There are always no appropriate words for describing the elation that come with agreement between two people to get locked in marriage. While the euphoria lasts comes the challenge of the traditional ceremony.
As soon as approval is given to the marriage by both families, the next thing to do is plan for the great day. This involves advices on why and wherefore and what of the traditional engagement in Yoruba culture. Below are some of the things that will help you in keeping track of the culture.
The venue of the engagement is usually the first thing after concrete planning and agreement. Any place can serve but marriage is always worth the effort. Thus, it is proper to seek a place with adequate shelter such as marquee or halls. The beauty of your wedding will shin if you can secure a place sheltered from the heat of the sun or where people will not scamper in attempt to escape the rain.
Traditional marriage décor often start with choosing colour theme for your wedding. It is always advisable to sit with your event planner or decorator to discuss your vision. As soon as you make clear your picture of the day, the person will turn around things to bring out the best of your need. Of course, your event planner will take care of the engagement chairs and other things necessary for a smooth traditional wedding.
In respect to dress code, Aso Ebi, it is important that the two families sit down and decide among the families for harmony. The bride would need to chose a colour for her friends and would have to be a colour that heightens the theme.
On the Master of Ceremony, often times a female, called Alaga Ijoko because of her role in representing the bride’s family which the groom’s family would come and meet and commence the first part of the ceremony. She introduces the brides and grooms parents, organizes the reading of letter, introduces the groom to the bride’s family and makes the groom and his friends beg for the bride by prostrating in the front of the bride’s family. Then, she ends it with ushering in the bride. The second MC, usually called the Alaga Iduro, takes over the second part of the ceremony and introduces the bride to the groom’s family and takes them for acceptance. She then continues and coordinates the payment of the bride price which is often returned to the groom’s family because according to the bride’s family, they are not selling the daughter but giving her in marriage. She, at the same time, accepts the items brought by the groom’s family to the bride’s family.
As obtainable in Igbo culture, the Yorubas have an engagement list which the groom’s family presents to the bride’s family at the ceremony. It is important to note that there is penalty or fine for failure to include any listed item. I have brought together a list of items. There may be others left out in the list. The ones below are basic items.
One big suitcase Engagement Ring
Engagement Bible 2 different pairs of shoes and bags
2 Head top-class Gears Gold wrist watch
4 other assorted clothes 42 pieces of kola nuts
42 pieces of Bitter kola 42 pieces of Alligator Pepper
1 Decanter of Pure Honey 1 Big Dish of peppered Corn meal
1 big dish of sugar 42 pieces of dry Fish
1 big dish of Salt 42 pieces of big Yam
1 roll of Sugar 1 big bag of Salt
Umbrella 4 Cartons of Five Alive
4 Crates of Can Drinks 6 bottles of Wine
2 crates of Can Malt 1 empty Decanter
Packaged fee to open the gifts on this list – ₦500
Dowry – ₦5000
Money for all male – ₦500
Money for all female – ₦500
Money for all wives in the family – ₦500
Money for all the elders in the family – ₦1,000
Money to bring the bride – ₦1000
Money to unveil the bride – ₦1000
Entrance fee – ₦1000
Money for bride’s father’s consent – ₦500
Money for phone calls – ₦500
Money for travel to groom’s family house – ₦ 500
Reading of letter – ₦500
Money for MC – ₦500
In response to the letter of proposal, the groom’s family has to bring a formal written proposal to the bride’s family indicating the groom’s interest in their daughter. The letter is often read by the groom’s siblings. In turn, the bride’s family would provide a formal acceptance letter and should be read by the bride’s siblings.
Everyone would like to keep a memory of his/her marriage day, so capturing important moments of the day ought to have been arranged beforehand. This is the work of photographers who take full photo shots as well as video coverage.
This is not all. Those who have passed this stage would better help those planning for initiation into true adulthood with useful information. Feel free to share your experience.