Wedding traditions in Nigeria share a common thread in terms of values, views, and experiences with other African regions. You may celebrate your heritage and honor your ancestry by incorporating your customs and traditions in your wedding ceremony and reception. Aside from performing traditional rituals, couples can also incorporate ethnic touches into its wedding program and reception.
Couples should know their wedding traditions. It is important that they understand the reason behind these traditions and the history of the traditions because this will enable couples to perform the traditions more sincerely.
Adinkra Symbols in the Bridal Gown
Adinkra symbols symbolize objects that encapsulate expressive messages that convey both traditional and customary wisdom. The Adinkra symbols commonly used in Nigeria weddings include, Akoma, Me Ware Wo, Gye Nyame, and Osram Ne Nsoromma. Akoma signifies patience and tolerance while Me Ware Wo symbolizes commitment and perseverance. Osram Ne Nsoromma signifies the harmonious bond between the couples while Gye Nyame represents the supremacy of god. The Adinkra symbols can be woven into the bridal gown or can be henna-tattooed in the bride’s arms, legs and feet during the wedding.
Significance of the Cowrie Shells
Cowrie shells represent fertility and prosperity. In Nigeria, the Cowrie shell can also be made into coral-beaded headpiece, ankle bracelets and necklaces for the bride to wear during the ceremony. It can be used as a decorative in the bridal outfit. But the shell can also be used as decorations in the reception like table centerpieces, cake decoration, food serving and utensils, etc.
During the engagement ceremony, the groom brings wine. The wine is poured into the ground to honor their ancestors. A spokes person will chant some traditional form of prayer for the ancestral spirits. Some couples choose to incorporate a libation ceremony in their wedding as an opportunity to honor those relatives and friends that have already passed away.
Tasting the Four Elements
This is a ritual usually done during the wedding reception. The bride and the groom will taste lemon, vinegar, cayenne, and honey. These four signify the four different emotions that the couples may possible encounter as they journey together. The lemon signifies the sour feelings, the vinegar represents the bitter experiences, the cayenne will stand for the hot moments while the honey will wrap up everything in sweet moments. This represents the realities of life and how it could be hard but to always remember that they will always have sweet moments if they want to.
The Kola Nut
The Kola nut is a very popular medicinal nut in Africa. Thus, it is being used in weddings to signify the couple’s commitment to heal each other at all times when they encounter problems. In Nigeria, the ceremony is not only limited to the couples but it also extends to the bride and groom families to symbolize an extended commitment to help the couples heal each other in times of troubles. The sharing of the Kola nut is most often shared during the wedding reception but it is most meaningful when the ritual is performed during the wedding ceremony itself.