I grew up catholic though I wasn’t an hard core one. I chose to wed in the Catholic Church then also have a traditional wedding. We registered for pre wedding classes in the church where we were taught more of the basics of the Catholic Faith than marital counseling.
Traditional wedding was fixed one month before the church wedding(church wedding doubled as a court/registry wedding).
In my custom, when a lady is about to wed, the groom’s family comes to the bride’s family in a ceremony called an “Introduction”. At the end of this ceremony, a bride price list is handed to the groom’s family and a wedding date is fixed.
I already had an introduction done and a bride price list had been given out. My in-laws began getting the things on the list. I remember going to the market with my mother in-laws and husband to choose a modest box only for them to later buy the cheapest of the cheapest brand there! Feeding cost was divided between my family and his(this brought a disagreement I only heard about after being married for 3years).
Friends and relatives came from far and wide, gave financial and household gifts. We bought yards of materials and sold in small bits to our friends to wear a uniformed attired in what we call “Aso ebi” around here.
A big cow was purchased, it was the first time I witnessed the killing of a cow(I haven’t killed a chicken till date!). Cooking was done by the women in my family, you know those kind of cooking where all the women gather around the fire place cooking in many pots?
The night before the wedding, the family and friends who had to sleep over at the home venue (my paternal grandma’s home) spent the night sharing stories and memories from the good old days, while my late little cousin(he had the sickle cell trait) kept crying that he wanted to go home NOW!
The next morning, was full of activity. Mother was so happy to see her daughter wed in her lifetime. A hair stylist was gotten for me, she was to help with my hair and costume. I was to wear two outfits and hence two head attires(which are not easy to arrange). Then a make up artist was enlisted. The bride price was to be “paid” in granny’s living room while the receptionist was to take place in the yard where canopies had been set up.
The canopies were segregated into divisions for each family, like “girl’s mother’s colleagues”, girl’s grandma’s church members, “boy’s family” “boy’s church” etc.
Bride price was one thousand Naira (N1000), we are not igbos, igbos are known to have the highest bride Price in the country, sometimes running to hundreds of thousands. Other than bride price, gifts are usually required to be added to this list, so we had a young female kid (goat) and it was rumored that the goat should not be killed but kept to see how many offsprings it will bear that it will indicate my fruitfulness in marriage(now I think that the goat must have been barren hahaha)!
So the bride price was paid, prayers were made, costumes were changed. The dancing costume was worn and the party began.
Dancing was a rigorous but joyful affair. Remember I never had good dancing skills? But thankfully a bride can never go wrong(lie, I was worse the next time I married). At the end of a beautiful day, it was time to go home. My now husband left with his family, then a few hours later my family takes me to my “new home”. Another short reception takes place there.
After the reception and further partying, I began looking forward to the night we would spend in an hotel as my husband and I had discussed earlier, only to learn that “his dad didn’t think it was a good idea”. So we slept in a room in the already full house.
The next morning as my husband and I were preparing to leave for our new home, my mother in law comes into the room to talk to us. After a few pleasantries she says to me; “IN OUR TRADITION, WHEN A WOMAN MARRIES, SHE IS TO BE LEFT TO STAY WITH HER MOTHER IN LAW FOR SOME TIME FOR HER TO TEACH HER WHILE THE HUSBAND GOES HOME TO WAIT FOR HER!”
It’s MONDAY, the best day of the week, the day that many times predicts how the rest of the week runs. Do Monday great today!
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