Traditional Marriages in Nigeria’s Different Ethnic Groups

Filed in Articles by on July 9, 2020

Traditional Marriages in Nigeria’s Different Ethnic Groups.

Traditional Marriages in Nigeria: It is a custom that traditional marriage in Nigeria is done before white/church weddings as cultural demands. In different parts of Nigeria, traditional marriage involves the following.

Traditional Marriages in Nigeria


It is a habitual practice in Nigeria that traditional marriage is done before church weddings.

Traditional Marriages in Different Nigeria Include:

Introducing the Suitor to the Bride’s Family.

This is the first stage of traditional marriage and it is done in all parts of Nigeria. This is when the suitor goes with his family to visit his wife-to-be parents and make them aware of his intention towards their daughter.

Requirements From Both Families.

After introducing the suitor, and the bride’s family agree, her family then gives a list of items to the groom and his people, which they will have to provide before the fixed date for the traditional marriage. The lists of items could be handwritten or orally given. The traditional marriage requirements can be very expensive or cheap, depending on which part of Nigeria.

Fixing the Traditional Marriage Date.

Fixing of dates can sometimes be done when presenting the requirements depending on the would-be wife’s family. Both families sometimes decide that both church and traditional marriage be done on the same day.

Paying of Bride Price by the Groom and Handing Over of the Bride to the Groom’s Family.

The bride price is usually paid on the traditional marriage ceremony depending on the culture of the tribe e.g. Itsekiri, Edo, Urhobo tribes. On the occasion, the requirements will be inspected to be sure it meets the required standard before the family of the bride’s hands over the bride to the groom’s family.

Traditional marriages are in different parts of Nigeria are celebrated similarly. The only difference is in the requirements and wedding expenditure.

How Traditional Marriage Ceremony is Done in Different Parts of Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria

The bride price in the Northern part of Nigeria is very low. It is usually called ‘Rubu Dinar’(meaning “quarter kilogram of gold piece”). This goes along with de Islamic tenets that payment of a low amount of bride price warrants a fruitful marriage.

South-Eastern Nigeria.

The bride price in the Igbo-land is very high, this is the reason why there are more bachelors in this tribe. The marriage requirements list is divided into categories: the umumma / kinsmen of the bride, the umuada/kindred daughters, ndi ozor, etc, excluding other gifts such as wrappers, high target, beers, palmwine, etc. Igbo weddings are usually the largest in Nigeria.

South-Western Nigeria.

The bride price is low in the South-Western part of Nigeria but their marriage receptions are usually very expensive, especially if the families are rich.

South-South Nigeria.

The part of Nigeria with the lowest bride price is the South-South. E.g. in Edo State i.e Ehbosa (Ishan), the bride price is as low as 60 Naira while it costs 120Naira in Abraka (Urhobo) in Delta State.

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CSN Team.

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