Nigeria’s traditional wedding is made up of various ethnic groups. For the purpose of this short article, I will be talking mainly about the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Hausas dominate the northern part, the Igbos who are predominately in the east, and the Yorubas in the west. Even though they are all one Nigeria, they speak different languages and therefore represent their unique cultures differently.
Regardless of which part the Nigerian wedding is taking place or the budget size, the Nigerian traditional weddings are typically a display of tradition in the most colorful, flamboyant, glamorous, and exciting way. This is probably why wedding planning is a booming business in Nigeria.
This is not to say that all Nigerian weddings are flamboyant, there are some exceptions. For example, people who choose to plan small, depending on preferences and budget plan. In some cases, this might lack the display of traditional excitements every typical Nigerian wedding has. When the typical Nigerian is getting married and the budget is tight, you can expect nothing short of a colorful carnival at its peak.
Prints and Fabrics play a big role at different events in Nigeria, especially, these Nigerian Weddings. At Nigerian traditional weddings, you see all kinds of fabrics made in spectacular designs. At Hausa weddings, the fabrics and styles are synonymous with their culture. (Please see the picture below for an example of a typical Hausa wedding and some guests). If you look closely at the bride’s hands, you will see the body art with henna which is a big part of the Hausa culture.
Finally, for the Yoruba wedding, please see the picture above. This shows a typical Yoruba bride and her bridal train (above), and the groom’s men (below). The bride and her groom are fully dressed in the Yoruba traditional attire known as the Aso-oke. The groom’s men and the bridal train in most cases have different outfits, which is typical.
As different, rich, and diverse the Nigerian weddings are, they all have one thing in common, this is the typical Aso-ebi (which is a Yoruba word) but commonly used to describe outfits made from matching fabrics to be worn by a group of people at wedding to identify guests groups. For example, at a wedding, all the bride’s friends might wear pink and silver just like in the Yoruba wedding picture (above), the bride’s family might wear yellow and gold, and the groom’s friends might wear brown and yellow, and so on.
Usually, at weddings, the various fabrics for the aso-ebi are provided by the bride or her family and are then announced to all the guests (months) in advance so they can prepare their outfits. Guests are usually expected to buy the aso-ebi from the bride. But close friends and family members or special guests can be presented with the aso-ebi as gifts most times.
Whether you choose to go for the Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba wedding, be sure to prepare yourself for a fun and diverse show of tradition and glamour.