INU NWUNYE: BRIDE PRICE
My most recent collection, “Onicha Ado N’Idu: Naming Rites & Traditions of the Igbos of Nigeria”. I would like to continue in this vein, drawing on elements of cultural awareness and audience education on one of the three main tribes of Nigeria, the Igbos, hailing from the South-Eastern part of the country.
I want to bring to the fore, our notion of INU NWUNYE: Bride Price.
INU NWUNYE will showcase a young woman's passage from INYO-UNO – the knocking / introduction ceremony which heralds a betrothal, IBUNABAITE – the bride’s primary visit to her fiancé’s home, URI – eight days spent with the bridegroom’s family where she is assessed as a worthy potential housewife, IJE ILO – familiarization with the bridegroom’s family, INA UNO – leaving her ancestral home, through to IGO MUO and INU-MMANYA – the marriage and (palm) wine-carrying ceremony.
Many of these traditions, mainly the IBUNABAITE and URI aspects, have since died out. As the old adage says – old order changeth yielding place to the new. Cultural customs faded to the pervasive western systems but some lingering elements of yesteryear still constitute a solid foundation upon which the marriage rites are operated today. Current western practices of marriage in Igboland are a superstructure imposed on the underpinnings of indigenous betrothal and engagement practices.
Having very recently undergone both traditional and white (western) marriage ceremonies myself, I am keen to depict and highlight the now obsolete marital practices of the Igbo culture and educate my generation and a wider audience, on the symbolic practices of our forebears before it is lost to us entirely.