Just engaged your bride to be? And you two are planning to have an Igbo Traditional wedding? Then, this guide is for you! Today, we will be sharing details of the Igbo customary engagement list of gifts to take to a bride’s family during the marriage introduction. With an overview of the igbo traditional marriage process and customs, giving you an idea of costs, what to expect etc.
In the Igbo tradition, once you’re engaged, the Introduction ceremony follows, usually called the Iku aka, where the bride’s parents & her extended family, gives consent to the groom to marry her. After a successful completion of this process, the groom’s family will be given a list of the next steps to enable them budget and prepare for the customary Igbo traditional marriage ceremony.
During the Igbo traditional wedding, the groom completes the following traditional marriage rites, which includes: the bride price payment (ime ego) with presentation of the engagement list, and the formal traditional wedding party ( igba-nkwu).
The Igbo Engagement List
Below is a detailed kist of items the groom is expected to take to the bride’s family for the traditional marriage.
1. Gifts for the Umu-ada
These are gifts give. To the daughters in the bride’s immediate & extended family. This includes the following items….
1. Wrappers (George or Abada such as Vlisco Hollandais, ABC, Nigerian Wax)
2. Igbo-style lace blouses
3. Igbo Ichafu scarfs in different styles and colours
4. Shoes and bags in different styles and colours
5. Jewellery including wrist watches, earrings, necklaces and rings in either gold, silver, gold plated/ GL
6. Toiletries including bath soaps, body creams, washing detergents, perfumes etc.
8. Drinks (malt and soft drinks)
9. Lump sum cash gift
2. Gifts for the Umunna
These items are shared amongst the males/ heads of the extended family of the bride to be.
1. Kola nuts
2. Palm wine (in gallons/ jerry cans)
3. Bottles of hot drinks
4. Cartons of assorted drinks (malt, soft drinks and beer)
5. Tobacco snuff
6. Cigarettes (rolls)
7. Goat (1)
8. Lump sum cash gift
3. General Gifts (Nmepe Uzo)
In English language, “nmepe uzo’ literally means ‘to open the door’.
1. Bride price – Negotiable
2. Cartons of star beer (2)
3. Cartons of guinness stout (2)
4. Cartons of malt (2)
5. Crates of soft drinks (6)
6. Bottles of hot drinks/ whisky (3)
7. Tubers of yam (30)
8. Bags of rice (2)
9. Bags of salt (2)
10. Onions (30)
11. Palm oil (one 10 or 25 litres gallon)
12. Groundnut oil (25 litres)
13. Kerosene (1 gallon)
14. Stock fish (1 basin)
15. Meat – goat leg (2)
16. Bread (25 loaves)
17. Tins of Tomatoes (1 carton)
18. Tins of Milk (1 carton)
19. Tablet soap (1 carton)
20. Talc powder – big size: saturday night powder or morning rose powder (20)
21. Tobacco snuff (20 heads)
22. Cigarettes (10 packets)
23. Big basins (2)
24. 5 sets of (George or Abada such as Vlisco Hollandais, ABC, Nigerian Wax)
25. Igbo style lace blouses (2)
26. Igbo Ichafu scarfs (2)
27. Wrist watches (2 or more)
28. Gold necklaces (2 or more)
29. Large suitcase (1)
30. Lamp / Lantern (1)
31. Umbrella (3)
4. Cash Gifts (During the Ime-Ego/ Bride Price ceremony)
These are symbolic cash gifts – the groom and his family may negotiate each one down. These include:
1. Money to bring down the pot from the fire (in igbo: ego nfotu ite) – N1,000
2. Money to open the wine keg (ego ncha kishi udu or in some ibo dialects, ego nkwupu udu) – N1,000
3. Money for in-laws (ego ogo cherem) – N50,000 (Ogo cherem literally means ‘inlaw, wait for me)
4. Money for maternity bill (ego maternity) – N1,000
5. Money for the village chief (ego onye eze) – N1,500
6. Lump sum cash (ogwe ego) – N5,000
Watch this video, to see how the Igba nkwu ceremony is conducted. This is actually an inter-tribal wedding, between a Yoruba groom and an Igbo bride. Very informative….
This list may seem exhaustive, but grooms to be do not be discouraged! These days a lot of parents are cutting down some of the items on the list, a lot actually in exchange for an intending groom to make a commitment to take good care of their daughter and her future children.
If you are an igbo bride or a groom married or about to get married to an ibo girl, what do you think about this list? Are there items on your engagement list, which is not on the above list? Tell us…
So if you are from the South-South, or South-East or getting married to someone from those areas, then this is basically what is expected of you for the traditional marriage.
Please note: Truth is these, some part of igboland demand more than these why some demand less, everything depends on the girl’s family some parents are very very considerate and would not allow the umuadas and umunna(kinsmen) exploit their in-law to be why some parents are greedy. Some girls too are to blame, when they brag about their fiance being very rich people around take note and will want to squeeze d life out of d poor guy whenever he comes knocking . Nevertheless there is no free or cheap wife in Igbo Land as they believe that you only appreciate what you spend money on.