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Yoruba traditional wedding is a beautiful and interesting event. It is an event filled with unlimited fun, contemporary music, bright colours and different traditional meals.
Also, the Yoruba traditional wedding is always a beautiful event to attend popular called ‘Owambe’. It is an event to showcase your best dress, shoes, handbags, jewellery etc.
However, before a traditional wedding can take place in the Yoruba tribe; there’s a list of items to be brought by the groom’s family called Engagement List popularly called “Eru Iyawo” in the Yoruba language.
- 1 The Yoruba Traditional Wedding List – What you should know?
- 2 Basic (or Generic) items in the Engagement List for the Groom
- 3 Items in the Yoruba Traditional Wedding List and what they symbolize
- 4 How do you plan a Yoruba Wedding?
- 5 Different Yoruba Families and their Wedding List
- 6 Yoruba Introduction Ceremony
The Yoruba Traditional Wedding List – What you should know?
This Yoruba traditional wedding list or Engagement List comprises of the items demanded by the bride’s family from their in-laws.
The bride’s family sometimes holds a general family meeting some months before the wedding, in order to come up with the traditional wedding list. This list is thereafter handed to the groom before the date of the traditional wedding.
The traditional wedding list differs due to the background of the bride’s family and their level of exposure. The requirements are based on the bride’s state of origin.
In this article, I’ll list out the general Yoruba traditional wedding list with a vivid explanation of their meaning and importance.
Basic (or Generic) items in the Engagement List for the Groom
- 1 Bible
- Letter of proposal for marriage
- Engagement ring
- 1 box of clothes for the bride which must include 1 wristwatch, Traditional Outfits (Iro and Buba), 2 handbags with matching shoes.
- 1 Umbrella
- 42 Big Tubers of Yams
- 42 pieces of Obi Abata (Kolanut)
- 42 pieces of Orogbo (Bitter Kola)
- 42 pieces of Ataare (Alligator pepper)
- 25 litres of Palm Oil
- 25 litres of Vegetable Oil
- 2 bottles of Natural Honey
- 42 pieces of Eja Osan (Smoked fish)
- Sugar cane
- 1 dish of Corn Cake (Aadun, in Yoruba language)
- 2 Baskets of Fresh Fruits (different types)
- 1 bag of rice
- 1 She-Goat
- 2 bags of Salt (10kg)
- 2 bags of Sugar (10kg)
- 10 Packs of Bottle Water
- 4 Cartons of Fruit Juice
- 2 Bottles of Wine
- 2 Bottles of Schnapps
- 2 Cartons of Beer
- 4 Cartons of Soft drinks
- 2 Cartons of Malt Drinks
- Bride price
- Owo Ikan lekun
- Owo Isigba
- Owo Baba gbo
- Owo Iya gbo
- Owo Ijoko Agba
- Owo Ijoko Iyawo
- Owo Awon Omo Ile
- Owo Iyawo Ile
- Owo Aeroplane
- Owo Telephone
- Owo Isiju Iyawo
- Owo kika letter
- Owo Alaga Ijoko
Owo Isigba means money to open the list of items that the groom brought.
Owo ijoko Iyawo means money to bring in the bride.
Owo Ikan lekun is the money to knock the door.
Owo Iya Gbo means money to seek the consent of the bride’s mother.
Owo Baba Gbo means money to seek the consent of the bride’s father.
Owo Ijoko Agba means money to give the elders present at the wedding.
Owo kika letter means money to read the proposal letter written by the groom’s family.
Owo Isigba means money to open the items brought by the groom’s family.
Owo Aeroplane means money to bring in the bride.
Owo Telephone means money to call in the bride.
Owo Isiju Iyawo means money to unveil the bride.
Owo Alaga Ijoko means money for the bride’s family MC.
However, the gift items are packaged and wrapped perfectly in baskets to match the colour of the day.
Before I proceed, let me quickly give a brief explanation of the term ‘Alaga Ijoko’ and ‘Alaga Iduro’.
Who is Alaga Ijoko
Alaga Ijoko is the traditional MC from the bride’s family who handles the ceremony on behalf of the bride’s family. She is a cheerful and playful woman.
Alaga Ijoko must have a sweet mouth. I mean she must know how to cajole the groom’s family and friends in a professional manner.
It is the duty of the Alaga Ijoko to make the ceremony interesting by making the groom’s family pay every dime expected of them on that day. She does all this in a playful and professional manner.
Also, it is the duty of the Alaga Ijoko to order in the bride and to make the groom pay before the bride is being unveiled.
Nonetheless, the Alaga Ijoko ensures the bride’s parents give their consent that day and generally makes the day an interesting one.
Who is Alaga Iduro?
Alaga Iduro is the traditional MC who handles all the groom’s family issues that day. She represents and speaks for the groom’s family and friends. She handles the ceremony on behalf of the groom’s family.
Alaga Iduro is also a cheerful, smart and outspoken woman who can counter the Alaga Ijoko demands professionally.
However, the Alaga Iduro ensures the groom’s family pay what is expected of them both the cash and the items demanded by the bride’s family.
When the Alaga Ijoko asks for any item or money from the groom’s family, it is the duty of the Alaga Iduro to give it to her.
Alaga Iduro ensures the groom’s family perform their right traditionally without holding anything back.
Items in the Yoruba Traditional Wedding List and what they symbolize
The Yoruba tribe has cultural values and cherish their cultural heritage and traditions. The items demanded by the bride’s family have their meanings and what they symbolize. Like I stated earlier, the items on the list differs and it’s based on the state of the bride’s family.
YAM: The Yoruba people see yam as a seed and a blessing to mankind. Yoruba believe yam is a blessing and so the marriage will be blessed with lots of children.
KOLANUT (OBI): Yoruba do say this prayer “Obi ma bi iku daanu”. They believe this would make danger, sickness, disease be far from their marriage.
BITTERKOLA (OROGBO): According to Yoruba; Kolanut would never die untimely hence, none of the couples would die untimely. They will both live long and age well.
GIN: Gin is used to pray for the couples. “Oti ki n ti, Oti ki n te”; this states that in their life and in their marriage, they won’t be put to shame. In all ramifications of their life, financially, materially, emotionally, health-wise etc.
FISH (EJA OSAN): “Itura l’eja gbe nu ibu”; this is a prayer the Yoruba adult believe so much in. They believe the couple won’t experience hardship of any sort. Things would be easy for them in their marriage.
UMBRELLA: Umbrella symbolizes spiritual coverage. In the couple’s home, they will be covered and no evil shall befall them.
PALM OIL: Palm oil is a neutralizer. Yoruba call it “ero”. They believe the couples would get things easy in life.
How do you plan a Yoruba Wedding?
Planning a wedding in Nigeria is quite expensive. Right after you pop the big question and she said “Yes”, you start calculating how much it would cost you to have a wedding of your taste.
Being a Yoruba groom, you must ensure you plan your expenses well without leaving anything back.
To hold a Yoruba traditional wedding, you must have up to five hundred thousand naira (#500,000) or more due to the cash and gift items written in the Engagement list.
Nonetheless, to make things easier for you, there are some vendors and events planners who would help you handle the engagement lists items.
As the groom, the only thing expected of you is to make good planning and solid budget for your traditional wedding and white (church) wedding.
Different Yoruba Families and their Wedding List
The Yoruba Royal Family
If you’re a guy who is planning to get married to a lady from a royal family, there are certain things that will be added to your engagement list “Eru Iyawo”.
Those items symbolize royalty and there are different from the general items found in the normal traditional wedding list.
1. BEMBE AND GBANGUDU
Bembe and Gbangudu are boxes presented to the bride by her mother on her wedding day. Bembe has round shape while Gbangudu is rectangular shaped.
However, as the groom getting married to a princess, you can be asked to buy the boxes too if need be and add to her Eru Iyawo.
2. ALAARI AND SANYAN
Alaari and Sanyan are expensive clothes worn by the royal family. If you are getting married to a lady from a royal family, you should have it in mind to buy these clothes and add to her Eru Iyawo.
These clothes symbolize eternal coverage for the bride.
Isaasun, as it is popularly known in Yoruba land, is an earthen pot which would be carried by a young beautiful maiden on the engagement day.
Getting married to a princess, you must buy Isaasun and Ipon with her Eru Iyawo as this signifies a complete marriage instrument.
The Issasun is used for cooking and food doesn’t get cold in it easily like the other modern pots. Ipon is a spoon used to serve food from the Isaasun.
This is one item that would be in the engagement list when getting married to a princess in the Yoruba land.
Amu is a container which is always used to keep water especially drinking water.
Buying this with the Eru Iyawo signifies that only the groom will fetch water from the bride’s well; which means the groom will not share his wife with another man.
The Amu would be kept by the bride as it is one of her properties or sometimes can be kept by the bride’s family.
However, it also signifies a peaceful home and marriage.
Another item which is found in the engagement list from a royal family is called ADOGAN.
Adogan is the Yoruba stove used for cooking. It is an item that would be brought by the groom since the stove is used to cook in marriage.
Oguso is one item the groom needs to bring alongside the Adogan.
Oguso is like a match used to light fire in Yoruba land.
As the groom, while you’re buying Adogan, have it in mind to buy Oguso too as they both work together. Adogan is the stove while Oguso is the match to light up the Adogan.
However, these items signify ultimate security of the bride in her husband’s home. It means no other woman would contend with her in her marriage.
7. OJA ODUN
Getting married to a princess, another item you have to buy in the engagement list is called Oja Odun.
Oja Odun contains medicinal power which can be used to cure ailments.
The Oja Odun doesn’t get old or torn no matter the number of children the bride might wish to have. It is an everlasting property of the bride which will be used to train all her kids.
8. IGBA OSUN
Also, there is Igba Osun. Igba Osun is a medicated powder that would be used by the bride for her kids.
Igba Osun and Oja Odun signify total fruitfulness. The bride would be fruitful and the marriage would produce great children.
9. IYUN AND SEGI
These expensive beads signify royalty and it tells you the bride must be treated as one.
Iyun is a red royal bead while Segi is a blue royal bead.
However, part of the items that would be bought is called SUKU. Suku is a jewellery box that should be added to the engagement list.
Furthermore, It is important to note that getting married to a princess, you have to plan well ahead and be prepared financially.
The engagement list from a royal family is different from the general engagement list from the Yoruba land.
The Yoruba Hunter Family
Getting married traditionally to a lady from the hunters family is an amazing event. The hunters family popular known as “Idile Ode” in Yoruba land holds an interesting ceremony when it comes to giving out their daughter to a man.
The hunter’s family engagement list is similar to the general engagement list from the Yoruba land. They request for almost the same item a neutral family would request for.
The items important to them on the engagement list are:
Most especially they request for a she-goat. The hunters family makes this a compulsory request because of their belief in tradition.
As a man getting married to a lady from the hunters family, ensure you buy a big she-goat as this is very important to them.
Most often than not, getting married to a woman who is from a hunter’s family requires you to buy a cow.
The size of the cow doesn’t really matter as the size of the she-goat.
However, this cow is being requested as a means of support from the groom to the bride’s family.
The cow would be used for the traditional wedding ceremony hence, the groom must buy it.
It is important to note that in Yoruba land, before a wedding can occur, the introduction must be done first.
The introduction ceremony is like a mini engagement ceremony where you also have the Alaga Ijoko who coordinates the day’s activities on behalf of the bride’s family.
Here, for the introduction, the groom’s family can decide to have their own Alaga too who is the Alaga Iduro. It depends on how lively and interesting they want the introduction to be. But mostly, the introduction is being done and handled by only one Alaga who is the one for the bride’s family (Alaga Ijoko).
However, the Alaga Ijoko for the introduction ceremony can be a member of the bride’s family or a total stranger.
The Alaga Ijoko helps the bride’s family to handle the ceremony so the groom’s family would perform all their task as in-laws.
Also, in the Yoruba traditional wedding ceremony, the Alaga Ijoko and Alaga Iduro officiate and coordinate the wedding activity on behalf of the two families with 100% professionalism.
You might be curious to know the gender of these two Alagas. They are both women. Alaga Ijoko and Alaga Iduro are women who are naturally talented entertainers.
While planning your traditional wedding, it is important to get a professional Alaga Iduro and Alaga Ijoko to handle the event. This makes the event an interesting and amazing one that might create an everlasting memory in the sense of your guests.
Another thing you should consider while planning your traditional wedding is the hall.
Most often than not, couples choose to pick two different days for their white wedding and traditional wedding.
This is because of the stress the bride or groom would go through planning the event. Also, choosing two different days can be due to how popular or famous both families are.
The hall should be greatly considered when planning your traditional wedding ceremony, especially as a Yoruba bride or groom.
The Yoruba people like extreme fun and it is one of the reasons why you need to get a well conducive hall for your traditional wedding.
A lot of people would attend a Yoruba traditional wedding because of the food and drinks involved.
Another reason why you need to get a well conducive hall for your traditional wedding ceremony is because of the Eru Iyawo. The Eru Iyawo are items that would be packaged by the wedding vendors or the groom’s family. These items are mostly placed in front of the guests or at a particular place where almost everyone can see it.
CHOICE OF OUTFIT FOR THE BRIDE AND GROOM
While planning your traditional wedding, the choice of outfit is very important. As the bride or groom, you’re the centre of attraction and your choice of outfit is a great deal.
For the Groom: You will need a quality fabric, most especially Guinea fabrics.
For the Bride: You will need a quality Aso Oke to sew your style.
Also, the choice of colours for these fabrics matters. The colour which was picked as the colour of the day should be a bright and attractive colour. This colour should be seen in your outfit as the bride and the groom.
Quality Aso Oke and Guinea fabrics would make you stand out as the couples and would help your photographer do less of photo editing.
For a successful wedding both traditional and white wedding, you will need the service of a vendor.
A professional, smart, time conscious and intelligent vendor would make your wedding memorable and beautiful.
There are many vendors who handle wedding, event planning, Aso Ebi, gifts and souvenirs, and Eru Iyawo.
If you’ve got the engagement list with you already and you’re wondering how you can get the items on the list, worry no more, a lot of vendors got you covered.
However, while choosing a vendor to handle your wedding; whether gifts or souvenirs or the general event planning, make sure you pick someone with a good reputation and great customer service.
The engagement list should be handed over to the vendor in order for her to get the items on your behalf. This saves you from the stress of going to the market yourself as the bride or groom. Also, an experienced vendor would get the items at an affordable rate and will make sure the items look presentable.
The cash in the engagement list depends on the certain amount the bride’s family demand for.
Some can be as low as 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 Naira. This cash would be enveloped and the name would be written on it.
The items on the engagement list would be wrapped by the vendor with the colour of the day.
You should read more on our Yoruba Traditional Wedding.
Nigerian Instagram Vendors that provide services for your Yoruba Traditional Wedding
Below are some Instagram vendors who handle general wedding planning both traditional and white wedding. These vendors can make the work easier for you and save you the stress of going to the market yourself to get the items on the engagement list. Check up their handle on Instagram and contact them for a professional service.
In conclusion, a Yoruba traditional wedding is an interesting event that showcases the tradition of the Yoruba land.
For a tribe that cherish tradition and has cultural values, the traditional wedding is filled with lot’s of fun.
The traditional MCs known as the Alagas make the wedding a very interesting and beautiful one.
Furthermore, the hall for the event should be a conducive hall that can contain up to 100 guests.
Never forget to request the service of a professional vendor for a successful occasion.
The Eru Iyawo should be properly packaged and cash demanded too should be well enveloped.
Do you wish to add more to the Yoruba Traditional Wedding list that we have above? Then drop your additions in the comment below. Let us build up the conversation.
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