About Nigerian Wedding Traditions
Nigerian weddings are known for their unique and exciting traditions. Like many other cultures, a Nigerian wedding is more than just celebrating the love of two people but also celebrating the joining of two families. The festivities are full of bright colors, gorgeous attire, and lots of food! Below is an introduction to Nigerian weddings, highlighting the major moments and traditions that you can expect to experience if you’re lucky enough to attend one as a guest or a wedding vendor.
As with most African countries, Nigerian wedding traditions are observed long before the actual wedding date. The rites kick off with an introduction ceremony, where both families come together, perhaps for the first time. The families will exchange gifts with one another as they get to know each other. The groom’s family will also be presented with a list of the required items for dowry.
Although not as common in today’s day and age, it is traditional for a list to be presented to the groom including, clothes, food, and other items. If the bride has extended education, the dowry will be more extensive. The groom is expected to provide all the items listed to the bride and her family. If the groom cannot provide some of the things on the list, he can give money equal to the value of those items. If the bride’s family is satisfied, they’ll give their blessings.
Proper Wedding Attire
One of the best Nigerian wedding traditions is the unique attires! Nigerian traditional wedding dresses are known as ‘aso oke’. The attire is made of thick fabric with long sleeves that widen at the wrists and a kaftan-like skirt, which the bride ties around her waist. Nigerian traditional wedding dresses are also detailed with lace and beads.
The Nigerian male traditional wedding attire is known as ‘buba’. It is a top with matching pants. An oversized robe with open sleeves is draped over the top. It is known as an ‘agbada’. The Nigerian male traditional wedding attire is made complete by adding a ‘fila’, which is a hat worn by Yoruba men.
The bride and groom are not the only ones that get to wear traditional attire. The guests also wear traditional clothes chosen by the bride and groom. These attires are known as ‘aso-ebi’, which translates to family clothes. Just by glancing at someone, you will know which side of the family they belong to.
It’s a long-standing tradition where the guests throw money at the newlyweds. Money spraying can be done at any point during the wedding ceremony, but it is popularly done when the newlyweds are dancing. This signifies well wishes and good fortune for the Mr. & Mrs. The Money Dance tradition is common at Mexican and Filipino weddings as well!
Elder Sibling First
In the Igbo community, marriages follow seniority; younger brothers are expected to put off their weddings until all their older siblings are married. The same tradition applies to women as well.
Lifting the Bride
In some western weddings, it is common for the groom to carry his bride over the threshold. This act is a modest show by the bride. It signifies the bride’s bond with her family. It shows that the bride isn’t eager to leave her family, but she must because she loves her man. The groom carries her into a new life. Nigerian grooms will also carry their brides. However, their interpretation is a bit different. It’s a show of strength. It signifies that the groom will take care of the love of his life.
Nigerian Wedding Food
The bride and groom aren’t expected to handle the catering for their big day. The bride’s mother is responsible for the food and ensuring all guests are fed and happy!
Double The Fun | Traditional vs. Western Ceremonies
Nigerian couples are respectful to their roots and will incorporate a traditional Nigerian Ceremony with all the expected components. However, couples are also choosing to hold a second ceremony with a beautiful white gown and show-stopping tuxedo while also following American traditions such as the bouquet and garter toss.
Nigerian wedding traditions are eccentric, but beautiful at the same time. Their weddings are full of beauty, elegance, and the right degree of pomp.
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