Marriages in Nigeria

Two major types of marriage exist in Nigeria: monogamy, a marriage of one man to one woman, and polygyny, a marriage of one man to two or more wives. In most cultural groups in Nigeria, traditional marriage is usually an arrangement between two families as opposed to an arrangement between two individuals. Accordingly, there is pressure on the bride and bridegroom to make the marriage work as any problem will usually affect both families and strain the otherwise cordial relationship between them. In most Nigerian cultures, the man usually pays the dowry or bride-price and is thus considered the head of the family.

Adultery is acceptable for men, but forbidden for women. Marriage ceremonies vary among Nigerian cultures. Idoma marriage. The Idoma people live in central Nigeria, in the Benue State. The myth of their origin states that they are descended from the Zulu tribe of South Africa. They are mainly warriors. Some of their subgroups are the Adors, Otupas, Ogbanibos, Apas, Ofokanus and Owukpas. Marriage in Idoma land is considered a lifelong state, although divorce is possible on the grounds of A Nigerian bride and groom at their wedding ceremony.

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In most cultural groups in Nigeria, traditional marriage is an arrangement between two families rather than an arrangement between two individuals. KERSTIN GEIER/CORBIS adultery or other concrete reasons. When an Idoma man is at least twenty-five years old and has the financial and physical capacity to maintain a wife and children, he searches for and finds a woman of his choice, who is at least eighteen years old. He reports his findings to his family, which then chooses a go-between, a person who is familiar with the girl’s family.

The go-between investigates the family of the prospective bride to ascertain that the family has no history of mental disease, epilepsy, or similar problems. If the result of this investigation is positive, the prospective groom’s family visits the woman’s family with gifts of kola nut and hot drinks. After the first visit, another visit is scheduled for the woman to meet her future husband, after which a final visit is scheduled for the future groom and his family to pay the bride-price and offer other gifts. If the woman refuses to marry the man after these gifts have been provided, the groom’s family keeps them (Omokhodion 1998).

On the wedding day, in addition to the bride-price, the groom must pay a dowry first to the bride’s mother and then another dowry to the father; this involves a significant amount of bargaining. Also every member of the bride’s mother’s family must be given money, with the groom’s family determining the amount. The bride’s age group and her more distant relatives also are given money, with the amount varying with level of the bride’s education and productivity. Then the groom’s family gives the bride a rooster and some money.

If she accepts these gifts and gives them to her mother, she indicates her acceptance of the groom, but if she refuses, she signifies her refusal. If she accepts him, she is showered with gifts and money, and the two families eat and drink together. Before the bride is finally handed over to her husband, however, her age group will pose as a mock barrier to those who want to take her and extort money from the anxious groom’s family. The bride’s mother buys her cooking utensils and food because she is not expected to go to the market for the first five market days after her marriage.

At the end of the eating and drinking, the wife is finally handed over to her husband’s family. (Omokhodion 1998). Ideally the bride should be a virgin at marriage, which brings pride and joy to her family. If she is found not to be a virgin, she is taken to the husband’s family’ ancestral shrine for cleansing. After this the Ije is put on her to invoke fertility on her. This marks the beginning of married life among the Idoma tribe. Marriage in Okrika land. Okrika is located in the eastern part of the Niger Delta of Nigeria, in the Rivers State. The Okrika clan is made up of nine major towns and more than fifteen villages.

The fifteen villages are known as Iwoama (new towns). Okrika is the largest town with the largest population and is the administrative and traditional headquarters of the clan. In the Wakirike area, there are two main types of marriages—the Ya or Iyaye and the Igwa. The Ya marriage ceremony involves certain customary functions that precede the consummation of the marriage. Here the bride and groom must come from the same tribe. When the husband is ready, members of the family assemble for the essential marriage rites, including the tying of the knot.

The man is required to produce three to five pieces of kano cloth or Ikpo, one piece of real India cloth, or injiri, four yards of raffia palm cloth sewn together (okuru), and another separate yard of the same material. If the husband is wealthy, he adds additional kinds of cloth. He also provides three or four large pots of palm wine and twenty-two or twenty-four manila. These offerings are placed in the shrine of the family ancestors, and an elderly person in the family takes up the single yard of raffia cloth and ties the knot. The husband and wife stand before the shrine, side by side.

The elder then ties the raffia cloth round the waist of the wife seven times, each time uttering some words that invoke blessings on the couple. Palm wine is poured into a drinking cup, and the bride and groom drink from it simultaneously. The knot has thus been tied, and divorce becomes virtually impossible. The single yard of raffia cloth is the essential thing to make the marriage binding. In case of unavoidable divorce as aresult of adultery on the woman’s part, the parents of the wife are bound to return double the cumulative expenses of the husband (Ikiriko 1984).

The second system, Igwa, means mixed; the woman and the man may marry even though they are from different families. A woman married under the Ya system can be married under Igwa if the Ya husband is not living with her as husband and wife under the same roof. All offspring of this second marriage belong not to the biological father but to the Ya husband, who by custom is regarded as their legal father. If the woman has not been previously married to any man under the Ya system, children from the Igwa marriage belong either to the lawful husband of the wife’s mother or to her brothers.

However, the once unchangeable custom of the possession of children born under the Igwa system of marriage is relaxing under the pressure of modern times. Many adult men and young people engage in Igwa marriage if their previous marriage produced no children (Omokhodion 1998).

Read more: Nigeria – Marriages In Nigeria – Single Parent, Family, History, Bride, and Family – JRank Articles http://family. jrank. org/pages/1211/Nigeria-Marriages-in-Nigeria. html#ixzz2EIxh1sHR

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