Isoko traditional wedding custom is so unique and colorful. The Isoko are the only people that welcome you with food and drink even without knowing your aim of coming to their home.
The Isoko people are unique and peaceful as there are no records or histories of conflicts or wars between them and their neighboring communities in the past. The Isoko people are farmers, traders, fishermen.
They also have been educated in western education. Isoko people are found in most blue-collar jobs like Lawyers, Accountants, Economists, Engineers, Doctors, Estate Surveyors, and Journalists, etc.
Isoko traditional wedding rites can not be complete without talking of the great ancestory history of the isoko people.
Brief History of Isoko People
Verbal history recorded that the first group of Isoko ancestors drifted from the Benin Kingdom in about 1600. Those in the first group were Erowa Uzere and Okpe.
Isoko oral history narrated that the second group led by the ancestors of Iyede left Benin about 1650- 1700 AD during the sovereignty of Oba Ozolua.
After, a little time the ancestors of Ughelli, Ogor and Agbarha- Otor followed the trail of Iyede ancestors and settled in their present place in Ughelli North Local Government Area.
Legend has it that there were many migrations from Benin kingdom to many parts of the present Edo and Delta States Between 1600-1700 AD. This was as a result of incessant deadly wars coupled with the uncontrolled wickedness of the princes of Benin Kingdom.
The present Okpe clan in Urhoboland – residing in Okpe and Sapele LGAs voyage from Okpe in Isoko went further and settled in Orerokpe.
The ancestors of all Isoko clans moved from Benin except the ancestors of Igbide, Okpolo and Evwrheni now Ughelli South, which came from East of the river Niger – the present day Anambra, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
They came through the river Niger to Isoko creek (an offshoot of river Niger) near Patani and advanced into lands to settle in their present locations.
Isoko Traditional Wedding Procedures
The isoko traditional wedding process in many Isoko clans is simple and can be subdivided into four main procedures.
- The first visit
- The Second visit
- The Bride-price Payment
- The traditional wedding ceremony.
1. The First Visit
The groom to be and a few of his family members will visit the girl’s home to introduce himself and make known his intention to the bride’s parent.
At the first visit, the groom will presents drinks with kola nut. The girl will be summoned and she will be asked if she knew the man and will she want to marry him.
She needs to agree to the proposal before his gift will be accepted and for the isoko traditional wedding ceremony to proceed.
The girl’s father introduces the man to some of his family members about 5-10 and about 5-3 of the mother’s family. The groom must visit these people, one after the other and should in greater extends fulfill every request they ask of him.
2. Second Visit
In many isoko traditional wedding, the second visit is when the groom to be and his family members (about 5 -10) visits the bride’s parents.
The Groom visit the bride’s home to introduce himself and made known his intention to the bride’s parent. They mostly use words like, “We saw a beautiful flower or a she-goat and will want to take it along with us, sir we need your permission”.
On arrival of the groom and his family members, the girl’s family entertain their guest with drinks and kola nut, and then the girl’s father gives his guest money for their trouble finding their way to his house.
The groom’s family will reciprocate by offering the girls family their drinks and kola nut, then paying back two times the money they gave them earlier.
They will be light food and drink, then after entertaining his guests. The spokesperson from the girl’s family will request that man must identify his wife, this in accordance with Isoko traditional wedding rites.
The girl’s father will bring out all his daughters, sisters even older women for the groom to identify his future wife.
This is done to test if he knows who he wants. If the girl he seeks is not among the ladies brought out for him, he can demand the particular person he seeks. When she comes out and he identifies her, there are applauds and singing all over the place.
3. The Bride Price
A date is fixed, when all members of the girl’s family will meet with their prospective in-laws, this is done to join both family ones more, and the bride price is negotiated and agreed on.
A list of required items needed by the girl’s parent is given to their in-laws to buy or pay the equivalent.
4. Traditional Wedding Ceremony
An isoko traditional wedding ceremony is filled with funfair and celebration, with a lot of food and drinks to go round.
The peak of every Isoko traditional wedding is when the community represented by the elders comes to make their demands; a certificate is presented to the couple after all requirements are settled.
The document will be signed by the chiefs or king of the village, this certificate authenticates the union.
The amount paid for the certificate ranges from N5000 above for a groom from within that community while those from outside will pay N10000 and above.
After everything, the bride will be sent forth with a kitchen utensil, home gadgets, boxes of clothes and wrapper.
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