The Urhobos are one of the tribes that make up Nigeria.
They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Delta and Bayelsa states. Like every other tribe in Nigeria, the Urhobos have a rich culture and food. This is obvious when you consider the very colourful Urhobo wedding custom. There are different types of marriage contracts in Urhobo land but the wedding custom stays the same. So, if you have an Urhbobo bae, here is how marriage looks like at their end:
The prospective groom makes his intentions known to his bae
His bae, having agreed to marry him, will go and inform her mother; who in turn informs her father. The prospective groom is then invited to come see the family. The groom must come with gin (Schnapps) to be formally identified and make his intentions known.
Groom’s family comes for the official knocking of door
“Ghore Etse” is the knocking of door ceremony where the groom-to-be and his family come to visit the future bride’s family to formally express their intention with Schnapps and a number of bottles of wine. Prayers and Kola nuts are offered by the bride’s family. The bride is called and only upon her agreement are the drinks from the groom’s family accepted. The suitor pays homage to the oldest members of the bride’s family, both on her mother’s and father’s side. A date is fixed for the introduction proper.
Evughe aka the Introduction proper
The extended family of the bride are present for this. The suitor and his family come with Schnapps and more drinks. Traditionally, another date is meant to be fixed for him to come for the presentation of the list but most families combine presentation of list and introduction. The list includes the bride price, kerosene for the extended family, cigarettes, gifts for the mother and father, drinks etc. The bride price which is 120 Naira, Kerosene and Cigarettes is never negotiated.
Paying the bride price
It is worth noting that the bride price in Urhobo land is never paid on a market day. If the wedding day falls on a market day, the suitor comes the day before to pay the bride price. The bride price is never paid in the home of the bride’s family. Rather it is paid outside in the family’s compound. The suitor is usually handed back 20 Naira from the original 120 Naira which signifies that the bride’s family isn’t selling her. This custom is why Urhobo women are usually buried in their father’s house or in a home built by her children in her name.
The dancing and feasting ceremony
This is akin to the reception ceremony and is usually held on the same day as the paying of bride price. Sometimes, it is held a day after the bride price has been paid as stated above. One of the main features of this ceremony is the serving of traditional soups like Owgho as well as presents given to guests.
Esuo (Escorting the couple back home)
This is the final part of the wedding. The newly wedded couple are escorted back to the groom’s family house by guests and well wishers. Once there, a ceremony is held to invoke the groom’s ancestors to accept the bride and to bless the couple with children as well as keep them together till death.