Igbo Traditional Wedding Guide

A typical Igbo traditional wedding has two different ceremonies:







The first one is called the 'Iku Aka' or 'Knocking on the door' where the groom and members of his family (uncles and brothers) come to tell the family of the bride of his intention to marry their daughter. The mother and father of the bride each get a keg of palmwine (ngwo) and one or more for the father's Umunna (brothers, cousins, etc)

 

The second ceremony, referred to as the 'Igba Nkwu Nwanyi/izu okwu' (wine carrying ceremony) is the actual wedding. The groom is supposed to assist his in-laws-to-be with the planning of this ceremony so he can provide Assorted drinks, a cow, bags of rice and ingredients for cooking.

 

When they arrive, the groom and few family members join the father of the bride in private and discuss the 'ima ego' or dowry. Once this is done and accepted, the bride dances out for the first time. Accompanied by her friends  in her native attire of 2 separate pieces of George wrapper (one for her waist and the other for her bust) she goes to greet her mother's people and goes back inside. Her second outfit is white blouse and George or damask or brocade which she uses to greet her father's people and she goes back inside. The third outing is usually in material similar to the grooms, this time, she is handed a cup of wine and told to find her husband and give it to him to drink. When she finds him, she kneels to give him the horn and waits for him to finish. Sometimes, the groom might lift his bride up and give the rest of the wine. This usually indicates he understands she is his help mate and is accompanied by much cheering. The couple then kneel before the parents for prayers and blessings. Then the party really begins.

 

Though the entire process could differ from family to family and village to village, the list could include:

 

16 gallons of Ngwo

4 gallons of Nkwu

4 crates of Mineral

4 crates of Beer

2 bottle of Snuff

4 packets of Cigarette

2 leaves of Tobacco

2 lumps of Potash (Akanwu)

Bales of cloth for the Father, Mother, siblings, uncles, aunties, etc.

 

He may also be required to perform a third ceremony called 'Ndi Ochie' which is recognition of all the married women in the family. He does this by giving them a bag of salt and a crate of mineral. If the groom is from outside the village, he must give to the girls mother:

 

1 carton of bar soap

2 crates of malt

2 bags of salt

N2000 cash

Cooked rice with big pieces of meat

Orji (kola-nut) and 'oku ose' (kola-nut paste). 

 

Alternatively, the groom can just give cash for everything and his in-laws will make them available.

 

*** This guide is based on the Umunze people of Orumba South LGA in Anambra state. ***

Written by Sugar Weddings