Traditional marriage in Igbo land is an integral part of Igbo traditional prior to the introduction of white wedding ceremony in Africa.
A man is expected to joyfully go home immediately with his wife after fulfillment of traditional marriage rites in company of his relatives.
But this sometimes is not accepted to Pentecostal Christians as it is believed that they are not allowed to consummate the marriage until their wedding is blessed in the church.
Igba-nkwu (traditional marriage) is part of our culture, it is what our fathers did and left for us, it is our cultural heritage.
In Igbo world view the payment of the traditional bride price authenticates a marital union and not just the igba-nkwu ceremony.
The payment of bride price is the vital part of the ceremony; if you did not pay the bride price then you are not yet married.
It is expected that bride price should be paid before igba-nkwu day and can equally be paid on that same day. The processes involve in contracting marriage traditionally are door-knocking where the young man goes to introduce himself to the bride’s parents in company to his relatives.
This is followed by subsequent visits and negotiation which involves material exchange of palm wine, breaking kola-nuts, gifts, food items and paying of bride price. The union is then made public through the igba-nkwu ceremony.
As significant aspect of this ceremony is that the bride kneels down, while the bride’s father gives her a cup of palm wine to offer her groom in the presence of the public after which both the young man and woman dressed in traditional attire dances together in a traditional tune.
This was how marriages are socially approved in traditional Igbo society before the emergence of Christian white-wedding.
The western marriage was introduced into Nigeria through missionary activities during the colonial period. It is noted that before now our people do not go to church to get married, the issue of church wedding was brought by the white church people right from when they came, most of the Igbo people now believed that the western marriage is gradually being preferred and almost dominating the system.
The western marriage ceremony is left for Christians alone, but right now the opinion of most people is that if you did not do white wedding then you are not among the modern members of the society.
This is why western marriage is now accepted and practiced in Igbo Land even the traditional lists also perform the white wedding ceremony because they don’t want people to see them as primitive, barbaric, uncivilized and fetish.
Generally, in Igbo land, it is still believed that the traditional marriage is fundamentally more important to the people than western marriage.
In some part of Igbo land, it is customarily mandatory for one to perform the traditional marriage ceremony and rites but church wedding is not considered a must or compulsory.
It is a thing choice of which to some people court marriage is their own decision.
Photo credits: Google images