5 Nigerian Marriage Customs That Scare People Away From Getting Married

Due to the diversity of culture and tradition of various ethnic groups in the country, marriage is considered the most celebrated achievement of a Nigerian, and also a big deal especially when it involves two ethnic groups. It is easier to marry from one’s tribe because the marriage procedures are familiar and understandable, but that of some other tribes might seem strange and even scaring.

However, it is not good for a man to be alone, neither is it fair for a woman to grow old in her parents’ house. There are some Nigerian marriage customs that can put off prospective grooms or make him have second thoughts. These practices have been in practice for decades and are mandatory pre-requisite for marrying daughters from that tribe.

Nigerian Marriage Customs that Scare People Away

1. The Fulani Sharo Tradition

Nigerian Marriage CustomsAccording to this tradition, the groom is made to undergo a rigorous act of bravery before he is able to wed a Fulani lady. This tradition entails flogging the potential groom publicly just before his nuptials. It is believed that this process is to prove the worth of potential grooms in terms of strength, endurance and resilience, as the nomadic Fulani are one group of people known for their hard work, courage and discipline. Any groom who can not endure the required number of strokes loses out of the race.

2. The Yoruba Traditional Wedding Act of Prostrating

Nigerian Marriage Customs

Respect in the Yoruba kingdom is synonymous to prostrating and this goes out to every intending groom of a Yoruba girl. The groom and his friends and family will have to bow to the bride’s family. Whether or not you are wearing gold and the floor is dirty, you can not escape this tradition. This practice involves your chest touching the ground and your entire body stretched like a log of wood. This prostration process is done four times by the groom before the end of the marriage ceremony.

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3. Virginity TestNigerian Marriage Customs

The Virginity test is an ancient Yoruba tradition that has been a very controversial one for many years now. It occurs at the wedding eve where the groom is expected to consummate the marriage and his family will wait at the entrance of the room for him to come out with a bloodstained bed-sheet as confirmation that he married a virgin. If the bride fails the text, a message (half boiled/half roasted yam) is sent to her family and the bride will have to live with the shame of defiling herself before marriage. However, since the dawn of the 21st century, this tradition seems to be fast fading away.

4. Igbo Marriage Custom of Fund Solicitation

Nigerian Marriage Customs

This is one of Nigerian marriage customs that has over the years raised up a lot of debate and has affected a lot of potential suitors from marrying the person they desire. The Igbo tribe has a peculiar expensive marriage procedure where a list of items must be presented before the marriage can take place. Aside from cash that is required, these gift items can cost up to N500,000 and it gets more expensive if the girl is a bachelors degree holder or has acquired masters or doctorate degree. This has led to a collapse in a lot of courtships after the man realizes he cannot meet up with the requirements to marry due to high demands from the lady’s extended family.

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5. Igbo Custom Of Not Marrying Until The Eldest Is Married

The Igbo family believes that marriage should follow in the order of seniority. The eldest son/daughter should get married first before the second, then third, just like that. After considering all these, many men who find themselves in such situation decide to either postpone the idea of marriage till their elders have tied the knots or go ahead without the blessings of their family. And in the case where the situation applies to a girl, most men prefer to leave her and marry outside such tribes, if they can’t wait for her sisters to get married.

But as change remains constant, people are finding a way around these Nigerian marriage customs. And some families are considerably lenient in exacting authority over some ancient traditions.


What are the various marriage practices in Nigeria?    

There are four major types of marriage that can be conducted in Nigeria. These include statutory marriage (often called court marriage); customary marriage (Traditional); church marriage; and Islamic marriage.

What can I expect from a typical Nigerian wedding?

Expect to meet lots of extended family members, and friends and varieties of food at any typical Nigerian Wedding. This is so because wedding ceremonies are a joyous occasion in Nigeria.

Who pays for a Nigerian wedding?

The parents of both the bride and the groom are usually responsible for the wedding ceremonies of their children. However, some cultures may choose to split the bills in various ways. Sometimes, the bride’s family is responsible for one day, while the groom’s family pays for another.

How is marriage viewed in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, marriage is viewed as more than just the union of two individuals, it is the union of families and their ancestors.

How much is the Bride Price in Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, and what are they called in the Local Language?

The payment of the bride price “Rubu Dinar” in Hausa ranges to the highest amount the groom can afford to pay. In Yoruba land, it is called Eru Iyawo and the amount is between N1,000 to N5,000. In Igbo land, bride price which is called “Ime ego”, can be as little as 20 – 40 Naira, part of which would be handed back to the groom by the bride’s father 

How long does a Nigerian wedding last?

The format of a Nigerian traditional wedding ceremony varies from one of Nigeria’s 371 tribes to another. However, most Nigerian weddings could last over 1-3 days on average as determined by the couple.

What is the Age of Marriage in Nigeria?

The legal marriage age in Nigeria is 18 years for both male and female.


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