Customary marriage in Nigeria is generally known as traditional marriage. This marriage is usually the first thing done even before the white or court wedding. Customary marriage (or traditional marriage) as it’s commonly known as, is a compulsory practice that MUST be done before you can walk down the aisle with your partner. So let’s find out more about customary marriage and why it is important!
WHAT IS CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE?
Traditional marriage is a marriage ceremony which is being conducted in conformity to the traditional marriage rites of the bride’s and groom’s families. It is an observance of the traditional customs of couples’ ethnicity and this act is carried out by the bride and groom, and also their families.
Customary marriage has so much deep meaning to it. It’s beyond just travelling to your spouse’s state of origin to get wedded. Hence the reason why there are so many protocols and traditional practices that comes along with it. It involves dowry payment of the bride by the groom, family introduction, and acknowledgement of the marriage among many others.
It is a sign of agreement between both families that they approve of the union of their children with each other. Customary marriage is done with the sole aim of bringing the groom’s and bride’s families together in one accord. It symbolises a coalescence of culture, especially the inter-marriages i.e the marriages between two different ethnicities and states.
WHY IS CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE IMPORTANT?
As earlier said, customary marriage is not just an act done to simply fulfil all righteousness. On the contrary, it is carried out for quite significant reasons. So let’s explore these reasons in this article.
MARRIAGE OF CULTURE
This is certainly one of the most important reasons why traditional marriage must come first before anything else. Now, here’s why; imagine getting married to a person who is from the culture you or your family don’t believe in or support, how’s that going to work? Yes, you answered correctly, it’s going to be a total mess because there is always going to be a clash of beliefs.
Customary marriage builds the bridge that would have been created by the breach of traditional marital rites. It connects the cultures and practices of the bride and groom and makes them one. However, understand that this act cannot be singlehandedly carried out by the groom and his bride. It is an exercise that requires the involvement of both families.
HONOUR AND RESPECT
Asides from bringing about the marriage of culture, customary marriage also signify honour and respect to the culture and families of the “to-be wedded”. Getting traditionally married promotes respect for the couples because it signifies that they are not out of wedlock.
SIGNIFIES LEGITIMATE COMPANIONSHIP
One of the purposes of a customary marriage is to make approved companionship between the couples. It simply means that the traditionally wedded couples are allowed to live together from henceforth as husband and wife. However, if the necessary traditional rites haven’t been done, it is seen as illegitimate and out of wedlock.
LEGITIMATIZE BEARING CHILDREN
No one likes the stigma of having a child out of wedlock or bearing an illegitimate baby. Well, a child is only called illegitimate when the parents are not joined together by an existing marriage. This explicitly says they have not been traditionally married.
Customary marriage legitimizes the bearing of children and gives them a recognized name and origin, which is that of the father.
WHY CUSTOMARY MARRIAGE COMES FIRST BEFORE WHITE/COURT WEDDING
As aforementioned, customary marriage signifies that a couple is now joined together as husband and wife even before the white wedding. So let’s see why.
A white wedding is merely a ceremonial occasion, it is only done with the aim of getting the blessings and reverence of a spiritual father. This type of wedding is conducted to solemnity the marriage and nothing more. It is not as important as the customary marriage and thus can be ignored.
While the court wedding is the legally recognized wedding which is done in a marriage registry. This involves the couples signing marriage agreements with the stated terms and conditions in the presence of a witness. This type of marriage also isn’t as significant as traditional marriage because it can’t be done when the necessary traditional rites haven’t been performed.
In summary, there is no type of marriage that is more paramount compared to customary marriage. The reason is that this marriage has a lot of deep meaning and importance associated with it.
So if you’ve been confused about its importance, well we hope this article was enlightening enough.
Kindly share your views, questions or thoughts on customary marriage in the comment section and let’s discuss with you.