AfriSQuare Forums

Home Forums African Marriages Marriage Rites and Traditions of the Yoruba Culture.

This topic contains 1 voice and has 0 replies.
1 voice
0 replies
  • Author
  • #6467
    Grace Amos


      Africa is blessed with so many cultures, tribes, and religions. In the West African part of Africa, we have Nigeria, which has different languages, traditions, and ethnic groups. It is estimated to have 371 ethnic groups, including Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. These ethnic groups have various and diverse cultures and traditions regarding marriage. The way marriage rites are carried out in the Yoruba culture is quite distinct from that of the Hausas.


      In the Yoruba culture and the Igbo, the traditional wedding comes first before the church ceremony, also called the white wedding, and the court wedding, which is also important.


      But before a date is chosen for the traditional wedding which will require the groom to provide all that is in the Eru Iyawo, the Bride’s Engagement list, there is the courtship stage. In this stage, the groom must meet and inform his future in-laws of his intention to marry their daughter and get their blessing. After informing the bride’s family and receiving their approval, the groom is obliged to propose marriage to his girlfriend. Thereafter, the engaged couple will announce their engagement to their respective families, setting the stage for a complete family introduction.


      Coming to the family introduction, an essential step when planning a Yoruba wedding is when both family members will meet each other for the first time, as well as their extended families. If you are ready to get married into a particular family, it is expedient you know the person’s family members and relatives. You know how they say you are not only marrying the person, you also getting married to the family. This stage is very important for the lady, she must know the family she is getting married into. The introduction date is set and picked by the bride’s family and it takes place at the bride’s family house.


      The family introduction used to be a brief ceremony at the bride’s house. Today, though, everything has changed. While some families continue to perform it in the original manner, it has evolved into a miniature wedding ceremony, during which the couple wears lovely matching outfits. The family introduction meeting’s conclusion kick-starts the planning stage for the wedding.


      Now to the traditional marriage, the groom and his family need to get the Eru Iyawo List which comes from the eldest member of the bride’s family, as it is part of the traditional marriage. It can be the bride’s father but if he is not the eldest in his family line, he reaches out to his eldest brother or uncle for the list. It is a traditional requirement and a very important practice for the groom and his family as it is a show of appreciation for having raised a daughter that is set to be married to the groom.


      Eru Iyawo List contains items the groom and his family must present to the bride’s family on the day of the traditional marriage along with some cash in an envelope to be used for various purposes during the ceremony. In as much as it is called Bride’s List, the bride does not have a say or contribution to the items requested on the list. Although, both families can discuss the list and finalize what the groom and his family bring on that day.


      Also, the Eru Iyawo might differ a little to include more or fewer items depending on the Yoruba community within the Yoruba land. The packaging and presentation of the Eru Iyawo are also a big deal in today’s Yoruba weddings.


      The list includes;


      • The bride price is between 1,000 to 5000 for most families in the Yoruba land. The amount is usually symbolic and is returned to the groom after the traditional ceremony.
      • Proposal Letter,
      • traveling suitcase,
      • jewelry,
      • brand new outfits,
      • alligator pepper,
      • salt,
      • tubers of yam,
      • honey,
      • Bible, and Quran for both religions,
      • fresh fruits,
      • bitter kola nuts,
      • a basket of fruits,
      • engagement rings,
      • water,
      • umbrella,
      • pack of sugar,
      • dried fish, and other monetary amounts.


      Also, some of the items on the list have symbolic interpretations in a new marriage.



      This shows that the couple needs God in their union. The bride is asked to choose the gift which is most important to her and she is expected to pick this one.


      Sugar and Honey

      This is to show that the marriage will be sweet and will be void of sorrow.


      Bitter Kola nuts (Orogbo)

      The bitter kola nut is used to pray that the couple will grow old together.



      This is meant to signify abundance so it is never expected to finish in a home.


      Tubers of yam (Isu) and dried fish (Eja Osan)

      To show that the husband is able to cater to a large family.


      Baskets of fruits

      This symbolizes fruitfulness to show that the couple will have many children.



      • This topic was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Admin.

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.