According to Ebira traditional marriage customs, a man never walks to his in-laws to inform them of his interest in their daughter; instead, his parents and mostly elderly women from his family do this.
They will go to the girl’s parents to introduce themselves and the reasons for coming. It is also their duty to conduct a thorough investigation of the lady’s family backgrounds. Such as her upbringing, family history, how well behaved she is. Every other necessary detail about the girl and her family is also investigated.
A date is usually chosen after some time for the formal introduction of both families. As a way of bringing to open what has been going on in secret. This is called in Kogi language “Ise Ewere”. During this initial introduction, some gift is usually giving to the bride’s family. A suitor is even allowed the freedom of presenting all the necessary ‘gifts’.
As it is usually called because Kogi people shy away from addressing it as a list in a bid not to make it sound mandatory.
The Gifts As Part Of Traditional Marriage Requirements In Kogi
- Forty-two tubers of yam
- Hot drinks, Assorted wines, and Minerals
- Kola nuts
- Walking stick for the father
- Dried fish or bushmeat
- 10 liters of palm oil
- Groundnut oil
- Palm oil
- A bag of salt
- Clothing materials in some boxes
- Pieces of jewelry and Adornment for the lady
- Cash for the clan members and family elders
- Though optional, a groom may decide to present two wrappers to his wife to be
Then after this comes the day of general introduction which the groom may not necessarily attend because his family members are usually handy to do anything on his behalf.
The bride’s family on their own entertains the groom’s family with foods and drinks in an occasion which affords them the fine opportunities of introducing both families properly. Meanwhile, the gifts that the groom provided are shared among the neighbors and the extended relations to solicit for their prayers and to inform them that the lady is now betrothed to a man of her choice.
The bride price of a Kogi lady is usually agreed by the parents of the girl and it depends to a greater extent, on the financial status of the man. There are other prices here and there to be paid after the initial bride price and they include the following:
“OTANUVOGEI” which literally means, ‘Joining hands together’
“OZEMEIYI” which means ‘I am attracted to her’
“IDOZA” stands for the farming price, which the groom pays in place of physically going to work in the farm for his father-in-law as in the olden days.
When the day of the traditional marriage arrives, you would see women from the man’s family each carrying tubers of yams on their heads in a dancing procession to the bride’s home. The occasion is always said to kick off as soon as the women arrive the bride’s home.
During the occasion, a religious leader is usually called to offer prayers along with both parents for the success of the union. After which the traditionally rich and colorful occasion would be brought to an end and the new wife’s friends with other women escort the lady to her husband’s home with her belongings.
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Image: Eyes of Sanity