Nigerian wedding customs and traditions are vibrant, joyous, and jam-packed with dancing, eating, and music. In Nigeria, marriage represents more than just the joining of two people; it represents the joining of families and their ancestors.
Nigeria is home to around 360 different tribes. The Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba are the three main ethnic groups. The 36 states of Nigeria are home to numerous other sizable but marginalised ethnic groups and tribes, including the Efik/Ibibio, Tiv, Kalabari, Ikwerre, Urhobo, Isoko, Bini, and so forth.
The D-Day for Owanbe wedding parties is often a Saturday. Attendees dress to impress, donning stunning gowns that exude elegance. While many couples choose to have white wedding ceremonies, some choose to do their traditional weddings in exquisite ways that reflect their cultures and tribes. There are many wonderful examples of traditional wedding customs; here are the top 5 most fascinating Nigerian wedding customs
Nupe wedding custom
The Nupe wedding custom lasts 24 to 48 hours, but in the past, it may have lasted as long as 5 days. The husband and wife are called “ebayawo and yawo.”
The morning following the Fatiha (wedding), the bride, still dressed in traditional bridal regalia, returns to her father’s home to make dinner before heading to her husband’s home. In front of friends, the newlywed woman feeds her husband while they are seated on a mat.
The bride returns to her father’s house to make last-minute preparations before leaving for her new residence after feeding her husband. After this, married women will encircle her father’s compound to prepare her ga’ra, which is a set of boxes including clothing, gowns, and kitchenware.
The tradition states that a mortar and pestle is one of the important items that should not be overlooked.
The Efik and Ibibio wedding custom
The Efik tribe of Cross River State, a coastal region of south-eastern Nigeria, uses the ancient “fattening room” custom.
Efik girls are sent to the fattening room six months before their marriages, where they receive body-to-body massages, unlimited food, and education on the ins and outs of matrimony.
Traditional Efik dances, known as ekombi, are performed on occasion along with other entertainment.
“Onyonyo” is the name of the traditional Efik women’s clothing.
The Hausa/Fulani Sharo wedding custom
The husband’s role in the Hausa wedding custom is to build the pair home, while the bride’s family is entirely responsible for outfitting it. Women are expected to stay home throughout the wedding Fatihah, preparing the bride for her new life as a wife, known as Kunshi.
Northern weddings are known for their elaborate attire. The bride has a henna tattoo, and the couple is dressed in their finest traditional clothes.
The prospective groom, in Fulani Sharo custom, is publicly whipped shortly before the wedding in what the groom refers to as an “act of bravery” before he marries his fiancée. It is expected of him not to flinch, cry, or display any signs of discomfort.
Given that the Fulani are a nomadic tribe famed for their courage, discipline, and hard work, it is thought that this practice will help demonstrate the potential groom’s strength, endurance, and resilience.
The custom is essentially a test of the groom’s strength; any groom who is unable to withstand the required number of strokes is eliminated from the marriage race.
The Igbo wedding custom
Igbankwu, or wine carrying, is the name of the Igbo traditional ceremony in which the bride gives her spouse a cup of palm wine.
The groom must accompany his father to the bride’s compound before the actual ceremony to obtain permission from her father to marry her.
The strange and generally costly tradition is to offer a potential bride a list of gifts, sometimes in addition to cash, before marriage can be consummated.
If the potential bride has a bachelor’s degree, the list gets more expensive; if she has a master’s or doctoral degree, the list gets much more expensive.
This fund solicitation has frequently resulted in the breakup of courtships when the man realises he cannot match the demanding standards for marriage.
The Yoruba wedding custom
In the Yoruba wedding custom, two delegates, one from each side of the family, are hired or chosen to oversee the entire ceremony. The Alaga Iduro/Olopa Iduro (standing policeman) represents the groom’s family, and the Alaga Ijoko/Olopa Ijoko (seated policeman) represents the bride’s family.
The act of prostrating is a customary one that is still carried out today. In the Yoruba kingdom, respect is highly valued, and this also applies to any male planning to wed a Yoruba woman. It is an unavoidable tradition that the bride’s family will want the husband and his companions to prostrate themselves before them, no matter what they are wearing—from gold to imported lace. Following the prayers, the groom typically enters the chamber with a few of his friends and bows in front of the bride’s family.