I am of Nigerian origin and at the age when weddings, marriage and children should have all happened by now. Instead I am still waiting…
In the meantime, I though it might be interesting to find out what the traditional Nigerian way is in these matters. Of course I know this in principle – my mother has told me and I have had the privilege of going to a few weddings. However I thought I might write it all down anyway. I looked at a couple of websites and the general gist of the introduction/engagement ceremony is:
The groom’s family introduces themselves to the bride’s family, and asks for their daughter’s hand in marriage to their son.
The groom and his family
Olopa Iduro (‘standing policeman’): an appointed speaker by the groom’s family
The bride and her family
Olopa Ijoko (‘sitting policeman’): an appointed speaker by the bride’s family
Others if the families so choose.
The introduction takes place at the bride’s house, and her family is responsible for the preparations and costs, but if the groom’s family is able to, they can suggest helping out with some of the costs and/or the food. Both parties are in traditional attire.
Upon entrance into the bride’s home, the groom’s family kneels (women) or prostrate (men) for the bride’s parents. The groom’s family and the bride’s family sit on opposite sides of the room, with the bride and groom sitting closer to the center, and the olopa iduro and olopa ijoko sitting in the very middle.
The olopa iduro introduces the groom and his family to the bride and her family. He then brings a proposal letter from the groom’s family, usually tied with a ribbon, and gives it to the groom’s family, through the olopa ijoko. The letter is read out, and responded to verbally on the spot. Since this is mostly a formality, and it is already known that the couple will marry, there usually is not much rejection at this point. Usually, a prayer is said at this point, and some symbolic items of food are tasted by the olopa’s and then passed around to the guests.
obi (kola nut) is shared, during which the following words are repeated:
Won ma gbo (they will ripen).
Won ma to (they will eat and not go hungry).
Won ma d’agba (they will grow old)
ata ire: this consists of many seeds, and it is opened up, and the superstition is that the number of seeds that fall out is the number of children the couple will bear.
oyin(honey), sugar, ireke (sugar cane): these all symbolize that the union will be sweet.
Some additional words may be exchanged, then gifts are exchanged, and then the families and guests eats traditional food, and there may be singers and drummers for some celebration later.
During the ceremony the families are introduced to each other formally so the invited guest are familiar with everybody in either family.
Along with other things, the grooms family will come to this ceremony with traditional food stuff such as: yam, palm oil, sugar, ram, drinks and many more. Other things the grooms family will provide is a suitcase packed with traditional clothing include shoes, bags, jewelry and in some cases they will have to give a dowry. This is known as the bride price.The couple usually gives each other a holy book (Bible or Quran) give each other rings, and they may say some words to each other.
It seems so busy.
I guess I will just keep waiting for that day!