Bride

wedding
My cousin, Onyinye, dancing in at her Igba Nkwu.

 

The bride may or may not be in attendance for the Iku Aka part of the introductions, depending on whether or not she lives with her parents. If she lives with her parents, she would be called in and asked for her consent as to whether or not she wants to accept the prospective groom’s proposal. If she answers ‘yes’, then the gifts (kola nuts and drinks) are accepted and shared, and then more visits would be scheduled. If she answers ‘no’, then the meeting would come to an end. In the case where the bride doesn’t live with her parents, then her family will tell the groom that he will be contacted with her response.

The bride’s family are the hosts for the marriage introductions and the Igba Nkwu (wine-carrying ceremony). Bride’s family is also responsible for catering for the bride’s suitor and his family during all their marriage introduction visits.

During the Igba Nkwu, the bride’s task, which is the highlight of the entire traditional wedding, is to publily find and point out man she is to marry. How it works is everyone is seated in groups – with the groom is seated in the midst of his family members and friends. The bride’s father starts lavishing and pronouncing marriage blessings upon her, and then gives her a cup or glass of palm wine to hand the man that she has agreed to marry. The groom will now be hidden within the large crowd of attendees and the bride is required to search him out, and offer him the palm wine while kneeling down. If he accepts it and drinks, it signifies to the public that he is “the one.” After the bride finds her groom and he drinks the palm wine, blessings will be pronounced on the couple by their parents, and after that, they p a r t a y – the couple are now man and wife. Some couples include the traditional cake and cake cutting as part of their ceremony.

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The bride has found her husband, now she offers him the palm wine.

During the Igba Nkwu ceremony, families and well-wishers give the couple gifts, and it is also an opportunity for the bride’s parents to shower their daughter with lots of gifts to show their love. Typical gifts are cooking utensils and kitchenware for the bride’s new home. After the Igba Nkwu, the next stage is the visitation by the bride’s family (also known as Bia Malu Ulo, which translates to “come know where I live.”) During this visit, the bride’s parents and extended family come visit her in her new home to see how she is doing, and make sure she’s happy.

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