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To Carry a Wife: The Rites & Significance Yoruba Traditional Marriage | Yoruba Cultural Institute
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To Carry a Wife: The Rites & Significance Yoruba Traditional Marriage

To Carry a Wife: The Rites & Significance Yoruba Traditional Marriage

This article is a continuation of the previous article on Traditional Yoruba Marriage.

Now, we will be looking at specific terms defining the marriage process.

 

The traditional wedding itself is called “Igbeyawo.” It literally means “the carrying of the bride.” This term is coined from the old tradition of lifting the new bride into her new home as a welcoming act.

 

This is usually done after the party is over and the bride is taken to the groom’s family house or, in modern days, her new home. She is escorted by her friends with gifts such as kitchen utensils, clothes, jewelry and all things used by women. Once she gets to her new home, a woman is selected from the groom’s family to ushers her into the home. At the entrance of the house, the bride’s feet are washed with water. After this is done, the actual ‘Igbeyawo’ is done. She is carried into the house accompanied by music and singing. This signifies that her coming in will usher an era of wealth and children into the family. She is prayed for and afterwards lifted into the house.

 

 

There are specific items required to be brought in by the groom and his family. Some of them include:
[ English: Yoruba ]

 

Honey: Oyin

The significance of honey is that the marriage will be a happy one filled with love and joy.

 

Alligator pepper: Atare

This item is a fruit in an enclosed pod with several seeds. It shows that the bride will be fruitful in her new home. This is an expensive spice in West Africa used in cooking special meals.

 

Salt: Iyo

Salt is to season and give taste. It is a very important item in a woman’s kitchen. There is a Yoruba thought that the house never should run out of salt. And when by chance this happens, it is not verbalized.

 

Sugar: ìrèkéiyó òyìnbó 

This is a source of sweetness. It indicates the home will be a sweet home to return every day.

 

Groundnut cake: Adun

It is a locally made cake used in the ceremony as well, which also signifies sweetness.

 

Bitter kola: Orogbo

This item is mostly found with old people. At the ceremony it signifies longevity. That the couple will live long prosperous lives together till they are old and grey. There is a specific number of bitter kola requested by the bride’s parents. The quantity differs from one family to another.

 

Kola-nut: Obi

This item is a fruit eaten by elders. It has some health benefits. The caffeine content of the fruit is a ready energy boost and also serves as a natural weight loss fruit because of its capacity for speeding up metabolism. In the marriage ceremony it is used as a symbol of fruitfulness of the couple.

 

Yam: Isu

This item also signifies fruitfulness in the home. Particular species of yam is believed to be responsible for bearing twins or multiple births, therefore its significance in the ceremony.
These are few of the items often seen in a marriage ceremony. The number of items as well as the choice of items on the list is highly influenced by the elders of the bride’s family.

3 Comments

  1. “Igbeyawo ” carrying the bride , actually can indicate a direct literary indication that some women could be “Helped” in this manner. What type of women were treated this way ? What are the reasons and causes ? Did this action benefit these types of women in the long run ? A classic cultural discourse like this can be delivered if valuable. I will try my best…

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