Today we will be talking about bride price in Ezeagu, Enugu State. The issue of bride price, dowry and all marriage rites especially for the Igbos have recently become a big deal. With all the complaints and different experiences, a lot of people have, there has come to be, lots of misconceptions on the issue.
The Igbos to a great extent have a rich and wonderful culture and traditions which they adhere to. The issue of marriage is held in very high regard in Igbo land. There are ceremonies to perform and stages to those activities which you must adhere to if you want to have a pleasant ride; that is if your queen is precious to you. We already know it is a woman’s world when it comes to marriage and weddings so lets’ get started.
Particularly, this article will be addressing the issues of Bride price in Enugu State, putting Ezeagu in perspective. This is called ‘Ego Nwanyi’ in Igbo land. For the various parts and cultures in Igbo, the process may differ.
What Amount is paid as Bride Price
In Ezeagu, Enugu State, the process of arriving at the amount to be paid is called ‘Ichi ede’. This is done with Kolanut or dry palm fruit, Aki. The whole idea of bride price or dowry as called in some places is for the groom to know that ‘nwanyi nwere ebe osi na ndi nwee ya’ meaning a woman has a place of origin and a people she belongs to.
This is intended to alert the prospective groom that she, the bride is valuable to her people and that he has to prove himself of being capable to take care of their daughter. Nobody in this world will hand you their precious possession for free to talk of ‘nwata akworo aka zuo’, a well-trained child.
So, it can be paid before or during the traditional marriage. Ideally, it is to be paid by the third visit of the groom and his kindred to the bride’s family: find more about the visits here.
How Relevant is Bride Price in Ezeagu and Igbo Land
It is important to note that the bride price is different from the traditional marriage list or kindred list which is popularly known as ‘list Umunna’. The pride price is the particular token paid before the groom can address the bride as his wife.
You can marry a woman without honoring the other lists in some peculiar situations but even when you carry out all the requirements without paying the bride price, you can still not call her your wife. This goes to show how the bride price is important in Igbo marriages.
Bride Price is Different from Marriage List
More often than not, the amount to be paid as the actual bride price in parts of Enugu State or Ezeagu I particular is not more than N1000 or ‘akpa ego ise’. I was very surprised when I attended a friend’s traditional marriage and discovered her bride price is N60, sixty nairas… can you imagine. Well, these standards were set when the money could build a house so if a groom paid sixty nairas to the parents of the bride, the rest is a testimony.
So, primarily, there is a need for the separation of ‘bride price’ and other marriage lists in Igbo land. The bride price which is the most important is mostly the least in terms of cost. The other lists may contain items like drinks, palm wine, fabrics, kola nut and much more. This is usually village and family influenced and is highly negotiable.
Implications of Paying or Not Paying a Woman’s Bride Price
To demonstrate the importance of this bride price especially in Ezeagu, Enugu State, if at any point the parties involved decide to break off the marriage, the only thing the man is required to do is to collect a refund of ‘just’ the bride price paid to the bride’s family. Once this is done, the bride is free to move on and remarry and for another bride price to be paid by her new husband.
Another situation is if a woman in Ezeagu, Enugu state has a child for a man without the man paying the bride price, the child legally belongs to the woman’s father. If the man and woman finally decide to go ahead with the marriage, he can only lay claims on the child when he pays the bride price or dowry.
In a certain situation where the man lived with the woman without paying the dues, they had three children from cohabiting. Unfortunately, the woman passed and the man could not lay claims on her body or even the children. They were all taken to her father. The man involved had to pay the bride price of a dead lady before claiming his children. Yes, the Igbo tradition is a strict one. This is even backed in family law and all other laws concerning marriage, so, feel free to go to court.
So, now that we know the meaning of bride price, what it really is and how much it could cost, can we stop spreading false news? But hey, for the people complaining about how expensive Igbo marriages are, what was your plan? You just want to come and pick the girl as if you went for a school run? Mbanu!!!