Every culture in Nigeria has its unique customs when it comes to their traditional wedding. To start with, each culture has a different bride price, different ceremonial attire and different activities surrounding the wedding, including the activities before and after the wedding.
Yoruba traditional wedding is such an interesting ceremony to attend. It all starts with the introduction ceremony. The groom’s family goes over to the bride’s to meet them and make their intention of marriage known to them.
At this event, both families deliberate on a good time to fix the wedding ceremony. The bride’s family also put together the list for the bride price and hand it over to the groom’s family. In cases where the list isn’t available at the introduction ceremony, the bride’s family will send it over to the groom’s at a later date. However, it has to be way before the actual traditional wedding. When this is done, preparations for the traditional wedding can commence.
I know you’re wondering what the bride price list looks like. Hold on! We will get there. However, let’s talk about what to expect at your Yoruba traditional wedding, first of all, before going into details of the bride price (eru iyawo).
Here’s what a typical Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony looks like:
1. First of all, a formal proposal and acceptance
To start the Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony, the groom’s family presents a proposal letter to the bride’s family. The letter is read out by the youngest member of the bride’s family to other members of the family. Once he/she is done reading, the bride’s family, in return, hands over an acceptance letter to the groom’s family so that the ceremony can continue.
2. Introduction of the groom
Once both families have sorted out the proposal, then the groom has to make an appearance, wearing neatly tailored agbada (a Yoruba traditional attire) before the bride’s family. The groom is expected to come along with some of his friends, symbolizing that he is a man of great personality and character. They all prostrate twice before the bride’s family. The third time, however, his friends leave him to prostrate all by himself before the family. The bride’s family prays for him, showing that they have accepted him into their family.
The groom returns to his family with his friends, prostrates once and then proceeds to his seat.
3. Introduction of the bride
Once the groom is seated, the bride comes out, wearing a lovely fit asooke dress or iro, buba and gele, with her friends as well. In her own case, she is covered with a veil. She goes to her family for their prayers and blessings. When they are done, she goes over to her husband-to-be family. They welcome her, pray for her and take off the veil before going to join her husband.
4. Presentation of the bride price before a Yoruba traditional wedding
The bride’s MC (alaga ijoko) asks the groom’s family to bring the bride price for the final lap of the ceremony. Once they present it, they all pray over it and the bride’s family accepts it, marking the end of the ceremony. All that’s left at this point is for everyone to eat, drink and have fun.
Now, let’s talk about the bride price list for your Yoruba traditional wedding. The items typically include:
- The holy book (Bible or Quran, depending on the religion of the bride)
- Engagement ring
- 1 big suitcase with clothes
- 2 pairs of shoes and bags
- 2 headgears
- 1 umbrella
- 1 gold wristwatch
- 20 pieces of kola nuts
- 20 pieces of bitter kola
- 1 bottle of honey
- 1 dish of peppered corn meal (aadun)
- 1 pack of sugar
- 1 big bag of salt
- 2 fruit baskets
- 20 pieces of dry fish
- 1 big female goat
- 2 cartons of juice
- 4 crates of malt
- 4 crates of soft drinks
- 2 bottles of wine
- 42 tubers of yam
- Owo ori iyawo (bride price)- N5,000
- Owo baba gbo (father’s acceptance money)- N2,500
- Owo iya gbo (mother’s acceptance money)- N2,500
- Owo okunrin ile (money for the male kids in the family)- N1,500
- Owo obirin ile (money for the female kids in the family)- N1,500
- Owo iyawo ile (money for the wives kids in the family)- N1,500
There you go! Now, you can start ticking your list one after the other as you get each of the items.