– Olivia Okwara
Many tribes in Nigeria and beyond have their unique ways of getting married and given their daughters in marriage, In Igbo Land there is a way very interesting that I doubt if other tribes does so. One of them is what you are about to read now by one of our guest writer her at New Media Galaxy Nig.
Look at this beautiful bride with a truck load of items behind her below. She must be a very lucky bride with a rich and caring family. Before you get excited and start punching your keypads to educate me on how greedy the Igbos are, first find out the differences between dowry and bride price. The items behind this beautiful lady is what is called DOWRY (Idu Ụnọ).
Dowry is a gift of property or money that is customarily required of the bride’s family to give to their wedding daughter in order to set up her own matrimonial home. That is why behind our beautiful bride you can see household equipment.
When my sister got married I went with my mum and dad to shop for her pots, plates, deep freezer, coolers etc. Then on the day of her traditional marriage my uncles, aunts and other relatives from both maternal and paternal sides of the family also brought their own household gifts for her Idu ụnọ. Some very wealthy families gift cars and even houses to their daughters.
Almost all our mothers have tailoring machines in their houses because during their time tailoring was one of the commonest means of supporting their new family financially.
One of the beautiful things about dowry is that the expenses is completely borne by the family of the bride. It is their customary responsibility and except the groom elects to share the financial burden with them, he is not duty bound to do so.
Dowry is usually settled on the day of the traditional marriage, but sometimes, the bride’s family may not have the means to do so at that time. In this case, they always strive to do it in later years because failure to settle the dowry may subject the bride to some reproach by the groom’s family who may see her as a person who came empty handed into the family without any form of provision for her new life.
A lot of people have a problem with the Igbo traditional marriage because of the high bride price issue, so they do not appreciate this beautiful side of it. Most times, when they see pictures such as this, they let go of their mouths and start denigrating the Igbos for “being greedy” and “selling their daughters”, whereas the reverse is the case.
When you even expect the average Igbo to cure their ignorance by educating them, you find out that he/she is also ignorant of his own culture. This is probably because they grew up outside the South East, and their parents who are supposed to be the custodian of Igbo culture (close to them) are not doing anything to imbibe the culture in their kids/wards. Too bad.
Now that I have educated you, you can choose to educate others or continue peddling your sensational falsehood whenever pictures like this crop up on social media. I can only sympathize with you on your ignorant display. By the way, which other ethnic group practices the dowry custom? I want to know.