Introduction/Engagement Ceremony in Yoruba Land, South West Nigeria

In Nigeria, engagement ceremony is one of the important rites that must be performed before the actual wedding ceremony. The purpose of the ceremony is to introduce the entire family of the proposed couples to one another. It's also the ceremony where the groom's family would officially ask for the bride's hand in marriage and also pay the bride prize.

This ceremony is often done in a week or two prior to the wedding ceremony, however the period might not be that far apart provided the proposed couples are from the same community. In some cases, the engagement ceremony is done a day or sometimes, some hours prior to the wedding ceremony since most family members are already acquainted with each other.

Engagement ceremony in Yoruba-land is an avenue to show that the bride's parents have officially allowed their daughter to get married to the groom. It should be of note that dining is an important part of the ceremony, and everybody is catered for by the bride’s family.

The engagement ceremony attire is always the native clothing in Yoruba-land commonly called “agbada”. Both the bride and the groom would sit beside each other in a position between the bride’s family and the groom’s family. The groom’s father leads their family to the occasion and most of the time, the whole family wear the same cloth pattern, commonly called “egbejoda”.

Everything is done by the groom’s family so as to impress and gain some respect from the bride’s family. The occasion settings is not complete without the presence of a female 'master of ceremony' which would direct the occasion and also speak on behalf of the groom’s family.

The most important event of the occasion is the presentation of the bride prize. These are materials requested for by the bride’s family prior to the period of engagement. The bride would not be given out for marriage by her parents without the bride price.

During the course of the occasion, the groom's family would submit a formal letter which is co-signed by the groom's parents, requesting the hand of the bride in marriage. This letter is read to the hearing of the bride's family and submitted to them together with the bride prize. With that done, the groom's family would be directed by the 'master of ceremony' to prostrate for the bride's family so that their request would be granted.

Normally, this event is used to raise money for the bride, because on this very occasion, the groom would be asked to pay a lot of money. Once the bride's family have granted the request of the groom's family, the proposed couple would then exchange an engagement ring and go to their parent to receive their blessings. After the prayer by both sides, dinning begins and the engagement program is officially over.


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