Igbo Brides & Igbo Traditional Marriage Traditions & Customs
The Igbo traditional engagement wedding, is always a fun ceremony to attend, especially during the festive season in December, when all or most of the Igbo indigenes wherever they might be, go back to their hometown to celebrate the festivities with pageantry and pump. The weddings are so colorful, fun and packed with traditions, you wouldn’t want to miss. Although, this traditions can be tiring and very much exhaustive, but it’s a fantastic way to explore the cultures of each states, their customs and the acceptance of their traditional values. The marriages done in any Igbo state or wherever, is not just between the two couples, but between their parents, relatives and both villages they come from if different, so you can imagine a wedding ceremony of over 1000+ guest and still counting!
For a wedding ceremony to be fully completed, it requires at least 4 steps according to the Igbo culture, which includes the, iku-aka / iju ese, ime-ego, igbankwu and bia malu ulo. Usually, there is no ceremony for engagement, it normally takes place between the iku aka and the ime-ego (introduction and the brideprice ceremonies), when the groom’s family hands over the money and other agreed prerequisites. The money and goods are counted, while relatives and friends are served drinks and food in the bride’s compound. After all is settled, the traditional wedding day is planned or the ime-go can be considered as an engagement though a girl enjoys all the privileges of a wife but the marriage is considered incomplete until the wedding is done i.e formally telling your neighbourhood that you are married, friends are also invited (igbankwu). Bia malu ulo is not a big ceremony per se; but its time the bride’s family go to their daughter’s new home to see where she now belongs.
The brides usually wear the Igbo George wrapper and coral beads around their waist, wrist, hair and neck, dressed like Queens. While other Igbo brides from other states may wear a puffed sleeve blouse popularly known as Igbo Blouse along with two wrappers which is known as a George wrapper and a head tie which is also known as a gele. The groom wears a top called Isiagu or Ishi agu. Isiagu (or Ishi agu) is usually patterned with lions heads embroidered overAnother igbo attire the clothing and can be a plain color or any other material including Lace, Jacquard or Brocade. It is worn with trousers and can be worn with the traditional Igbo men’s hat (a red or black hat). The Groom sometimes uses a walking stick with is attire and could also use coral beads.
Our favorite is when, the bride’s father fills a wooden cup (Iko) with palm wine and passes it on to the girl while the groom finds a place between the guests. And then she goes about looking for her groom until she finds him among the guests and make him drink from the cup, only then they are traditionally married!. During this ceremony, there is also the nuptial dance where the couple dances, while guests wish the newly weds prosperity by throwing money around them or putting bills on their forehead.