In igbere culture and tradition, as it was, it is the parent that decides who their children gets married to, not the opposite that is prevalent today. I am boldly to mention here that marriage is very simple in igbere. Marriage is usually used to strengthen family-friend’s tie, business relationships, etc.
It is important to say here that every igbere man or woman under normal circumstance should marry from igbere and within igbere communities. But in the case where an igbere man or woman decided to marry out saide igbere, the man or woman must provide what igbere knows and calls ( NDE-MBARA within the igbere clan. From then on, that family called NDE-MBARA became the caretaker or the spokes man of the the in-laws from out-side who came to marry our ladies. The onye mbara will be regarded as one of the people that came as in-law though he is from igbere…that’s our traditional way of marriage.

marriage arrangements or negotiations does not just start when either the male or female child attains the age of getting married, in most cases, in those days as I mentioned in my previous write-ups that the arrangements starts as soon as the female child is born, a family friend may put coins… in the water of the new born baby girl (1 kobo, 10 kobo, Toro, shish etc) according to what was in vogue in those days as money.
Another way of getting a wife apart from putting coins in water is that the mother of the male child or his father, but in most cases the mothers will observe a girl if they like her, will approach the parents and inquire if there is any body on ground asking lady hand in marriage, if no they can from there begin to arrange, lobby or woo the parents of the lady so that they can secure her for their son. If these two options were not arranged earlier on, the next will be for the parents of the young man to start looking for a wife for their son, sometimes they will spread the news to their relatives to help them look for a good behaved lady for their son. When a good lady is found, investigation will be carried out to determine her family background by asking questions whether ( they steal, are they lazy people, are they clean people, do they suffer from mental problem, do untimely sickness run through their family, do they have unusual diseases or ailment) all sorts of investigations. When all these are concluded, if the lady and her family background are approved or acceptable to the other family both ways, then the marriage rite begins. But before then, the parents of the young man will sit their son down and ask him if he is ready to get married, not in terms of money, but more in terms of maturity.

MARRIAGE RITE: the father of the young man will carry the wine of enquiry ( MAI-AJUJU) to the family of the lady. This is to seek the lady’s hand in marriage for his son.

ITEM NEEDED FOR WINE ENQUIRY…MAI-AJUJU: 4 gallons of palm wine (about 20 liters), a sizeable meat,1 costly hot drink. After the both families finished drinking the wine and eating the meat, the family of the lady will ask their visitors their mission or why did they bring the wine. In answering the family of the young man will state their mission, meaning to seek their daughter’s hand in marriage; most at times not in plain language but in parable like (WE SAW AN APPLE IN YOUR COMPOUND AND DECIDED TO COME AND PLUCK IT, OR WE SAW A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER IN YOUR FAMILY, AND WE NEED IT). Then the family of the lady will reply and say…we have heard you people, let us ask our daughter some questions, or they will say okay, we will send for you.

In most cases, they may not send for you, you may have to go back on your own to ask them how far or if they are still investigating you…the young man, they may tell you that their daughter have not answered or tell you to be patient with them. But if they are through with their investigation and enquiries and are satisfied, they will tell you to tell your family to come and start the next marriage rite.

“Ebiri”…… Ezumeezu
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