TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE IN OKPE KINGDOM (From Dr. (Prince) I. S. Mebitaghan, A BRIEF HISTORY OF OKPE KINGDOM, New Era Publications, Benin City, Nigeria, 2001, pp. 51-57). (Reproduced with the permission of the author). MARRIAGE is the process of a union between a male and female during which both enter into a contract to be husband and wife. The families of the couple eventually are involved in the entire process to ensure a successful lasting union. The process begins with the period of courtship, the length of which varies between individuals involved. When both have eventually made up their minds about each other, the girl then unfolds her love affairs to her mother, to gain her support and necessary advice from time to time. At a convenient time, the suitor, accompanied by a few friends and relations, approach the girl’s parents with drinks, kolanuts and money to inform them of his intention to marry their daughter. On acceptance of the proposal, and, at a suitable time, the formal introduction of both families takes place. The ceremony begins with the host family welcoming the guests with drinks, kolanuts and some amount of money, usually presented by a spokesman (Otota) of the group. The spokesman of the guests accepts the presentations on behalf of the group. Prayer is said with the kolanuts and drinks according to the religion of those involved (Christian or Traditional religion), using broken kolanuts and some money by the guests is then followed by the announcement of the purpose of their visit, namely: to request the hands of the hosts’ daughter in marriage to their son. On acceptance of the requests, the formal introduction of both families takes place. A second presentation of drinks, kolanuts, and money is undertaken as a demonstration of the suitor’s appreciation for the acceptance of his request. Detail of the date and plans for the traditional marriage is later conveyed to the family of the bride-to-be through their spokesman, after due consultation with the spokesman of the groom-tobe. A list of the requirements for the marriage is also given to the groom-to-be through their spokesman. Thereafter, the spokesmen of both families continue with all the negotiations strictly in accordance with the wish of both families. At the end of the meeting, money, kolanuts and hot drinks are usually offered to thank the family of the bride-to-be for accepting his request. This acceptance fee is known as ‘Igho Arhonvberen.’ The list of items to be provided by the groom-to-be is made available to him and include the following: $ One walking stick. One hat. $ $ One 12-yard decent wrapper “george.”
These are to be made available to the father of the bride-to-be on or before the actual date of the marriage. For the Mother, the following items will be provided: $ for circumcision (Igho Osamo) N200.00 (Two hundred Naira) or more. $ In lieu of labour pains of the bride-to-be’s mother, the sum of two hundred naira or more is provided. For the Older women (Egwemese) in the bride’s family a bag of salt and N200.00 (Two hundred Naira) or more is provided. For the Youths of the bride-to-be and family, N300.00 (three hundred Naira) or more. For the Family Members (Ekrun): $ A jar of palm wine of up to 20 litres. This will be used during the main marriage ceremony during which some amount of money is “sprayed” possibly on all the participants. $ Some kolanuts and hot drinks. $ A jar of native brewed gin, 20 litres. For the Bride-To-Be, the following items are to be presented: $ 4 or 5 sets of wrapper outfit (George). $ Head ties to match. $ 4 to 5 blouses. 2 to 4 pairs of shoes and hand bags to match. $ $ A set of jewelry and coral beads. For the Unmarried Girls in the Family (Egbortor): $ N300.00 (Three hundred Naira) or more is usually given. On the appointed day of the marriage ceremony as earlier agreed upon by both parties, the following procedures will be adopted: The traditional marriage ceremony usually commences at 12:00...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document