Our ancestors had their way of uniting two families in marriage.


We must return to this culture lest we lose our existence.

Continuity as a Race, is dependent upon procreation and, barring unfortunate circumstances, is via a marriage ceremony between man and wife, and between the two families. Each marriage (between a man and wife) is a marriage, regardless of how many wives the man takes. This is our culture.

What does a marriage ceremony involve in Yorubaland?



Take cognizance of the fact that Yoruba culture does not have “traditional” marriage. The idea of “traditional” is an offshoot of the imposition of the white man’s culture.

The white man brought his culture, forcing our people to refer to our marriage ceremony as “traditional”.

Marriage is marriage. This is called “Ìdána.” Ìdána is marriage, not a “type” of marriage, neither a “step” in the “process” of marriage.

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Ìdána is the marriage ceremony. Nothing less, nothing more, nothing else.

It’s about striking a “contract,” in a profound way. Two families are joined together, in the sense of one always on the lookout for the good of the other.

It’s spiritual, cultural.

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The occasion of “ìdána” is very solemn, in the days of our fathers.

Usually, it’s a “sitting-room” affair. Other members of the two families are usually outside awaiting when the core members would emerge to signify the conclusion of the contract, the ìdána, after which full-scale eating and drinking begins.

There was no external “alága ìdúró” or “alága ìjòkó”. These are commercial business women who turn what should be a solemn assembly into a loud, unserious carnival.

The solemnity is taken away in the now prevalent adulteration of the Yoruba marriage ceremony.

Our Yoruba marriage culture has no “ring” in it and no religious connotation.

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The two families sit, with nobody carelessly coming in and out. Bride and groom (ọkọ and ìyàwó) are not even there to begin with.

The parents of the two families, led by their elders, discuss among themselves. No food is served yet. Serious talk, serious business, though joyful. There is intimate discussion as to who and who are on each side of the two families (not the hurried so-called “Introduction”).

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It is clearly shown, not in a fanciful showbiz manner, who the parents of the groom are (to the parents and elders of the bride) and vice versa. There are instances of “oh, so you are the one” as they briefly but deeply get to know each other.

They discuss deeply how they intend to relate. Nothing hurried. They could be there for two hours. Then there’s the presentation of the “bride-price” by the family of the groom to the family of the bride. It has to be in the cultural form of the particular Ìdílé of the Yoruba Race. There are places where the bride-price is called “ẹẹ́jọ”. It’s a definite set/count of cowries stringed together, which in olden days was the actual amount of money, as bride-price.

They won’t accept cash. The cowries, stringed together, is the bride-price. It is kept safe by the father of the bride or the elder representing him. Two thousand years from now, if need be, they will bring it out as the “bride-price.” It’s the symbol of everlasting covenant.

This makes them to warn their daughter to never disrespect or misbehave in her husband’s house; as they do not want the shame of having to return the bride-price if her husband should be driven to the wall through her misbehaviour and asks her to leave his house.

After this solemn assembly have satisfactorily concluded this contract, they call in the groom. His father prays for him as he kneels down before him, after having first told everybody this is the groom.

Then the bride is called in. Her father or elders in the family take their turn to pray for her. It’s not some fanciful religious prayer, but down-to-earth unloading of the father’s heart to his daughter.

Nothing fanciful. No religious priests are there except in their capacity as close family, not for any religious purpose.

Then the bride and groom, together, kneel before her parents. The father prays for them. Certain key members of the family also take turn. It’s structured, not an all-comers affair. These prayers are more of prophetic pronouncements.

Then they both kneel down again before the parents and elders of the groom’s family, for similar blessing.

Satisfied, both families look themselves in the eyes – they have become “àna”. It’s done. Everybody is happy. Food begins to get served. Those outside might have been served a little earlier.

Then the bride and groom come out and celebrate with the rest.

It’s done. Man and wife, two families bound together.