Marriage is the lawful union of a man and a woman to make up a family. It is an agreement between a man and a woman to live together as husband and wife. It involves a union between two families. When two people are married, they live together in the same house. They support each other and work hard to make their family strong and happy. Marriage is usually the beginning of a nuclear family.

Types of marriage

  1. Monogamy is a marriage to one person at a time. It is between one man and one woman.


  1. Polygamy is marriage to more than one person at a time. It may be between one man and more than one woman or between one woman and many men. This kind of polygamous marriage is called polyandry. It is not often practiced in Nigeria. Many people in Nigeria have polygamous marriage.

Marriage practices

Marriage is usually an arrangement between two families. Families who like and respect each other would arrange for their sons and daughter to get married. Today, families do not have as much say in the choice of marriage partner as they use to. The marriage ceremony is called a wedding. A man who is to marry is called a bridegroom. A woman who is to marry is called a bride.


Elements of Igbo traditional wedding

  1. There is a process called wine carrying.
  2. Gin and kola nut are part of the bride price.
  3. A dowry is paid to the bride’s family.
  4. Part of the ceremony include the bride searching for the groom among the guests.

Elements of Hausa/Fulani traditional wedding

  1. The bride and all her friends use henna to decorate their hands and feet.
  2. The wedding usually take place over a few days.
  3. The bride runs away from home and has to be caught (kamu) a few days before the wedding.

Elements of Yoruba traditional wedding

  1. Baskets of food are exchanged between the bride and the groom.
  2. There is a formal letter reading indicating the interest of the man to marry the lady.

Elements of Christian traditional wedding

  1. Takes place in a church.
  2. Bride wears a white gown with a veil.
  3. There is usually a bridal train with flower girls, maid of honour and ring bearers.
  4. The bride and groom exchange vows and rings.

Elements of a Muslim traditional wedding

  1. A Nikai (wedding prayer) binds the bride and groom.
  2. The wedding can take place in a mosque, house, or any other venue.
  3. The bride’s face is covered with a veil.
  4. A dowry is paid to the bride.


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