March 23, 2019

Top Five “Weird” Marriage Customs in Nigeria

Top Five “Weird” Marriage Customs in Nigeria

Marriage in Nigeria is often a remarkable milestone considering it is not just the union of the bride and the groom but also of two families that are so large with a lot of members coming together to rejoice on the occasion.

Different tribes have quirks which may be considered weird to outsiders but that is what makes such rites unique to any particular tribe.

Here are the top weird marriage customs in Nigeria:


This tradition amongst the Fulani tribe in Nigeria is to test the endurance of the potential groom. Sharo which means flogging tests the bravery of the young initiates as they flog each other to the peak of endurance in order to determine who wins the hands of the selected bride.

Fulani Sharo Tradition

The challenger is of the same age group with the contestant and provokes by wielding a big thick cane at him with the sole purpose of inflicting pain.

Like most sports, a referee is provided to make sure every stroke is correctly struck to prevent serious injuries like blindness.


Any man who wants to marry a Yoruba woman must be prepared to get dirtied literally. This is because one of the most important rites during the marriage process requires the groom and his friends to prostrate in front of the bride’s family whilst prayers are being showered on them.

Also Read: Dear Random Nigerian Men – Is That How You Treat Your Wives At Home? – Viola Okolie

This process is usually done at least three times before the end of the engagement.

A groom with his friends prostrating in front of the bride’s family


In most tribes especially in Southern Nigeria, the bride is expected to go into the wedding night still unsullied with a proof often required in the morning after.

The virginity test

This proof is usually in the form of a bloodied white bedspread which proves the value of the bride while bringing joy and pride to her family.

Any bride discovered to be a non-virgin risks being disgraced by her family and her husband’s family.


Whilst the popular stereotype is how expensive Igbo wedding rites are, it is not as daunting as it is being portrayed. Despite this fact, it is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The wedding list is often compiled by extended members of the bride’s family after the initial process of seeking for the bride’s hands by the parents of the groom. A date is then fixed for the traditional rite which is called “Igba Nkwu”.

Here is an example of a marriage list of the Igbos:

The Igbo marriage list


The fattening room called “nkugho” is an ancient practice in Calabar which gradually going extinct. It is a place young women are prepared for womanhood.

In ancient times, fat was viewed as a sign of prosperity, fertility and beauty. Young girls are usually taken to the fattening room during puberty.

Efik brides undergoing the “nkugho” process

Acceptance into the fattening room was viewed as a privilege as it was a demonstration of virtue, sexual purity and proven virginity.

The ability of the young girl to gain weight in the fattening room was a sign that she possessed all the above-mentioned qualities.


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