You ever been to a traditional wedding? No not the second part that everyone attends and involves a lot of dancing, yes we’ve been there. I’m talking about the one that happens before that, behind closed doors open to only the elite squad (few family members only) where the real joining of the two families occur. I’ve been privileged to attend two of those, one was last year and the other last month where I decided to document for blog post purposes.
Clearing up a little issue that I’ve encountered a few times, Benin is the place and Bini is the tribe. Also, Edo people consist of different tribes (Bini, Esan etc). So meaning someone is from Edo doesn’t necessarily mean they are Bini… hope that makes some sense.
P.S: This post is picture packed, but you wouldn’t want to miss anything now would you?
So welcome to the elite squad in a Bini traditional wedding/ marriage.
Before the day, the brides family gives the marriage list ( things required ) to the grooms family, the list can be outrageous and both families usually bargain till an agreement is reached. Sadly i can’t find the list for this one again but it wasn’t so long.
P.S: The list varies family to family.
The ceremony mainly involves the elders from both families.
The grooms family at one end, that’s my grand papa in blue.
The brides family
Kolanut is an essential marriage element in the Bini land, I can’t speak for other tribes.
The grooms family present the kolanut to the bride’s
A little prayer is said (in Bini of course) during the breaking of the kolanut. The kolanut is blessed by the oldest elder in the bride’s family
The Kolanut is then passed around with respect in mind. You can’t serve me first when we have elders in the house.
The entire event is done in Bini language, only few moments you would hear English being exchanged. It’s a traditional ceremony after all.
Time to take a sip
The grooms family sharing their intentions, I’m sure you’ve heard that “my son saw a beautiful flower in your garden and we’ve come to pluck it speech”
Groom is brought in wearing a Bini attire
There’s a custom known as cutting the wood, where the brides family
present a line of other girls asking if she’s the one. Cutting the wood?
well yes, you a have to cut the wood blocking the way preventing the
actual bride from coming out. In this case, it was fueling the car.
How do you cut the wood or fuel the car? well with money of course, as the women dance and sing out with the girls they pause at certain points where you have to drop some money for them to move again. They do need money for the fuel after all.
Fueling the car again lol
Yes it’s a lot of beads
The groom kneels before his in-laws with his father behind him. His father behind him signifying he’s the one presenting him to them
Settling the women, they were presented with money and kolanut. Can’t recall how much was picked out by the elder but most of it was returned back.
Before the bride can be given to the man, some groups have to be settled with gift offerings, this occurs in a different room. The grooms family have discussions with the groups.
The bride price? well that varies i’ve heard it’s 25 naira, I’ve heard lower but it depends on the family. In any case money is offered, and the family picks what they want and return the rest if they like or they can keep it all, after all you are getting a wife lol.
In this case, it was 115/125 naira (cant remember which exactly lol).
The groom unveils the bride
The bride is lifted and placed on his father’s lap seven times by the elder from the bride’s side
The groom’s father places the bride on his lap. Now they are man and wife.
The couple presented to the bride’s family where they receive prayers and words of advice
The elite squad meeting is over fam lol, the couple dance for the first time outside as husband and wife and the party begins.
The couple is ushered outside where they are received by family and well wishers. After a few pictures, the couple change outfits (definitely needed, I’m sure those beads weigh a ton).
The lovely wedding cake baked my aunt.
Couple cutting the cake
Then it goes by with the norm; dancing, eating, and pictures.
I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on what goes on in a Bini traditional marriage.
Have you ever attended the “closed doors” of any traditional marriage?