The Itsekiri (also called the, Isekiri, Itsekri or Ishekiri or Itsekhiri) are a peculiar and unique riverine people who were traditionally fishermen and skillful traders living in the Nigerian Niger delta. They have inhabited their homeland, which now constitutes the three Warri Local Government Areas of Delta State, Nigeria, for centuries. The Itsekiri make up an appreciable proportion of the modern towns of Sapele, Warri, Burutu, and Forcados. The Itsekiris traditionally refer to their land as the Kingdom of Warri or ‘Iwere’ as its proper name.
There’s something fascinating about the Itsekiri culture! It’s slightly different with regards to their traditional wedding, which is that they do not collect a bride price from the groom’s family, unlike other tribes in Nigeria. The bride’s family give out a list of items the grooms family needs to bring to the traditional wedding ceremony. This includes, clothes, Jewelries, food items, Drinks, wines and many more….
Itsekiri brides have to put on 3 maiden looks – Gold, Silver and Coral on their wedding day. The bride wears silver to greet the elders and confirm the man has come to marry her, she usually comes out unveiled. After the Silver look, she comes back out with a white and purple look which is the full Itsekiri outfit and the couple’s union is blessed by the elders.
Items such as kolanut, hot drinks and a chest of beads were used to perform the marriage rites.
Usually traditional rites performed at the wedding are in style of the Bride’s Itsekiri culture, however, for this wedding, there were also rites performed at the reception, from the groom’s Kalabari culture. This particular rite is called ‘Bibife’ which literally means ‘buying of mouth’.
This is a ceremony that allows her to eat in her husband’s house. The groom and his family pretty much pay some money so that the bride could cook and eat in his house. They present all kinds of food laid out and when they tried to feed the bride, she refuses until they put some money to the table. Soon after the bride thanks the groom with a piece of cloth and plenty kisses. According to tradition, the couple are to wrap their first baby in the cloth used.
This is where the elders inspect the husband (they check to see if he has his complete 10 toes and 10 fingers), when he has been inspected, certified and ‘accepted’, they then go ahead and bless the union.
At the end of it all, Tosan and Emi dressed up in the groom’s traditional attire. The attire is a Royal look for a King and Queen, which is called Attigra.
Photography – BK Concept ~ Email [email protected] ~ Facebook: www.facebook.com/bkconcept ~ IG: @bkconcept
Wedding Planner & Coordinator – Tres bien Events
Reception Decor – Dezua Events
Bride’s Makeup – Jojos Touch