How Urhobo Traditional Marriage is Done – Intriguing Marriage Tradition Ever Seen (Part 1)

Nigeria is blessed with enormous and rich traditions and cultural practices. Recently I witnessed an Urhobo traditional marriage ceremony of a friend. His fiancée is an Urhobo woman.

The Urhobo people are from southern Nigeria, it is one of the major ethnic groups in Delta state. In this article, I will give you bit by bit procedure into a typical Urhobo Traditional marriage – their marriage List and other requirements.

Below is a full account of how it all went.

Marriage Introduction Before Urhobo Traditional Marriage ceremony

A prospective groom with his parent and relative will visits the bride parent to formally introduce themselves and ask the girl hand in marriage.

On the introduction day, the groom is attached to a spokesman that serve as his mouthpiece to negotiate on his behave during the process and other thing required of him.

The ceremony started with prayers, the bride family presents their prospective son-in-law and his family with drinks, kola nuts, and garden eggs.

The girl’s father or an elder in her family will offer a substantial amount of money (#5000) and place it in a trail, member of the bride’s family will also give to add up to the first.

The money is presented to the groom and his family as a welcome gift and as transportation for finding their way to their home.

The money offered depends on the financial ability of the girl’s family.

The Groom’s family will accept the gifts and drinks given to them, they drink and eat from the gift presented to them.

The groom through his spokesperson will thank his in-laws and reciprocates the same gesture in double folds.

The groom’s spokesman will formally announce their intention for coming. The saying normally goes in this matter – our son (groom) found the bone of his bone in this family and we have come to ask her hand in marriage.

The girl’s father will ask if the groom knows which of his daughter he wants to marry and her name, he replies ”yes” then the girls in the house will be brought out one after the other.

There will be a series of distractions to see if he knows who he wants to get married to.

urhobo traditional wedding
urhobo bride is ushered into the event

After that all said and done, the girl will be asked if she agrees to his proposal and should they (her family) accept the gift brought by the groom and his family.

If her response is yes, there will load jubilation and in a case where she refuses, all the gifts presented by the groom and his parent will be returned to them.

Every member of both families will introduce themselves and exchange pleasantries. The bride’s family is in charge of providing entertainment, food, and drinks for this ceremony.

A date for the Urhobo traditional marriage will be fixed and the bride price list will be given to the groom.

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The Marriage Ceremony

The Urhobo traditional marriage usually ends with the father of the bride or his brothers, pouring a drink, usually dry gin and saying some prayers or newlyweds.

After praying the bride will be asked to sit on the husband’s lap. A cup of the blessed drink is handed over to the husband who drinks first and gives it to the wife. The bride takes a little of the content and hands it back to her husband to finish up.

urhobo groom attire
A groom kneeing down to receive counseling and prayers

At this point the Urhobo traditional marriage rites have been fulfilled, they are declared husband and wife and the occasions turn hot with music, dancing. The new couple is showered with gifts of money sprayed on them.

The “Esuo:” Is the escorting of the newlywed back home with prayers and generosity. At the husband’s compound, a special ritual is performed to evoke the spirit of the husband’s ancestor to receive the new wife and bless the new couple with children.

Prayers are rendered for them to remain as husband and wife till death. Then another celebration and funfair continued till dawn.

Urhobo Traditional Marriage Lists and Requirements.

Here are what to expect in typical Urhobo traditional marriage lists.

  1. One bottle of hot drink.
  2. N500.00 and 1 bottle of hot drink (for initiating of marriage formalities).
  3. N2,000 for the youths in the bride’s family.
  4. N2,000 for the bride’s mother and the wives in the family.
  5. N1,000 with a wage of 1 bottle of hot drink.
  6. N1,000 for the presentation of the bride.
  7. N1000 to spray to the bride’s mother by the groom’s family.
  8. N400.00, 1 bottle of hot drink, a plate of kola nut for Prayer for the couple. Lead by the bride’s father.
  9. N6,000.00 Plus a bottle of hot drink for the bride’s price. This mostly determined by the bride’s father.
 The bride’s father
  1. 1 Traditional hat.
  2. 1 Traditional men’s wrapper.
  3. 1 Traditionally made walking stick.
  4. Shoe.
The Bride’s mother
  1. 1 head-tie.
  2. 1 blouse.
  3. 1 wrapper plus N5,000.00 for her labor pains.
  4. For the bride.
  5. A box of clothing materials of various types.
  6. N15,000.00 cash for her chastity.
For the family
  1. Three bags of salt for women in the bride’s family.
  2. N5,000 escort fee.
  3. Money for entertaining guests.

Are you confused in anyway? Use the comment box, i will answer all your questions.

6 thoughts on “How Urhobo Traditional Marriage is Done – Intriguing Marriage Tradition Ever Seen (Part 1)

  • December 12, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Nice one Amarachi, just what I needed to get informed before mine comes up.

  • May 26, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Amarachi you tried but these days so many girls are now wise in urhobo land that they use their introduction day as the day the bride price should be paid. Nobody wants any delay again.

  • August 30, 2019 at 10:06 am

    please what does a prospective groom needs to tale along for the introduction?


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