Marriage Of Ukwani People
The people of the Ukwani lived in the Niger delta region and was close to the Igbos by which fact they were in the deep hinterland part of the delta area.
Once an intention is made for marriage, both families began a secret investigation about the background of the other family. This was done in order for them to know if there was any problem inherent in that family, be it Osu – outcast, established cases of insanity, the incidence of promiscuity among the female folk and to find out if the tendency to steal runs in the lineage. If it is found out that all is well with the family, then negotiation begins. The bridegroom comes with his relatives and they bring with them kola nut, yam and palm wine. During this period, the bride will not be allowed to come out.
While this period of courtship is on, the bridegroom’s family will always be assisting the brides family in various agricultural and other economic activities, and gift items ranging from agricultural products to domestic manufactures as well as purchases from the general market will be sent to them, even to the extent of helping them with work on their farmland.
On the day of the ceremony, the guest will be asked if for any reason they do not want both parties to be joined together as husband and wife. If there was any, the issue will be settled there peacefully and the ceremony continues. (This is because the person who rose up to say something against them said it in order to make the occasion interesting)
An event will take place when the bridegroom begins to wash the brides leg (This is done in contemporary times by dropping a currency note at the feet of the bride.)
When the bride is to go to the bridegrooms house, her age mates accompany her with the loads on their head, crying that she is leaving her family to become a member of another family.
That very night, she sleeps with her husband and if it is found that she has not been deflowered, she would be respected. But if she was the other way round, she will be humiliated in the society along with her family.
Their mode of dressing is like that of the Igbos; the men tie full-length cloth (george) hanged on their neck with lace shirt to match, accompanied with a walking stick and are usually bare-footed. This was the case before the arrival of the Europeans.
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