as “hot drinks to pay the dowry “Ime Ego” which is the bride price. The “Igba Nkwu” is “Wine Carrying” event so interesting, full of funny memories and laughter; when the bride-to-be dances joyfully in search of her groom-to-be amongst the men in attendance to serve him palm wine in a wooden cup to drink. The traditional engagement of “umu ada” meaning daughters involves the presentations of the following lists clothing materials of wrappers of George, hollandaise or Vlisco wax, English wax, Nigerian wax, Igbo style lace blouses, gele headgears, shoes and bags, pieces of jewelry, cosmetics, beverages, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, local wine, and cash gifts. The gifts for the extended family known as “umunna” consist of kola nuts, palm wine, tobacco snuff, alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, soft drinks, goats, and cash gifts. The “iku uka” is the (knocking on the door), takes place when the groom family male members visit the brides family with the intention to seek the consent of the bride’s father for their daughter’s hand in marriage; presenting gifts consisting of 1 keg of palm wine “Ngwo” for each of the bride’s parents and uncles, the bride price is “Ima ego” is decided upon and settled. after which the bride is invited to the presence of the elders; she dances in dressed beautifully and colorfully in the Igbo traditional costume attire, a 2 piece of George wrapper, one covering her chest and the second over her waist and accompanies by her friends, singing and dancing. the bride dances straight up to her mother’s family first to greet and seek their blessings, goes back inside the house. On her second outing, she is seen dressed in a white lace blouse and George wrapper, dancing towards her father’s family, greets them, and receives their blessings, and she dances back inside. The third and final outing which is known as the “wine carrying” done after the “iku uka” when she is noticed dressed in the same dress type just like her groom, and this time around she is given a wooden cup filled with palm wine and is asked to seek out her groom from among the male visitors in attendance, and serve him the palm-wine. As she goes around seeking her groom out in the midst of his family members, she is seen being called and distracted by others but she remains focus moving towards him; when she finally sight whom her heart belongs to, move graciously towards him and kneels down before him as an act of respect and submission. She then gives him a sip of the palm wine she brought to serve him, the groom-to-be drinks all the palm wine to show his love and total acceptance of his bride-to-be. After this first duty, they are traditionally married, then the nuptial dance by the couple. Feasting and celebrations take over all day and night.
The Food And Feasting: Wedding events are now taking place at event halls booked for the reception. Feasting and partying to seal up the unions are often at such events halls. Dishes, delicacies are bountiful; the bride’s families provide for the meals and refreshments to be served to guests in the north of Nigeria. While the rich couples may employ the services of caterers and buffets with an array of options according to taste, plated service is also available for “take-aways”. Traditional weddings menu is local cuisines delights such as dishes that are not often prepared except for special occasions, with swallows and deliciously rich local delicacies and soups. The Hausas serve local cuisine tuwon shinkafa and local soups, senasir, masa, waina, funkaso, pepper chicken, skewed meats, barbecues, chirmani rice drinks, kunun aya is (tiger nuts sweet drinks), fura da nuno, zobo drinks, prohibited at such Islamic gatherings are all foods and drinks prohibited by Islam. All weddings in Nigeria MUST serve “jollof rice” or “wedding rice” or “party rice” with that unique, distinctly smoky aroma and taste, deliciously spicy. Serve also are snacks and pastries known as the “finger foods” and of course the wedding “chin-chin” and “cake”. Families of the couples will at times exchange food delicacies and gift packs.
The Naira Rain And The Branded Gifts: It is a long-standing tradition at Nigerian wedding to spray money on the couple while having their first dance together as one; while the D.J. or a live band plays traditional or contemporary music; the spraying of cash money, the new naira notes on the dancing couple by guests, families, and friends will starts. And the longer they dance the more money they get, all money received is given to the new couple to start off their married life with ease after spending so much to sponsor their wedding. Nigerian law has prohibited the spraying of money at parties and public gatherings instead it is advised to put all sums of money or cash gifts neatly in an envelope and present it respectfully to the new couple. Wedding branded gifts are shared and guests are given branded thank-you-for-coming-gifts branded with the couple’s photos, names, and wedding date gifts such as clocks, perfumes, bags, fans, kitchenware are tagged and given to guests, friends, and all those in attendance.
Baby Mama (Baby-Mother) And Baby Daddy (Baby-Father): A single woman is completely different from a single-mother; where the latter may have a child in or out of wedlock. Baby mamas and baby daddies are gaining more recognition in some parts of Nigeria, where provisions are made for the upkeep of the mother and child. Although such kids are oftentimes referred to as out of wedlock or mostly in the north refer to as Yaran “Gaba Da Fatiha”. Outside wives are women who function as wives to single or married men who live with their legally and traditionally recognized wives, theses men are husbands to extra women outside their homes, living and moving amongst their various partners, supporting them financially. These women outside wedlocks use the man’s names as their kids’ surnames and in most cases, these women known as “Baby Mamas” are no secrets to the men wedded wives. In many cultures in Nigeria, there is no such status as an illegitimate child; the Nigerian legal system has provided a “clause” to accommodate such women and their kids. But Islam discourages any form of premarital relationships outside marriage and NEVER encourages a child to be born out of wedlock.
Marriage as the saying goes is not a bed of roses, for to enjoy the scent of the rose petals one must risk the pricks of its thorns. Wishing about daydreaming of sailing off into the sunset and smiling sweetly at sunrise; while in reality, living a life of happily ever after takes a lot of patience, trust, forgiveness, care, kindness, unconditional love, faithfulness, and above all “faith” in the Almighty God. Life for many in Nigeria is not easy, it is sweating and smiling, and living a “singles” life in Nigeria is not by choice but by force with the forces of wedding expenses deciding the fates and futures of many. Weddings and marriages in Nigeria are considered to give many Suitors “High Blood Pressure”, so in choosing a “Nigerian Bride” which is to YOU most precious; your priceless Heartbeat, your Hard-earned money, or your pretty Heartthrob?
…TO BE CONTINUED!