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Nigeria

Marriage Ceremony

If a man desires to marry a woman who is a virgin, he will first ask her. If she agrees, he goes to her father, and if he gives his consent, the prospective husband gives the father money. This money is divided into two parts, with half going to the girl's mother and half to her father. This is the preliminary part of the marriage ceremony.

About two or three months later, if the woman is still willing to marry, the groom may go to her father and discuss the bride-price with him. Once he knows the amount, he then tries to gather the money, which is usually handed over to the bride's father as soon as it is ready. The father then passes the money to the girl's mother to buy clothes and food for the marriage feast, including the white cloth that the bride will wear during the marriage ceremony. Also, part of the money will be used to purchase the food that the bride will eat after marriage for at least two weeks.

For about five to seven days after the ceremony, the bride remains in her father's house. She wears a white cloth and covers up her face, while her fingers are printed with henna. Usually, other young women come to play with her, while she is taught various homemaking skills. These girls usually eat food provided by the bride's father at the husband's expense. After about seven days, her relatives come to her house and take her to her husband's house, where the husband's friend (grooms men) try to get her to enter the house. Traditionally, she is supposed to refuse. At this stage, some money is usually given to the bridesmaids while a struggle ensues, with some pushing the bride while others pull her until she eventually enters her husband's house. All the women usually enter with her, singing, clapping, and dancing. At this stage the bridegroom's friends enter the house and distribute money to the dancing young women, who then spend some nights with the bride before returning home.

While the above is taking place, the bridegroom is not usually there, but in his best man's house. He only returns to his own house after five or seven days. If he decides to come home before this time, the bridesmaids will drive him away, but from the sixth day he can come and give the bridesmaids money and urge them to return to their homes, thus marking the end of the marriage ceremonies. Thereafter, the newly married couple will be free to live together as husband and wife (Omokhodion 1998).


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsNigeria - Families In Nigeria, Marriages In Nigeria, Marriage Ceremony, Conclusion