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Ime ego (the money ceremony) is the third part of the Igbo wedding process in the Nigerian wedding culture, and comes after ịjụ ese has been successful. If inquiries into the family are successful, then the bride’s father can send the go-between to the groom’s family to tell them of the agreement. This is an official acceptance of the groom’s suit, and the couple are traditionally engaged.
1. Ije abalị anọ
In some parts of Igbo land, the bride is taken to the groom’s mother for one market week, called “ije abalị anọ“. This is so that she can get to know the groom and know if she really wants to stay with him for them to get acquainted with each other. The mother observes whether she is of good upbringing and teaches her the groom’s favourite foods. If after the visit she wants to be married to him, her father sends a full keg of palm wine to the groom’s family.
2. Why we pay a bride price
Ime ego is the paying of the bride price, and is not a public occasion. The Igbo people don’t believe in selling their daughters, but they believe in the value of their children. Asking for a bride price in Nigerian wedding culture is for the groom to know that he is being given a person of value.
3. How bride price is paid
Humans are not goats, and so the bride price is not set by directly calling amounts of money. Instead, sticks or stones are used to represent the amount. The bride’s father sets a certain amount before his in-laws, and after they deliberate among themselves, they can either remove some or agree to the amount. This continues until an agreement is reached by both sides. Hands are shaken all around and the bride price is accepted.
Before now, the in-laws would have been given a list of non-money items the bride’s family requires. These items are presented and accepted at the ime ego.
3. Celebrating the marriage
After the payment, the girl is called in and given a cup of palm wine to present to her husband, showing that she has accepted him. He drinks the palm wine and the marriage is sealed.
Her mother and sisters are expected to serve their new in-laws with food and drinks to celebrate the occasion.
5. The next step
After ime ego, the bride is considered his wife. They cannot live together or see unchaperoned until the public acknowledgment of their marriage. This is called the ịgba nkwụ. That’s the wine carrying ceremony. We’ll talk about that next week. Don’t miss it.
Meanwhile, .’s what you can expect from an Igbo traditional wedding ceremony.
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