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A traditional Igbo wedding in Nigeria

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Before a traditional Igbo wedding can take place, the fathers negotiate a symbolic price for the bride
  • The bride carries a cup of palm wine to her groom during the ceremony
  • Guests throw money once the ceremony is completed

CNN's new series i-List takes you to a different country each month. In September, we visit Nigeria focusing on changes shaping the country's economy, culture and social fabric as it celebrates 50 years of independence.

(CNN) -- iReporter Nnadozie John Igbokwe sent photos of his mother's traditional Igbo wedding ceremony.

Igbokwe, 22, who lives in Belgium, took the pictures at the wedding of his mother Tina Chenenye Ubatu to Ubatu Peter at Umuahia in Abia state in February this year.

The traditional ceremony is called Igbankwu, or wine carrying, because it involves the bride carrying a cup of palm wine to her groom.

Igbokwe said that prior to the ceremony itself the groom must visit the bride's compound with his father and ask the bride's father's permission to marry her. In this case, the bride's brother took the place of her late father.

On a second visit, when a meal is served, the two fathers must discuss a symbolic price for the bride.

Usually it takes more than one evening before the final bride's price is settled.
--Nnadozie John Igbokwe
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"The bride's price is negotiated between the fathers. In most cases there is only a symbolic price to be paid for the bride, in addition to other prerequisites such as kola nuts, goats, chicken, wine," said Igbokwe.

"Usually it takes more than one evening before the final bride's price is settled, offering guests from both sides a glamorous feast."

Another evening is taken up when the settlement is paid, before the day of the ceremony itself.

Describing the wedding day itself, Igbokwe said: "The bride's father fills a cup (Iko) with palm wine and passes it on to the girl while the groom finds a place between the guests.

"It is the custom for her to look for her husband while being distracted by the invitees. Only after she has found the groom, offered the cup to him and he has sipped the wine, is the couple married traditionally.

"During this ceremony, there is also the nuptial dance where the couple dances, while guests wish the newly weds prosperity by throwing money around them or putting bills on their forehead."