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Igbo Marriage Customs
Transcript of Igbo Marriage Customs
What did the colonists do? The British colonists arrived in Nigeria during the 1800's. They greatly influenced many aspects of the Igbo culture, including marriage and wedding ceremonies. There are both positive and negative changes that the colonists made concerning marriage. One positive change that occurred was that they abolished arranged marriages. Now women were happier because they were able to choose who they marry. Another positive change was that couples were now allowed to choose how they wanted their weddings to take place, allowing more freedom to Igbo people. As far as negative changes go, a major negative change that occurred was how British colonialism created a brand new role for women. Women were now expected to work on the crops that men used to be in charge of, leaving men to take control in the political life of the community. All in all the British colonialists greatly influenced the Igbo culture, leaving popular changes among the community.
After the colonists came in quite a bit changed. There were now three types of marriages for the Igbo person to choose from. The first was a religious wedding. This means according to the mans religion, which was either Muslim or Christian, a traditional wedding would be held in either a mosque or a church according to the religion. The next type of wedding was considered a "civil wedding" and consisted of a man and woman going to the government registry office and tying the knot. This wedding was between one man and one woman. Last but certainly not least, the third choice of wedding was a traditional Igbo wedding. This wedding was the closest to pre- colonization Igbo weddings and had weddings held at the wife's house and were full of lively music, dancing, and cultural displays. Polygamy is accepted in these types of weddings and the man still has to pay the brides fee to her parents. Having more than one wife is left to the man and his belief, so having only one wife makes him no less of a man than having three.
In Today's culture women get to pick what they want to wear, and they usually wear pearls and lots of colors.
The families have money for the bride for when she is getting married.
Nowadays if men have more than one wife it doesn't indicate that they're successful anymore, it just means that's how many wife's he wants and they usually have many children. Being married in Nigerian culture effects its presents today cause their marriage is taken much more seriously.
Igbo children during wedding ceremony 1800's
British colonists arriving 1800's
Marriage in pre-colonial Nigeria was arranged by the parents of both the bride and groom. A bridal price was placed on the bride, which must be paid by the family of the groom. Men often married more than one woman. Contrary to popular belief, the wives enjoyed their Igbo husband marrying more than one woman. This allowed them to have help with household chores that were required of Igbo women, which included growing crops (with the exception of yams), cooking, maintaining the household and children, and serving their husband. Having few wives also portrayed a man as being poor, therefore women were more respected if they married a man with many wives. The first wife (usually the eldest) wore titles bestowed upon the husband, she was in charge of the other wives around the household. A main duty of all wives was to provide children for the husband and keep the household strong. The husband's duties consisted of providing and protecting the family, growing yams (the Igbo's most valued crop), and serving his wives in return. Though prevalent in pre-colonial Nigeria, arranged marriage would be heavily influenced by British colonialism.
Igbo marriage ceremony
British Colonialism greatly influenced the Igbo culture, This is evident in marriage traditions. Colonialism abolished arranged marriage, refined gender roles, and modernized cerimonies. It restructured the traditional view of brides, they are no longer seen as less important. There are a lot of both positive and negitive effects of colonialism, however no matter how you view it, the Igbo tribe was changed forever.
Traditional Igbo wedding held in Nigeria from Febuary of 2010