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Traditional Marriage: The Ordained Marriage in Nigeria

In Nigeria, a country rich in cultural diversity, marriage is more than just a union between two individuals. It’s a celebration of love, unity, and the coming together of two families. While the concept of a ‘white wedding’ has gained popularity, it’s the traditional marriage that holds a special place in the hearts of Nigerians

Understanding Traditional Marriage

Traditional marriage, deeply rooted in Nigerian culture, is a beautiful blend of customs, rituals, and traditions that vary across different ethnic groups. From the Igbo’s “Igba Nkwu” to the Yoruba’s “Eru Iyawo,” each tradition brings its own charm and significance.

The traditional wedding is the real wedding, often seen as more significant than the white wedding. It’s during this ceremony that the groom’s family offers an agreed set of items, known as the bride price, to the bride’s family. This is not an indication that a woman is being sold, but rather a symbolic gesture to prove that the groom is financially capable of taking care of the bride and their new family.

The Role of White Weddings

The white wedding, often referred to as a church ceremony, is a relatively recent addition to Nigerian wedding traditions. It’s commonly associated with Western influence and is characterized by the bride wearing a white gown and the groom a suit4.

However, it’s important to note that while the white wedding has been embraced by many Nigerian Christians, it’s not a legal requirement. The government recognizes two main types of weddings: the traditional wedding and the court wedding1.

The Significance of Traditional Marriage

Traditional marriage is not just about the couple; it’s a community celebration where extended family, distant relatives, neighbors, and well-wishers are expected to attend. It’s a time for families to showcase their cultural heritage and pass down traditions to the next generation.

Moreover, traditional marriage is usually more affordable than a white wedding. It encourages commitment and respect for cultural values, making the wife really committed to her husband.


While white weddings may offer a touch of modernization, it’s the traditional marriage that truly reflects the cultural roots of Nigeria. It’s a celebration of love, unity, and cultural heritage that brings families and communities together. So, let’s continue to embrace and uphold our rich cultural traditions, for they are what make us uniquely Nigerian.