Nigerian Traditional Introduction
This is the part of the ceremony where the groom's family introduces themselves to the bride's family, and asks for their daughter's hand in marriage to their son. It would take place before the engagement ceremony or wedding.
The participants of this are:
*The groom and his family
*Olopa Iduro (this translates to 'standing policeman'): an appointed speaker by the groom's family; could be a family member, or hired for the occasion.
*The bride and her family
*Olopa Ijoko (this translates to 'sitting policeman'): an appointed speaker by the bride's family; could be a family member, or hired for the occasion.
*Others if the families so choose.
The introduction takes place at the bride's house, and her family is responsible for the preparations and costs, but if the groom's family is able to, they can suggest helping out with some of the costs and/or the food. Both parties are in traditional attire, and I have not heard anywhere that these have to be matching.
Upon entrance into the bride's home, the groom's family kneels (the women do that) or prostrate (the men do that) for the bride's parents. The groom's family and the bride's family sit on opposite sides of the room, with the bride and groom sitting closer to the center, and the olopa iduro and olopa ijoko sitting in the very middle.
The olopa iduro introduces the groom and his family to the bride and her family. He then brings a proposal letter from the groom's family, usually tied with a pink ribbon, and gives it to the groom's family, through the olopa ijoko. The letter is read out, and responded to verbally on the spot. Since this is mostly a formality, and it is already known that the couple will marry, there usually is not much rejection at this point. Usually, a prayer is said at this point, and some symbolic items of food are tasted by the olopa's and then passed around to the guests. These include:
*obi (kola nut) is shared, during which the following words are repeated:
*Won ma gbo (they will ripen). Won ma to (they will eat and not go hungry). Won ma d'agba (they will grow old)
*ata ire: this consists of many seeds, and it is opened up, and the superstition is that the number of seeds that fall out is the number of children the couple will bear.
*oyin (honey), sugar, ireke (sugar cane): these all symbolize that the union will be sweet.
Some additional words may be exchanged, then gifts are exchanged, and then the families and guests eats traditional food, and there may be singers and drummers for some celebration later.
During the engagement ceremony the families are introduced to each other formally so the invited guest are familiar with everybody in either family. The two family would normally have a speaker each to relay messages across to the other, this is done in the ceremony (the brides family would sit on one side and the grooms on the other. A reply to the letter asking for their daughters hand in Marriage is read out by the brides sister or younger relative or even the speaker on the brides side.
Along with other things, the grooms family will come to this ceremony with traditional food stuff such as; yam, palm oil, sugar, ram, drinks and many more.. other things the grooms family will provide is a suitcase packed with traditional clothing include shoe, bags, jewelry and in some cases they will have to give a DOWRY...This is known as the bride price.The couple usually gives each other a Bible or Quran, give each other rings, and they may say some words to each other. After this ceremony the bride goes back to her fathers house to prepare for the wedding day.