South-East & South-South Weddings
So you think the marriage list is to measure the worth of a woman who is about to prolong your lineage and family name?
So you think the marriage list is to put a value on a human who is about to leave everything behind and make you the center of her life??
Or wait?? You probably think a marriage list is a form of extortion by the bride family just because you are doing them a favor of marrying their daughter???… Well, if at this point you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s why we took it upon ourselves, delving into a rigorous process of research to bring to you the untold truth about the marriage list.
The marriage list. How did it come about? What is in the marriage list? What exactly is the essence of the marriage list? And why and when did the marriage list become so controversial?. The major significance of the bridal marriage list was a symbolism that the groom would take proper care of his bride in marriage. But it is quite unfortunate, that most of the generosity ends there.
Over the years things changed. Men became stingy, sex became cheap and the bridal marriage list became exorbitant. According to our source Nne Ukwu meaning grandmother, this became so, in order for the bride to have some items she can use to cater for herself and of course the babies that would follow. Nne Ukwu went ahead to give us real-life instances of men who never again bought even a pant for their wives throughout their lifetime as man and wife.
Now am very certain this category of women would have been wishing their marriage list was longer. Just for curiosity sake, what do you think women like this would do when it is their daughters turn to marry???.
Let us take an overview of what a marriage list is and what it looks like. It varies from culture to culture. In focus, today is the SouthEast and South-South cultures. That is the IGBO, IBIBIO, AND EFIK.
The Igbo Wedding
The Igbo traditional marriage list is broken into various categories, as follows:
The Umu-Ada list
In English, umu-ada means daughters. In this case, the gifts for the ‘umu ada’ would be shared among all the grown daughters in the bride’s extended family. Gifts included…..
- Wrappers (George or Abada such as Vlisco Hollandais, ABC, Nigerian Wax)
- Igbo-style lace blouses
- Igbo Ichafu scarfs (assorted styles and colors)
- Shoes and bags (assorted designs and colors)
- Jewelry (wristwatches, earrings, necklaces, and rings in either gold, silver, gold plated/ GL)
- Toiletries (bath soaps, body creams, washing detergents, perfumes and so on)
- Drinks (malt and soft drinks)
- Lump sum cash gift
The Umunna list
The items in this category will be shared amongst the males/ heads of the extended family of the bride to be.
- Kola nuts
- Palm wine (in gallons/ jerry cans)
- Bottles of hot drinks
- Cartons of assorted drinks (malt, soft drinks and beer)
- Tobacco snuff
- Cigarettes (rolls)
- Goat (1)
- Lump sum cash gift
In English language, “nmepe uzo’ literally means ‘to open the door’.
- Bride price – Negotiable
- Cartons of star beer (2)
- Cartons of Guinness stout (2)
- Cartons of malt (2)
- Crates of soft drinks (6)
- Bottles of hot drinks/ whiskey (3)
- Tubers of yam (30)
- Bags of rice (2)
- Bags of salt (2)
- Onions (30)
- Palm oil (one 10 or 25 liters gallon)
- Groundnut oil (25 liters)
- Kerosene (1 gallon)
- Stockfish (1 basin)
- Meat – goat leg (2)
- Bread (25 loaves)
- Tins of Tomatoes (1 carton)
- Tins of Milk (1 carton)
- Tablet soap (1 carton)
- Talc powder – big size: Saturday night powder or morning rose powder (20)
- Tobacco snuff (20 heads)
- Cigarettes (10 packets)
- Big basins (2)
- 5 sets of (George or Abada such as Vlisco Hollandais, ABC, Nigerian Wax)
- Igbo style lace blouses (2)
- Igbo Ichafu scarfs (2)
- Wristwatches (2 or more)
- Gold necklaces (2 or more)
- Large suitcase (1)
- Lamp / Lantern (1)
- Umbrella (3)
List for the bride
- Clothes: different types and quality
- Kitchen utensils: mortar, grinding stone, pots, plates etc. most of these items were also to be bought by the bride’s family for “idu ulo” meaning accompanying home.
- 2-3 boxes.
The Ibibio Wedding
List of Traditional Marriage Items for the Father of the bride (Mkpo Ete)
- One goat
- One bottle of 3-in-1 whiskey
- One carton of schnapps
- Wrappers like Hollandis, George material etc
- Cartons of assorted beers
- Limestone, kola, and snuffs
- One shirt, socks and singlet
- One hat, umbrella, walking stick
- Agreed amount of money(cash)
List of Traditional Marriage Items for the Mother of the bride (Mkpo Eka)
- One native goat
- One bottle of brandy
- One lace material
- Cartons of beers
- One shoe, bra, head tie and under-wears
- 4 crates of soft drinks
- Wrappers like Hollandis, George etc
- One lace blouse, headgear, and accessories
- Cash for the money ranging from #30,000
Reference: Lists from Infoguidenigeria.com
List for the Ibibio/Efik Bride
One of the major items to be presented is a box ‘EKEBE’ which contains different kinds of clothing, accessories, shoes to show how the groom will take care of the wife he is to be given.
In most cases, the bride’s list tends to be the smallest part of the equation. And she still ends up using these items with her husband. So why the hassle? Now you know that this isn’t about “kicking it back” to the bride’s family for all the money and time and prayers invested in raising her. No! you cannot pay any parent enough money for a child.
Finally, I would like to point out that the expectation is not just on the groom alone. Where I come from, there is something called THE FATTENING ROOM.
THE FATTENING ROOM
In preparation for marriage, a prospective bride is sent to a designated room called the fattening room. Here, The girl is usually cared for by elderly women of her clan but not necessarily her mother. The fattening room aims at teaching the girl how to prepare special delicacies, how to be GOOD in bed, I mean every minute detail by professionals and basically how to raise a happy family.
The girl often acquires an admirable waistline, a fresh and robust look and a smooth skin as a result of traditional massage and skin therapy. She also acquires skills like calabash making and special dance steps which she will display on the day of her marriage.
Even though this is basically an old tradition, this practice is still highly revered. But Being an old tradition, the duration of the fattening room now depends on how fast the girl acquires skills and responds to beauty therapy but in recent times the rites are carried out a day or two before the marriage ceremony. A graduation ceremony takes place after fattening room and this ceremony is always scheduled to hold on the traditional marriage day or a day before.
Now, you tell me, you can pay for all these for a lifetime?? Then I think she would likely be given to the highest bidder. A woman is not a commodity, change you mindset brother.
Well, that’s all for now. You can share your thoughts and how its done where you come from with us. We are social.