A Typical Akwa Ibom (Ibibio) Wedding

Every now and again, it’s good to go out and experience what life in other parts of the country is like. Involve yourself in the culture of other tribes and have fun while you do it.

I was fortunate enough to be part of a series of amazing events that led to a wedding ceremony in the heart of Akwa Ibom. It was absolutely beautiful. Something I’d want to be a part of over and over again. During my stay, I was able to talk to a few natives who gave me a thorough idea of what an Ibibio wedding is like.

So, if you’re Akwa Ibom and you’re planning on getting married pretty soon or you are just one looking to acquire knowledge, you should enjoy this read.

Here goes…

It all begins when the groom-to-be schedules a date for “Locating the In-Laws {Ndidiong Ufok}”. In Akwa Ibom, this is the first stage in the process of getting married. The idea is simply to allow the groom to locate the house of the bride’s parents. In the words of a native, “to know the road to the bride’s family house” and relay his intentions to them. Back in the day, it was advised that the groom comes alone or with a friend and a bottle of wine. It is rumored that the reason for this was, to ensure that if the parents were going to reject the groom, it could be done quietly and with very little family members present. It is just a casual visit to the bride’s family. Once the groom has been approved by the family, he is allowed to make formal his intentions. The date for this is entirely different from the day of the casual visit and is usually done whenever the couple deems fit.

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The next stage is called Knocking {Nkung Udok}. This is the formal declaration of intentions. Here, the groom-to-be after being approved by the bride’s family comes over to the bride’s family house again. This time with preferably an elderly member of his paternal family, although in cases where no such person exists, an elderly man from the clan can take stead. The elder makes intentions known formally and presents a few bottles of drinks. After this is achieved, the groom’s family is invited for the introduction ceremony and a list of things to be presented at the ceremony is given to the groom’s family. The list will usually contain drink items and a few other things to aid the introductory ceremony.

Once the date for the Introduction {Mbop} is set, the groom and his entire family or able representatives as well the bride’s family assemble themselves in a chosen venue. Here, both families present a spokesman, with the bride’s family spokesman doubling-up as the moderator. In Akwa Ibom, the natives are very particular about food. They believe that all guests must be served food upon arrival in their homes especially in-laws. However, the decision to serve the prospective in-laws food before or immediately after the introduction is entirely up to you. Most families would rather serve the food first. This is done because they believe that when a guest comes to your home, you welcome him/her, give food and ask, “You came to our house, we welcomed you, we fed you, now what are you here for?” It is at this point that the Introduction Ceremony commences. The families get to know one another by questioning each other. Family members also advice and pray for the couple. Once all the formalities are over with, the items that were requested are presented to the bride’s family for crosschecking and approval. Once the items are approved, another list is drawn up for the groom’s family to be presented at the traditional marriage. The bride price is also negotiated.

The traditional Marriage {Usoro Ndo} is the wedding proper. The items on the list ought to have been presented prior to this day to ensure that everything requested for is provided before the date. On this day, the groom and his family make their way to the bride’s village. Of course they may have arrived sometime earlier, but that it is said that they arrive that day. Upon their arrival, the women and children of the village barricade the entrance with road blocks. The women and children make their request known to the groom’s family and it is the duty of the groom and his people to provide whatever they request on the spot. It is said that this is done because the women cut the grasses on the roadside and children sweep the road, so they must be paid for their services. When this has been settled, all the invited guests move to the marriage venue except the groom and his friends who are taken to a separate location.

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The event kicks off with beautiful meals presented neatly for the guests. The spokesman at the event introduces each meal and explains to the guests that the daughter to be married can prepare every single meal mentioned and presented. Akwa Ibom people pride themselves with their ability to cook well and cook different varieties of food. The food presented could vary from appetizers to proper meals such as, Cassava chips and coconut {Edi ta iwa}, Roast corn and pear, Roast plantain and palm oil, Palm kernel and garri, Afang soup, Edi tan soup, Edi kang ikong soup, Atama soup, Ekpan nku kwo and loads more.

All the different kinds of food are served to everyone present including the groom in his separate location. After eating, the groom’s family is ushered into the main venue. The bride and her entourage are danced in to commence the marriage proper. Depending on the village in question, the traditional marriage is similar to that of the Igbos.

Thank you very much for reading. I’d like to know if this read has been of any help to you or if you have a particular topic you want me to talk about. Please drop your comments in the comment box below.

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6 thoughts on “A Typical Akwa Ibom (Ibibio) Wedding

  1. may says:

    Quite enlighting. Can I have your email add as I will need more info on this.

  2. Grace says:

    What are the items for introduction pls?

  3. D u go 2rough d same process even if u ar not a native o f d area?…if ‘yes’,pls enlighten me.Thanx

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