Surviving modernity and civilisation, Temotsi stands to be one of the most unique traditional weddings in Nigeria. Temotsi is viewed as a showcase of the beauty in African tradition. The several methods for traditional wedding are beginning to escape most African families. However, there are many lessons that can be drawn from them. A clear example is the Temotsi wedding which is usually practised by the Itsekiri tribe in Nigeria.
Components of the Temotsi Wedding
The organisation of the wedding can be categorized into three – welcoming, mission and blessings.
During the welcoming part, the wedding starts with an opening prayer. After this, the bride’s family welcomes everyone and presents kola nuts and drinks to the groom’s family. The groom’s family shows their appreciation and accepts the gifts. Afterwards, the head of the groom’s family breaks the kola nuts and offers prayers. The merriment and introduction of family members follows. Later on, the groom’s family offers kola nuts and drinks to reciprocate the hospitality. The bride’s family gives thanks to them as the bride’s head of the family breaks the Kola nuts and offers prayers. Merriment accompanied by Itsekiri praise songs usually follows.
The mission part of the wedding comes after the welcoming phase. After the merriment, the groom’s family announces the purpose of their visit- the conjugal of the to-be-wed couple. They present a bottle of gin with two kola nuts. A kola nut usually has four lobes so two kola nuts will have eight. The number ‘eight’ symbolizes perfection in Itsekiri customs. Therefore, the two kola nuts presented signify that the ceremony was properly done. After, the bride’s family ask to see the prospective groom. When he comes forward, the bride’s family inspect him to be sure that he is in perfect state. Then, the bride’s family would question the groom if he can identify the bride when he sees her. Then, they bring forth different women covered in veils and ask the groom to identify his bride. The groom identifies his bride amidst the merriment.
The blessing part is the last stage. The ‘olori-ebi’- head of the bride’s family gives words of advice and caution to the couple and offers them his blessings. Afterwards, the bride is handed over to the groom’s family. Then, the merriment continues as the groom and his newly-wedded bride join in with their Itsekiri dance steps as their families and well-wishers rejoice with them. The groom’s family still has to present gifts, drinks, and kola nuts- an obligation known as Emo Okpe.
The Temotsi is seen as a union between the families of the newly-wedded couples. As a result, the bride price is not as emphasized as it is in several Nigerian tribes. The traditional wedding shows African culture and builds a greater bond between the two families involved. Traditional weddings should not be been seen as outdated, but rather as an opportunity to show African rich cultures.