Traditional marriage ceremony in Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State.

Traditional marriage ceremony in Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State.


Traditional Marriage is a marriage conducted according to the Native Law and Customs of the people of Nigeria. It is recognized by the people, the government, all and sundry as the Real Marriage. In every community, marriage is considered imperative because it is the foundation upon which the society is founded. Although, marriage has no universally acceptable definition, hence it is dynamic in the sense that it cut across jurisdictions, race and tribes and the definition to be given to the concept will depend very much on the social and religious beliefs of a particular society. Marriage could be said to be the basis of the legal family, the leaned author, E.I. Nwogugu defined marriage as;

“Marriage is a universal institution which is recognised and respected all over the world as a social institution, marriage is founded on and governed by the social and religious norms of society”

The formal traditional ceremony is where the groom brings all that he’s been asked to bring in the bridal list he was given. And the elders of the bride’s family conduct the ceremony and accept the bride price. After which there’s a lot of eating and drinking.

The traditional marriage is compulsory. The paying of the bride price to marry a woman is the oldest ceremony for having a valid marriage. In Nigeria and as a Nigerian, without it, the society doesn’t consider you married even if you go to court to register your marriage and get a marriage certificate.

The cooking and drinking doesn’t make the marriage. The ceremony that is the paying of the bride price makes a valid marriage. So even when you’re the brokest couple, you have no reason not to do a traditional marriage. If the things on the list are too much, you can negotiate it on the introduction day and have them cut it down. The bride can talk to her parents before hand to make sure the elders don’t make unnecessary demands of her future husband.

Without the party, a traditional marriage is done within few minutes. Recently I witnessed my best friend’s traditional marriage and everything was concluded within 30 minutes. An elder of the family simply held the bridal list and confirm one after the other if everything required was brought and once confirmed my friend was handed over to the man as his wife.

Objective of the study

This work is set to find out the traditional marriage ceremony in Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the work is set to know the implication of the marriage system carried out in this vicinity to our modern society.

Scope of the study:

This work is aimed at ascertaining the implication of traditional marriage ceremony in Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State. Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community is found in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State. Ezza South is a Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Agbakoro Amaezekwe is close to Ifulor and Ida, with other villages which include Omege, Idiaguzu, Ndufu, Abiaji and Eguefium.


The concept “marriage” cut across every society in the word.  Due to its diverse nature, many people give it different meaning. But today, some notable authors like farley, Haviland, Murdock, Onwueje among others had given some acceptable definition of the concept.

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However according to Onwueje, “marriage” is the union between  a man and a woman in which their relationship to one another is jurally defined, and which establish the legitimacy of the children born to the woman. For Haviland it is the transaction and resulting contract in which a person establish a continuing claim to the right of sexual access to a woman, in which the woman involved is eligible to bear children. To my own understanding, marriage is a legally and socially assigned relationship of a man and woman to partner with one  another in every aspect of life.

          Morever, in Igbo tradition, they undergo both polygamy, edogamy and exogamy. But the most acceptable one by tradition is polygamy (ie a man getting married to many wives). In Igbo, marriage is regarded as when a man or a woman grows up to maturity age. In Igbo tradition before a man will marry he must possess the following qualities:

– Must have grown to maturity age.

– Must have been known to be hard working

– Must have a large farm land; either his own or inherited

– Sufficient seed yams.

On the side of the girl, she must be known for maturity, hardworking; obedient and respectful towards the elders and wealth was a function of the number of spouses he (the husband) had  and the size of his yam barn.  The following are the way of contracting marriage among the Igbo ethnic group. On the first day, he visits his prospective in-laws with a keg of palm wine and native kolanut for a declaration of his intention. During this visit, nothing so serious is discussed with the second visit made in few market days later.

           Prior to the day of the second visit, the bride’s father invites his kinsmen (Umunna) asking them to make them available at a specific time because he was expecting some visitors.

Traditional marriage practice ceremony in Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State.

In Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State, when a man of age sees a girl of his choice, there are some duties he is expected to perform. He will approach the parents of the girl and tell them that he would like to have their daughter in marriage. The parents of the girl will call their daughter and ask her if the man is okay to her. If their daughter said that she would like to marry the man, then her parents will tell the man their requirements which comes in stages. In Agbakoro Amaezekwe, the marriage system takes four stages as stated below:

  1. “I bo Uja imeulo” in door discussion
  2. “I gba nji Nwanyi” asking for a wife
  3. “ I do mee” carrying of wine
  4. “Ndute nwanyi” taking of a wife.

 In each of the stages, some items are required to be provided by the family of the would-be husband.

Stage one: Ibo Uja Imeulo” (in door discussion). The following items are to be provided by the family of the husband to be.

  1. two gallons of up wine
  2. One crate of star or Gulder beer
  3. One crate of mineral
  4. One head of tobacco
  5. Four kola nuts
  6. One snuff box
  7. A lump of potash
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 The above listed items are taken to the family of the girl by the father of elders of the husband to be for the indoor discussion.

          During the discussion, all the things to be done by the family of the proposed husband will be told them by the family of the wife to be. These things include:

  1. Three cows namely one for the father of the girls. One for her mother and one cow after a good relationship.
  2. Two goats, namely one goat for the family of the girl and one goat for her name sake
  3. prize for wine items number A and number B are not negotiable the family of the proposed husband normally accept to provide all the items in A and B. however, it is not mandatory that they would provide all of them before they take their wife.

 Item number C above prize for wine is paid in cash and it is negotiable.

The two families must negotiate and agree on a specific amount.  In Ngbo clan, the amount at present rages from fifty thousand Naira only to two hundred and fifty thousand naira depending on the families involved.

 The family of the husband to be will then make a deposit payment. Presently, deposit payment ranging from ten thousand naira to fifty thousand naira. Any amount deposited must be accepted by the family of the girl and that is the beginning of the marriage.

          State two:  Igba nji Nwanyi (Asking for a wife”). At this stage the family of the husband are required to provide the following items

 14 Galons of up wine

One crate of star beer

One crate of Gulder beer

Two crate of mineral

4 bottles of small stout

One bottle of hot drink

4 sizable cola nuts

One head of tobacco

One snuff box and a lomp of potash.

 The above items are taken to the family of the wife by the family of the husband. Delicious foods usually prepared to enter family in-laws.

State 3 “Ido mee” (carrying of wine) at this stage the following materials are required to be provided by the family of the husband

14 Gallous of up wine

One crate of star beer

 One crate of Gulder beer

2 create of mineral

4 bottles of small stout

One bottle of hot drink

4 sizable cola nuts

One snuff box and a lomp of potash.

These items are presented to the family of the wife by the family of the husband. Delicious foods are again prepared and given to their in-laws by the family of the wife. This stage is normally repeated. During this stage, a glass of wine is given to the wife who takes the glass of wine to her husbands or to any person in the side of her husband if her husband is not present. This is because not in all cases that the husband will be present. In most cases his family does every thing for him.

State 4 Ndute Nwanyi (Taking of a wife) this is the final stage in marriage partan in Ngbo ejeogu clan. The too families will agree on a date. Ngbo ejeogu clan has five days in a week the days are  “Okwo” Azuokwo” Unugwe” Ekoshi” and Owokow”  a date to be agreed by the two families must be  Azokwo” this  is because Ngbo ejeogu clan give their daughter in marriage on “Azokwo” day.

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On that day, the following items are to be provided by the family of the husband.

24 Gallons of up wine

2 crates of star beer

2 crates of Gulder beer

3 creates of mineral

1 create of small stout

One head of tobacco

One snuff of box

I packet of cigarette and a lomp of potash

On the appointed date which must be on Azokwo” day, the above items are provided by the family of the husband and taken to the compound of the father of the wife.  After drinking and eating, a prayer will be said by the eldest person from the family of the wife. And there after, the wife will be given to the family of the husband, who stays at his home to await the arrival of his wife.

In Ngbo ejeogu clan, a girl or a woman is always given in marriage at right. On arrival of the wife at the husband’s home, she will be received with two or more gun shorts.


This work employed survey research design as this is the method of ascertaining responses from group of people. The work was carried out in Agbakoro Amaezekwe Community in Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi State. The population of the study was 20 elders from Amaezekwe Community who provided needed information from the research questionnaire that was used as the instrument used to collect the data.


The following findings were ascertained:

  1. The people of Amaezekwe Community follow the Igbo traditional marriage process.
  2. For one to get married in Amaezekwe Community, he/she must have grown to maturity age, be hard working, have a large farm land; either his own or inherited.


The following are the implications of the traditional marriage ceremony of Amaezekwe Community in our modern society:

  1. Restriction of marriage to people who have attained some level of achievement is not too fair, given the fact that most people who want to get married might not actually have money as at the time they want to get married.


The following were recommended:

  1. Some of the steps can actually be merged into one to help the man so as not to scare him aware.
  2. The traditional marriage list can actually be reduced.


C.W. Hobley, Ethonolgy of Akamba and other East African Tribes, (1910), Cambridge.

Emonyi, G. (1997). Preparing Yourself for Marriage, Nairobi: Uzima Press.

Gerhard L. (1982). The Akamba of British Eastern Africa, Upsalla, Appelbergs Boktcryckeri Aktiebolag.

Goode, W.J. (1964). Readings of Family and Society, New Jersey Prentice Hall Inc.

John S.M. (1969). African Religion and Philosophy, London and Nairobi: Heinemann.

Kimamba, I.N. and Temu A.J., (1969). A History of Tanzania, Nairobi: East African Publishing house.

Kisembo, K. (1977). African Christian Marriage, London: Geoffrey Chapman.

Kraph, J.L. (1886). Travels, Researchers and Missionary Labours During eighteen years residence in East Africa, London.

Leslie, G. R. (1973). The Family in Social Context, New York: Oxford University Press.

Lonergan, J.F. Bernard, Method in Theology, (1953), Toronto:USA, University of Toronto Press.

Magesa, L. (1998).  African Religion. The Moral Tradition of Abundant Life, Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa.



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