Marriage ceremony: The clash between traditional marriage rites and Western marriage

  • BN Onyima


The increasing consequences of the introduction of Christianity, its values and practices in Africa are manifold. Resulting to, clash with pre-existing traditional beliefs and practices. This has necessitated the need to ask; at what point can a young man and a woman who has agreed to marry, be socially described as a married couple? In Nigeria, some Pentecostal Christian churches do not allow the bride to immediately go home with the groom and his people after traditional marriage rite has been performed. Some Nigerian Pentecostals argue they are not husband and wife until white wedding has been performed. Hence, there is need to probe why? This is a qualitative study that employed key informant, in-depth interviews and participant observation to elicit data from  respondents. Findings reveal this clash as recent and unnecessary, individual choice should prevail and not church tenets. Sexual consummation should begin immediately after traditional marriage rites but this is unacceptable to some Pentecostal Christian churches. People agreed that traditional marriage rites should be compulsory but  performance of white wedding should not be made compulsory by Pentecostal churches. This did not go down well with key informants of both sides of the argument. Study recommends a reassessment of the essence of both ceremonies and compromise to ensure hitch-free marriage negotiations in contemporary Nigerian societies.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2006-5442