Traditional Marriage Ceremonies among the Ibibio People of Nigeria: A Study of Theatrics
Authors: B. Ubong
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‘Traditional’ marriage among Ibibio people of Southern Nigeria is as much entertainment as it is serious drama that prepares a couple and their families for a life-long relationship. Although the script may be short, the entire event, from the pre-public ceremony to the post-public, in-house ceremonies is a deft admixture of rhetoric, song, dance, spectacle, character, and thought. The difference is that the event is not an imitation, but a mixture of human action and reaction in real time. The three unities may not apply as action is usually originated long before that special day but each traditional marriage (public) ceremony that precedes, and is seen as being more important than a ‘white wedding,’ can be seen as a complete event in and of itself, taking place at the same venue, within a time frame and milieu, and concluded in one day. The performance lasts a lifetime and binds not just two people, but two families, sometimes two communities and two cultures. Christianity and economics have forced changes but the fundamentals remain – that the event is verily an admixture of drama and reality aimed at ensuring continuity of society.