My little sister got married yesterday, back home in Nigeria. I wasn’t there unfortunately, that would have been extremely complicated. More unusual, for us in the West at least, the groom wasn’t there either; the traditional wedding was conducted in absentia while he was three thousand miles away in London. Yesterday was the culmination of several months of planning starting with the Introduction Meeting between the two families to check each other out. Chibuzor is an expensive young woman with an almost royal bride price. A while ago the groom sent money to the elder men in his family, to pay to the bride’s mother, who has longed for this day. She has waited her turn to be amongst the women of the village, who share out the bounty of a bride price and wondered if the day would ever come, while her high flying daughter pursued a career in law.
And so they came, they were approved of, my sister and her husband to be breathed a sigh of relief while her mother, Felicia, received the cash to go shopping, no mean feat when the list looks something like this.
Bride price list
Cake in the shape of a palm wine pot
2 wrappers for Felicia – lace
3 blouses – Holland
2 head ties
Sandals, slippers, wristwatch, necklace (gold plated)
20kg sacks of salt,
2 x 40kg bags of rice (cost £40)
Beverages – Milo, milk, tea, cocoa,
Beauty products, skin creams, cosmetics etc
20 litres of kerosene – I for Felicia, 1 to share with the village
Palm oil and other vegetable oil (groundnut)
Detergent/soap 50 bars
42 yams, some to share
Alcohol for the men – gallons of palm wine, beer, Mackeson
Minerals, Fanta, coke etc
Felicia would be very happy despite the hard work and her women friends would have helped her go to market so that by yesterday a feast could take place.
The next stage of affairs will be either a court ceremony and/or a church ceremony which may even take place in London. I know they have a wonderful future ahead of them and I wish them all the love and happiness they deserve!