Weddings are the cream of all events amongst Nigerians, especially the Yoruba people in South-western part of the country. They are naturally fabulous, cultured and smart at revelling and ‘investing’ on social events.
Wedding begins with the Yoruba people from courtship. Customarily, though hardly obtainable today, a suitor browses (in the community) and picks the woman of his dreams.
Then a mediator liaises with the both the man and woman for respect and avoidance of sexual intimacy too-early. The go-between guy is called ‘The Alarina’. He travels between the man and the woman to convey expressions of love and other juicy romantic details.
If the union gets intimate, parents and informed and involved to officialise the process toward wedding and marriage.
Then investigations kicks in from both families. They research physically, culturally and spiritually if there no anomalies. Perhaps if there is no hereditary sickness or an evil pattern.
Afterward, the man’s parents would then arrange to pay a visit to the prospective bride’s parents to ask for their daughter’s hand and as well set a wedding date.
Once consent is granted, introduction of both families for proper familiarisation is the next thing.
This introduction stage is known as “Mo mi i mo e” (know me and let me know you). The payment of bride price is also arranged at this stage.
Introductions may be moderate or elaborate, depending on what they want. Key family members and extended relatives are obliged to attend as two families are about to become one.
The wedding day is set with all its pomp and pageantry that come with a typical Yoruba wedding.
Partying, feasting, dancing and Also Ebi (family party uniform) are the imperatives. Bride Price is very affordable in the Yoruba wedding culture. It could be as affordable as $100 as they Yorubas believe ‘they are not selling their children and Bride Price is just symbolic’.
In those days, after this glamorous ceremony, the bride is seen to her husband’s house by family and friends to the doorstep of her new home in a ritual called “Ekun Iyawo” meaning ‘The cry of the new bride’.
This reflects the bride’s sorrow for leaving her parents’ home. It also signifies her arrival in a new home amid fear and anxieties.
At the doorstep of her husband’s house, she is prayed for and her legs are washed. It is believed that she is washing every bad-luck that she might have brought into her husband’s house away.
Thenceforth, she begins a new life and her parents never expect her to return, no matter what. Endurance and long-suffering are what she must arm herself with if she is ‘true’ Yoruba woman.
If she returns or divorces on any ground, she is highly stigmatised as dragging her family name to the mud – ‘O n dale mo su’.