Author Topic: The Complete Traditional marriage Rites In Umudioka, Anambra State  (Read 132 times)

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Offline Spyder880

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Umudioka town is a community situated in Anambra central senatorial district, which is also under Dunukofia LGA in Anambra State. In this write-up, I will narrate the traditional marriage process of Umudioka Town.
In many parts of the world, a marriage ceremony is mainly an affair between the bride and groom, but in igboland, parents of the couple, their extended families, villagers and towns people play active roles in traditional marriage ceremony.

Ndị Umudioka (also known as Ezebo ) are from the eastern region of Nigeria, and the traditional marriage rite in this part of the counrty is usually very festive and colourful.
In the olden days in Umudioka , traditional marriages used to be arranged by the parents of the future bride and groom, after careful investigations into the background of both families. These days, however, young men and women are now free to choose whoever they want to get married to, with parental approval.
Despite the seeming change in the method of choosing a spouse, the Umudioka culture has been sustained, where traditional marriage is concerned. The process involves different stages.


When a man meets a woman he likes and wants to marry, he informs his parents of his intentions. The man then goes with his parents and other family members to the womanís house to notify her parents or guardians of their interest and to ask for their consent to marry their daughter. When going on such a visit, the man will take the following items  along ; Wine/Hot drink, kola nuts, one cartoon of beer and one cartoon of mineral, to present to the woman, her parents and other family members.,

When the intentions of the man has been known, the womanís parents will usually not give an immediate answer and will tell the manís parents to return at a later date. Before the date of the next visit, the family of the woman will take that time to look into and investigate the history and background of the manís family. They will use the time to find out about the manís personality what he does for a living among other issues and also extend their investigation to other members of his family.

It should also be noted that the manís family would have done a similar check on the woman their son intends to marry before visiting her parents and making their intentions known.


When both families are satisfied with their findings on each otherís background, they will meet again on the date set for a return visit. Once again the manís family will state their intentions and will come along with more gifts this time including palm wine, dry drinks, soft drinks and other items.

At this point, the woman is called in by her family members to be part of the meeting and is told about the manís intentions to marry her. If she accepts his proposal the gifts that were brought will be shared immediately among the family members. If for whatever reason the woman does not accept his proposal, then the meeting will come to an end and all talks about marriage will be over and done with.

In a situation where their daughter is not around because she does not live with them, the parents will tell the manís family they will have to get in touch with them later and give them an answer. If they get a positive reaction, then proceedings will move to the next stage which is to set a bride price to be paid by the man who intends to marry their daughter.


Once both families have decided to be in-laws, the next stage involves the womanís family setting a bride price which they feel is befitting of their daughter to be paid by her husband to be.

In Umudioka town, bride price is not that high when compared to other towns in the Eastern part of the country.  Also what the man will be asked to pay in terms of cash or goods or both may vary from family to family.

It should be noted that setting a bride price does not mean the parents of the girl plan to sell off their daughter, far from it, the bride price just indicates that they appreciate their daughter as whatever is paid cannot be said to be the value of their daughter.

With that stated, there are times when the bride price is negotiated especially if the man and his family feel they may have been asked to pay a lot of money .
The family of the woman may set a high bride price if they feel their daughter has accomplished a lot in life or if she is well educated and has a good job. They can also set a high bride price if they feel she has been brought up and raised properly by them and has the virtues every man looks for in a wife.

On the other hand, the manís family will also present their own case by presenting their son as a man worthy to take care of any woman as his wife. They can also present other attributes that the man possesses to state their case for a reduction of the bride price.

This can go on for some time before a price is finally agreed. Other items involved in the bride paying ceremony includes, 20 liters of palm wine, two cartoons of beer, one cartoon of Stout, one cartoon of mineral, one bottle of St Remy, Kola nuts to be accompanied with not less than #200.


This stage is called igbu ewu nna, because it is solemn for the kindred of the bride. Sometimes, The groom can combine stage three and four together, depending on  the agreements between the two families. Once you have performed this stage, it is assumed that you have officially completed the marriage rites of the bride, because in this stage, a prayer is being said by the elders of the kindred for their daughter and they do bless their in-law. Once you have done this stage, any child from their union is automatically the groomís child.

The items for this stage are divided into two, one for men of the kindred and the other for the women of the kindred;
For Men: one big castrated goat (Ewu Hausa), 10 big tubers of yam, one big cock, four cartoons of beer(mixed), two cartoons of malt, one cartoon of Stout, two cartoons of mineral, one bottle of St Remy, 20 liters of palm wine, kola nuts.
For Women (Ife Nkpuke) : 10 big tubers of yam, one big cock, one cartoon of malt, one cartoon of mineral, one thousand naira, one piece of hollandes (wrapper), kola nuts.


In the final stage of the traditional marriage rites, the groom will go to the house of the bride-to-be with his immediate and extended family, villagers and towns people with the above items. Host families will prepare different kinds of indigenous dishes to entertain their guests. Both families and their extended families including members of their communities will eat, dance and drink together.
The traditional wedding ceremony is usually a fun filled event with a lot of happy faces, people gorgeously dressed with a lot of good food to eat and lovely music to listen and dance to.

A major aspect of the traditional wedding is the wine carrying part. This is an aspect of the traditional wedding ceremony most brides will never forget and even the groom as it ignites a lot of fun and excitement.

The bride is given a cup of palm wine by her father or a male member in her family. She is then told in front of the guests that they do not know who her husband is and will like her to fish him out for all to see and present him with the cup of wine.

At this point in time the groom would be hiding among the guests as part of the fun to make it difficult for his wife to locate him. When the wife finally finds her husband, she will kneel down before him and a take a sip of the wine and give him the rest to drink which he will finish. Afterwards, the bride and groom will dance along with their family members.
The following are items for the ịgba nkwu ceremony ; 80 liters of palm wine, 12 cartoons of beer, 2 cartoons of Stout, 2 cartoons malt, 8 cartoons of mineral.

This stage is being done within the day of the traditional marriage. After every merriment on that day the groom, bride and few representatives from both families will gather together and say their final prayers and give blessings to the newly married couple. During the ceremony, the bride and the groom will be asked to kneel down. The parents and elders in the family of both the bride and groom will pray for the newlyweds and the for success of their marriage.
The items for these stage are; 20 liters of palm wine, one cartoon of beer, one bottle of St Remy, kola nuts, two rolls of tobacco (isi ụtaba), two packets of cigarettes, Ego ndị Nze #500, Ego Umuokolobia #500, Ego Umuagbogbo #500, Chencheghanata #100, Ego Otiti okpili #100.

When the ceremony is over, the bride will go home with the family of the groom signifying that the two are now husband and wife.

In Umudioka town , "Idu Uno" is practiced.  Idu Uno is when the family of the bride officially goes and visit the home where their daughter will be living. Note that the previous ceremony and meetings took place in the bride's family home.

The bride's family buys cooking utensils, bed-sheets, boxes, sewing machine, bed, pillow cases, plates, clothes and other things newly married couples need to start a life and family.

Also, the bride's family along with their extended families sets a date to visit the couple with all the goods they bought. On "Idu Uno" day, the wife's family will give the newly married couple all the things they bought for them.

This is usually done to give newly married couple a head start by defraying some of their expenses. Marriage ceremonies in Umudioka can be a long and expensive undertaking, but they are usually worth every kobo., because our daughters are the best to get married to.

Mgbatogu Victor Chukwudi (Observer)
Umudioka, Dunukọfịa LGA, Anambra State