Traditional Marriage Rites In Ilorin Kwara State

Kwara is a state in Western Nigeria with Ilorin as its capital, Kwara is located in North central geopolitical zone which is referred to as North central.

Like many other cultures, weddings are very important to the people of Ilorin and are often celebrated with pomp and pageantry.

Traditional marriage rite in Ilorin, Kwara states is a ceremony of different colours and rich traditional displays of all sorts. Kwara is a state with different ethnic groups this influences their marriages which often turns out to be a blend of cultures of various interesting ethnic group and traditions.

Once both parents are informed of the decision of their children to get married the girl’s family background is verified as well as the groom’s. The groom’s family then takes a step further to go the girl’s home to formally ask for the young girl’s hand in marriage.

After deliberation on the proposal, they will carry out some spiritual consultations to find out whether to go ahead with the marriage. If the response is positive, the groom’s family will do a thanksgiving by visiting the bride’s family with gifts of money (Owoidajo) and kola nuts.

The money and the kola nuts will be shared among the relatives and a date will be fixed for the marriage. After the date for the marriage is fixed, sweets and kola nuts would be sent out to neighbours and distant relatives as a form of invitation to the wedding ceremony.

Traditional marriage ceremony rites in Ilorin can last for a week, beginning on Sunday and ends seven days after.


The Seven Days Activities

  • Bride’s Preparation.


The bride prepares herself for the wedding by having traditional tattoo done to beautify and uplift her looks for the ceremony. This is called laali and it is usually done by relatives or friends of the lady outside her father’s house.


  • The party night

A night party with traditional songs and dance known as kengbe goes on till dawn. She will be given a traditional bathe after the party.





  • Pouring of water into a mortar

Another form of tradition takes place on Tuesday where water is poured                                                     into a mortar and covered it with a calabash. This exercise is strictly for women. While performing this tradition, a drummer keeps them dancing to their traditional talking drum during the rites.


  • Religious ceremony

If both of them are Muslims, a ceremony known as Walimat is organized for both of them in their respective families to commemorate their completion of reading of the holy Quran. During this tradition, they are made to recite some selected chapters from Quran before the Alfas who taught them Quran. Then their friends and different family members reciting it and are given some money in appreciation.


  • Demand for the bride

On Thursday, the women from the groom’s family will come as a group demanding for their bride in the name of the prophet


  • Traditional Display

On Friday a traditional display is put up in honour of the women’s requests being granted. The bride will be accompanied to the groom’s home by some family members along with drummers and singers on a horse back while her face is covered with a veil. They go there with all the household items the bride will use when she eventually gets to her husband’s house. As soon as she alights from the horse at the groom’s family house and water is poured on her feet. A mortar is quickly put before her and a young man pours millet into it for her to grind. She pounds it three times and goes inside the house where she would be brought back to repeat the process thrice before she is finally introduced to the family members. She displays the household items that she came with then the groom’s family entertains the bride’s family with foods and other delicacies which are mostly traditional foods.


  • Seeing the Queen mother

On Saturday, the bride is taken to see the queen mother in her chamber. In this chamber she will be beautifully dressed in lovely attires. The husband comes for her and takes her to his own house.




  • The bride leaves her husband’s house


On Sunday morning, the bride leaves her husband’s house and heads back to her father’s house where she will be given two big bangles to adorn her hands with and another two for her legs. She is expected to wear it for a week before she takes them off, keeping them for special occasions. Finally she is given some gifts of local delicacies such as ground nut, sugar cane and dankuwa to take back to her husband’s house.

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