5 Weirdest Nigerian Wedding Traditions

intertribal wedding of feyikemi and dr chibuzor

Any true Nigerian knows how rich our nation is with its culture and traditions. With over 250 ethnic groups, Nigeria is truly one of the most diverse nations in the world as pertains to ethnicity. And there’s no better place or time to display this, than at Traditional Weddings. A traditional wedding ceremony is the perfect place to display traditions and culture.

Traditional Weddings are an integral part of our people and our culture. While Nigerians might have tilted to adopting parts of the western culture in marriage ceremonies, the traditional wedding is the first and usually one of the most important parts of a wedding. This is where you’d get to see some seemingly weird wedding traditions. In some parts of Nigeria, these are marital rites that are so strange you may be shocked to witness. The oddity of some of these rites is what makes marriage exciting where they are practiced. Over the years, we have seen some of these oddities change but some tribes are still practicing their marital rites regardless of how Westernized our world is. We’ve made a list, so you might want to read up below: 

1. The Old ‘Fattening Room’ Tradition

Photo Credit: FactsNG

Efik wedding has one of the most surprising traditions. Six months before they are to be married off, Efik maidens are to be given secluded training. They are kept in a separate room called the “Fattening Room.” In this room, the maidens are fed with the best of meals and are excessively pampered. 

It is believed in the Efik tribe that a woman with a full figure and a healthy waistline is more desirable to be looked upon. The women are also massaged three times daily from head to toe, it is believed to make them more endowed.

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The older married women also teach them about womanhood and marriage. Theyintimate them on how to take care of their home, their husbands and their children.  This tradition has, however, been modernized due to the advancement of civilization.

2. Flogging The Groom

Photo Credit: History of Yesterday

The Fulani traditional marriage is done in either three or two stages depending on the tribe’s requirement and preferences. There is the Koowgal – a dowry payment and Kabba. The weirdest part, however, is the flogging of the groom called Sharo. 

This is a festival in which an intending young Fulani groom is flogged hard to prove that he’s ready to take a wife. In what is referred to as an ‘act of bravery’ by the groom before he marries his bride, the potential groom is flogged publicly just before the nuptials and is expected not to wince, cry or show his pain. It is believed that this process will help prove the worth of the potential groom in terms of strength, endurance and resilience. The Fulani are a nomadic group of people known for their hard work, courage and discipline.

This tradition is more or less a test of the strength of the groom. Any groom who cannot endure the required number of strokes losses out of the marriage race. If he declines to be flogged, his readiness to take up the huge responsibility of marriage will not be accepted.

3. Funds and Gifts Solicitation 

Photo Credit: 1stNews

The dowry/bride price of the Igbo people features a negotiation over a certain amount of money. This money is usually not so much; however, it is accompanied by a long list that contains items that are needed for the marriage rites. Some regions of Igboland are notorious for over-stretching the list, as most villagers and kinsmen look forward to marriages as a means of settlement.

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This is one interesting marriage tradition that has been hotly debated over time. It has also prevented several eligible suitors from marrying their love interests. The custom is a peculiar and largely expensive one. It involves presenting a list of gift items, sometimes alongside cash, before marriage to the prospective bride can take place. 

The list also varies in length and value. Depending on how wealthy the incoming family is or if the supposed spouse is from the same village, same state or the same country. The list gets more expensive if the prospective bride is a bachelor degree holder. It increases significantly if she has acquired a masters’ or doctorate. Many a time, this fund solicitation has led to the collapse of courtships after the man realizes he cannot meet up with the challenging requirements for marriage.

4. Frowning Bride

Ijaw wedding and traditon

From the moment she walks out, the Ijaw bride is expected not to smile until she has been sprayed plenty of money by her husband. So fill that pocket of yours with money if you want to see the slightest smile from your Ijaw bride.

5. Marriage According To Seniority 

Yes, we know. This feels like a biblical allusion to the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel. It is still a phenomenon in parts of Africa today. In Nigeria, this is mostly synonymous with the Igbo custom. Although it is currently not as widely practised as it was in the past, it is based on the belief that marriage should follow in order of seniority.

This tended to cause a lot of fighting and controversy. In some cases, the younger sibling will be ripe and ready for marriage with a prospective bride or potential suitor but will have to wait for the older sibling to marry first. Many men and women who found themselves in such situations, decided to postpone the idea of marriage till their elders tied the knot. Alternatively, if they couldn’t wait, they go ahead with the marriage without the blessings of their family.

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In the case where it was the lady that was affected, some men would prefer to leave the lady and marry outside such tribes if they couldn’t wait for the lady’s elder sister(s) to get married first.

What other weird wedding traditions did we leave out? Tell us below.

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