In the heart of Nigeria’s southern region lies Edo State, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and colorful traditional ceremonies. Among these, traditional weddings hold a special place, mirroring the region’s vibrant customs and unique traditions. This article will provide an insightful guide to planning a traditional wedding in Edo State, ensuring your celebration becomes a treasured memory for all.
Edo traditional weddings, known for their grandeur and vibrancy, require meticulous planning. The process often begins with the ‘Introduction Ceremony,’ where families meet, signify their approval, and commence the wedding preparations. Ensure to plan this ceremony thoughtfully as it sets the tone for the subsequent wedding festivities.
Once the introduction is successful, the focus shifts to the ‘Bride Price’ negotiations, an essential part of Edo tradition. Remember, this isn’t merely a transaction; instead, it symbolizes respect towards the bride’s family. Engage in these discussions with a sense of goodwill and understanding, which would foster a harmonious relationship between the two families.
One of the most delightful traditions in an Edo wedding ceremony is the ‘Igba Nkwu’ or wine carrying ceremony. A traditional event filled with laughter and cheer, it entails the bride identifying her groom from a group of disguised men.
This playful tradition, steeped in symbolism, underscores the deep connection and understanding between the bride and groom. To make this ceremony even more enjoyable for your guests, consider incorporating elements such as traditional Edo music and dance, interactive games or contests related to the ceremony, and perhaps even a brief explanation of the significance of the tradition for those unfamiliar with it.
Moving onto attire, no traditional Edo wedding is complete without the bride and groom adorned in the distinctive ‘Okuku’ and ‘Agbada’ respectively. The ‘Okuku’, an elaborate hairstyle decked with coral beads, represents the beauty and stature of the Edo bride.
On the other hand, the ‘Agbada’, a flowing wide-sleeved robe, symbolizes the groom’s readiness and nobility as he transitions into marital life. Engaging local artisans who specialize in these traditional attires is highly recommended. They bring with them years of expertise and a keen understanding of the cultural significance behind these attires, ensuring that you don a piece that is authentic, beautifully crafted, and resonates with Edo’s rich cultural heritage.
When it comes to decor, the spotlight should be on reflecting Edo’s vibrant cultural heritage. Incorporating traditional motifs, artifacts, and a color palette rich in coral, ivory, and earthy tones can evoke an ambience steeped in Edo’s cultural ethos. From coral bead-inspired centerpieces to ivory-colored table linen echoing the richness of royal regalia, there are countless ways to infuse traditional elements into your decor.
Consider hiring professional event planners who have experience with traditional Edo weddings. Their expertise and understanding of Edo customs can be invaluable in creating a setting that is both visually stunning and deeply resonant of Edo’s cultural heritage.
In conclusion, every aspect of an Edo wedding, from the wine carrying ceremony to the traditional attire and decor, is deeply symbolic and reflective of Edo’s rich cultural tapestry. Incorporating these elements thoughtfully and authentically into your wedding plans will not only honor these traditions but also ensure that your wedding is a memorable celebration of Edo’s cultural legacy.
Food and music are also integral to Edo wedding celebrations. Traditional dishes such as ‘Owo Soup,’ ‘Black Soup,’ and ‘Pounded Yam’ should feature in the wedding menu. Incorporating live traditional music and dance troupes will infuse energy and vibrancy into the celebrations.
Lastly, remember that Edo weddings are not just about the couple but are a celebration of two families and the broader community. Involve the community as much as possible, respect the customs, and strive to maintain the authenticity of the traditions.
Isan (Esan) Bride Price & Traditional Marriage List
- 1 Umbrella
- 1 suitcase filled with clothes (box of wrappers)
- 2 bottles of hot drinks (schnapps)
- 1 crate of malt drinks
- 1 plate of kolanuts
- 1 bag of salt
- 25 liters of palm oil for the bride’s mother
- 1 jar of palm wine
- 1 carton of wine for sundry use (the groom should hold this)
- 3 crates of malt for women of the lineage
- 6 carton of beer for men of the lineage (broken down into 2 cartons of small Guinness stout; 2 cartons of Star beer; 2 cartons of Gulder beer)
- 28 tubers of yam arrange in groups of seven
- 14 tubers of yam for the eldest man in the lineage
- N1,500 cash for the dowry
- N5,000 cash for the bride’s mother
- N3,000 cash for the bride’s father
- N9,000 cash for the men in the bride’s lineage
- N6,000 cash for the women bride’s lineage
When choosing a date for the Edo traditional marriage introduction event, there are dates to avoid. AVOID the market days, because it is forbidden to pay bride price or conduct traditional marriage ceremony on market days. That is the custom of the people of Emuhi village in Ekpoma part of Edo state, so you’ll have to ask your wife-to-be for their own village’s forbidden days.
Overview of Edo Traditional Marriage Introduction Process
Once everyone is seated, the bride’s family will present kolanuts and drinks to the groom’s family. Here’s the seating arrangement: each family side sits opposite the other- the bride’s family sits opposite the groom’s family.
After kolanuts are broken and eaten, the groom’s family spokesman will stand up and reveal the purpose of their visit (to propose marriage, on behalf of their son, to one of their daughters). Next, the groom’s family spokesperson will present drinks and kolanut gifts to the bride’s family.
After that, the bride would be called in and asked by her father. First, he would ask her if she knows the visitors (i.e. her fiance and his family?). After that, he would reveal to her the purpose of the visit by the groom and his family members (i.e. to ask for her hand in marriage).
Finally, her father would inquire about her response to the marriage proposal. He would put the question in the way it’s done by Edo customs, by asking her whether they (her family) should accept the drinks and kolanuts (gifted by the groom’s family), to symbolize her acceptance to marry the groom.
If her answer is YES, her family will accept the drinks and kolanut gifts; and if NO, the items would be rejected – and there would be no wedding.
So, after the bride’s family accepts the drinks and kolanuts, the bride’s family will present the bride-price list to the groom. Thereafter, food and drinks will be presented by the bride’s family to everyone present.
NOTE: Note that Edo state is made up of many sub-tribes and villages, each of which has a slight difference (significant, in some) from the other. So, use the below bride price list as a guide to drawing up your marriage introduction budget, and be prepared by saving up before contacting your future in-laws.
In conclusion, planning a traditional wedding in Edo State is a unique experience that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the region. Embrace the vibrant customs, pay heed to traditional norms, and create a memorable day filled with laughter, love, and a deep sense of community. With meticulous planning, your Edo traditional wedding will indeed be a reflection of the cultural grandeur that this region stands for.