According to Ebira culture and traditions, before marriage, a man shouldn’t approach his in-laws to inform them of his interest in their daughter; instead, his parents and mostly elderly women from his family do that.
The man’s parents will pay a visit to the lady’s parents to introduce themselves and the reasons for coming.
Both parents have the task of investigating the family backgrounds of their child’s prospective partner.
They will determine the upbringing, family history, and how well-behaved the guy or lady is.
After investigations, a date will be set aside for the formal introduction of both families as a way of bringing to light what has been going on in secret. This is called “Ise Ewere” in the Ebira language.
During the initial introduction, some gifts are usually given to the bride’s family. The suitor is even allowed the freedom to present all the necessary ‘gifts’.
As it is usually called, Ebira people shy away from addressing it as a list in a bid not to make it sound transactional.
Ebira Wedding/Marriage List
These marriage lists, also known as “gifts,” form part of the traditional marriage requirements of the Ebira bride.
The list includes:
- Forty-two tubers of yam
- Hot drinks, Assorted wines, and Minerals
- Kola nuts
- Walking stick for the father
- Dried fish or bushmeat
- 10 liters of palm oil (Red oil)
- Groundnut oil
- Palm oil
- A bag of salt
- Clothing materials in brand new boxes
- Pieces of jewelries for the bride
- Cash for the clan members and family elders
- Though optional, the groom may decide to present two wrappers to his bride.
Day of Introduction
Then comes the day of general introduction, which the groom may not necessarily attend because his family members are usually on the ground to do anything on his behalf.
The family of the bride will entertain the groom’s family with foods and drinks on this occasion, which affords them the opportunity to introduce both families properly.
The items provided by the groom will be shared in the neighborhood among neighbors and extended family members to solicit their prayers and inform them that the lady is now betrothed to a man.
The bride price of an Ebira lady is usually determined by the parents of the girl, and it depends on the financial status of the man.
When marrying an Ebira girl, there are other prices to be paid after the initial bride price, which include the following:
“OTANUVOGEI” which literally means ‘Joining hands together,
“OZEMEIYI” which translates to ‘I am attracted to her.
“IDOZA” means the farming price, which the groom pays in place of physically going to work in the farm for his father-in-law as in the olden days.
On the day of traditional marriage, you would see women from the man’s family, each carrying tubers of yams on their heads, dancing to the bride’s home.
The occasion usually kicks off the moment the dancing women arrive at the bride’s home.
During the occasion, a pastor or a sheik is usually called to offer prayers along with both parents for the success of the union.
After which, the traditionally rich and colorful Ebira-style celebration would be brought to an end, and the bridesmaids would escort the lady to her husband’s home with her belongings.