Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Nigerian Traditional Wedding

Went for my best friend Y’s traditional wedding this Saturday and it was a lot of fun. It was my first trad. wedding - believe it or not, and you probably don’t – so I was very excited to be there.

Nigerian readers will know the whole deal, but for those who don’t the traditional wedding (or the "engagement", as it is sometimes known) is considered to be the real wedding from the Nigerian perspective. It starts off with the groom’s family coming to pay their respects to the bride’s family and ask for her hand in marriage. In the Yoruba culture, the families would have met already in what it usually referred to as an "introduction" and worked out the details of the marriage, so the traditional wedding is more for ceremonial purposes than anything else. It represents the solemnisation of the joining of the two families as one. I cannot go into the step-by-step details, so I’ll have to link to an online resource that does (or better still, find one yourself).

I have to say that, even though there are many aspects of the Nigerian society that seem ostentatious and unnecessarily showy to me, we do have a beautiful culture and the importance of preserving it cannot be over-emphasised. For example, it is a wonderful thing to see a woman so desired by a man and his family that the groom will prostrate before her family countless times before she finally becomes his. It must also be an incredible feeling to know that both families are giving their full support to this union. The flip side of this is, of-course, is the coolness that said families could exhibit when faced with what they consider to be a less than suitable match for their son or daughter. The same force of love and support can very easily become a mountain of disapproval to be overcome. This is one of the double-edged swords of living in a society where family and community approval matters so much. One way to deal with this is not to let yourself care about what others think in the first place. Alas, this is much easier said than done and I definitely haven't figured out how to do this yet.


yaye said...

Amen to that ..its so difficut to jsut take a stand..one thing that I've noticed as well in our community is dat we know best mentality among our parents..i wouldnt put u in trouble...trust my judgement and ull br happy..they might be rite but i beleive that every human being should be able some imp' decisions 2 a certain extent on their own..im just like u still tryn 2 figure ot how

Ore said...

Tell me about it!! Luckily, I have at least one very inspiring role model who chose to trust her own instincts and it seems to have paid off great for her. The most important thing, though, is to be okay with your decisions even when things don't go right.