If you’re an engaged with an igbo fiance, you definitely want to know about the process of the igba nkwu nwanyi part of the ibo traditional marriage. In this post, you will find out everything about the process involved in planning for igba nkwu. Igba nkwu nwanyi (“bride’s wine carrying”, in English translation) is a major part of the igbo traditional marriage rites that a groom performs at the bride’s family home, usually in her Nigerian village, in the presence of her extended family, as well as his (the groom’s) close family. In the olden days, this was “the wedding” proper. This is part 3 of a four-part series on the stages of Igbo traditional wedding, and the link to the other parts are at then end of this article. Read on for everything you need to know about the Igbo Igba Nkwu (Traditional Marriage Ceremony).
Before the igba nkwu day, the groom should have come with his parents and family to introduce his marriage intention and ask for their consent. Below is a detailed explanation of what happens before and up to the day of the igba nkwu ceremony part of the igbo traditional marriage rites – hopefully, the information below can help you better organize a glam wine carrying ceremony.
Visit #4: The Bride’s Wine-Carrying Ceremony (Igba Nkwu Nwanyi)
The igba nkwu is about the fourth marriage introductory visit that the groom will make to the bride’s family with his close family. We had written about the very first visit of the groom, up to the third visit here. This is part 3 of our series “Stages and Processes Involved in the Igbo Traditional Marriage Ceremony” – you can find part 2 here (click to read).
Most couples print and distribute special igba nkwu invitation cards to notify guests to save their igba nkwu date. The “Igba Nkwu” ceremony is the formal traditional engagement plus customary wedding party and takes place in the bride’s father’s family compound, in her Nigerian home town. The bride’s family is excited and so caters and cooks assorted food for the groom’s family and guests. They also decorate their compound, and hire sometimes live bands or traditional dancers to entertain at the occasion.
The day of “Igba Nkwu” is traditionally, the formal ‘wedding day’, and it includes a party/ celebration with invited friends and family, as the previous ceremonies are usually quiet, between very few family members. However, it’s up to you to decide how big or small you want to make your ‘igba nkwu’ ceremony – based on your pocket (affordability).
These days, we’re seeing the Yoruba aso-ebi trend during many igba nkwu wine carrying ceremony – brides and grooms are having their friends and close families dress up in uniform, coordinated wedding guest attires. This makes the traditional wedding very colourful and glamorous in pictures. Usually, the bride-to-be dresses up in the igbo traditional attire for married women, that is blouse and wrapper with a red, native coral bead necklace, and a flambouyant headtie (Ichafu).
RELATED: Top 100 Aso-ebi Styles for Bride’s Friends and Women Wedding Guests (as seen on celebrity and society weddings)
Igba Nkwu Invitation Cards
By the way, you can find special ‘igba nkwu invitation cards at www.bibiinvitations.com. Their traditional wedding invitation cards are colourful with clean igbo-inspired designs; and they are really affordable. Note that we’re in no way affiliated to BibiInvitations; they don’t even know that we’re mentioning them here. It’s just that we really like their invite cards and thought you’d like them too. Otherwise, you can ask around for other Nigerian wedding invitation card designers.
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The Igba Nkwu List
During the ‘igba nkwu’ ceremony, the groom is expected to be accompanied with a larger party (his parents, more relatives and friends) than he had during the preliminary marriage rites. The groom is expected to bring along the items in the igba nkwu list – he should have obtained this list from his in-laws during one of his introductory visits. This is a list of customary bridal gifts plus the dowry/ bride price that a groom must present before marrying an igbo bride.
Bride’s Task: Finding the Groom on the Igba Nkwu Day
The highlight of the ‘igba nkwu’ traditional marriage solemnization involves the bride publicly pointing the man (she wants to marry) to her and the groom’s family. This is how it happens: everyone is seated in groups – the groom is seated in the midst of his family members and friends. The bride’s father starts pronouncing marriage blessings on her and then gives her a cup/ glass of palm wine to hand to the man that she agreed to marry. The groom would be hidden within the large crowd of attendees and the bride is required to search him out and offer him the drink while kneeling down. If he accepts and drinks, that signifies to the public that he is “the one”.
Blessing of Marriage – Igbo Traditional Wedding
After the bride finds her groom and he drinks from the wine, blessings will be pronounced on the couple by their parents and there will be party and merriment – the couple is now man and wife. Some couples include the traditional cake and cake cutting as part of their igba nkwu ceremony.
During the igba nkwu ceremony, families and well-wishers give gifts to the couple, and it is also an opportunity for the bride’s parents to shower their daughter with lots of gifts to show their love. Typical ‘igba nkwu’ gifts from parents include kitchen-ware and cooking utensils for her new home.
Here’s a VIDEO of an Igba Nkwu Ceremony. I like that this video is unscripted and not edited – watch it to see how the real thing is.
#5: Visitation from Bride’s Family (Bia Malu Ulo)
This is the fifth stage in the igbo traditional wedding process. In English translation, bia malu ulo means ‘come know where I live”. Bia Malu Ulo is not a ceremony but rather it is a day that marks when the bride’s parents and her extended family officially visit her at her new home, to see how she’s faring. This happens after the igba nkwu.
What Next After the Wine Carrying (Igba Nkwu) Ceremony?
Although the igba nkwu is one of the biggest highlight of the igbo traditional marriage, it is not the final thing – there’s quite a bit more. In order not to make this post too long, I thought to make a separate post on this stage of the igbo traditional wedding rites.
The Other Posts in this “Igbo Traditional Wedding” Series
By the the way, this post is part 3 of a four-post series on the Igbo traditional marriage process (a guide for grooms), and you can read the other articles from the links below (parts 1, 2 and 4) :
Your Turn Now – Your Igba-Nkwu Takeaway
So, now you know to plan an igbo bride’s wine carrying ceremony, as well as everything that happens before and during the igba nkwu. I hope the above tips would help you to prepare for your own igba nkwu igbo traditional wedding ceremony.
Now, it’s your turn to talk back to me with your feedback, comments or questions. And, in case you’ve ever been to an igba nkwu ceremony in igboland or have already had your own, or are presently planning to organize your own, I’d like to hear about it – tell me in the comments box down below.
Also, please do me a favour – tweet/ facebook/ email/ share this post if you enjoyed it. And, leave me a comment to tell me what you think or where you are with planning your igba nkwu wine carrying ceremony.
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