We got books to lend. With a population of over 3 million people, the Urhobo people are among the eight largest ethnic groups in Nigeria and constitute the largest single ethnic group in Delta state. Traditionally, the Urhobo nation consists of 22 autonomous republics or kingdoms with a common ancestral origin. Origin of the Urhobo people is rooted in oral tradition.

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This is so because families play a central role in ensuring the success marital relationship from time of courtship through marriage negotiations to the contracting of the marriage. Urhobo traditional marriage by definition bears some semblance to the above definitions above. The similarity is only as far as the process of marriage revolves around man and woman. Urhobo traditional marriage is unique to Urhobo culture and traditions.

Indeed, marriage in Urhobo worldview is an enduring institution. It is sacred. It looms large enough to tie two independent families together forever. It is imperative to note that the Urhobo marriage extends beyond the couples directly involved; it embraces the extended families of the spouses.

Indeed, Urhobo marriage is a marriage of two families. This is so because the families play very central roles in ensuring the success of the marital relationships from the time of courtship through the marriage negotiations to the contracting of the marriage.

Divorce is rare; Urhobo traditional marriage endures beyond the life of the husband. This custom provides emotional and financial stability, and continuity of the marriage. A Bride under a Decorated Umbrella with Her Bridemaids The families are also expected to intervene or mediate when there are problems or conflicts between husband and wife, and when the marriage relationship is threatened in any way — this is in total contrast to the western marriage system where family intervention is seen as interference.

The nucleus of Urhobo traditional marriage takes various forms. From time, there have been some distinct processes of marriage proposals or types of traditional marriages. Any of these marriage forms are recognised by our society, as they form key aspects of our customs and traditions.

Pledges of this nature are also made and redeemed, as a result of observed exemplary character of a young girl or boy. It could be made as a reward for exceptional valour. The uses or instances of this concept are infinite. Normally, with this type of marriage, love develops between the couple only after marriage has been officially contracted. Ose is a form of marriage recognised as binding, but in which the traditional dowry has not been paid and accepted as prescribed.

Couples may live together or apart, but enjoy full de facto conjugal rights and exclusiveness but limited customary legal rights of husband and wife. Some notable distinctions of this type of marriage are that such husband will not be allowed to bury and mourn his would-be parents in law, like a fully married man. Both potential husband and wife may not have seen or met each other previously. Love may, or may not develop when they meet for the first time.

If they like each other, the marriage may be consummated, and is likely to survive. In some cases, either party may refuse to go ahead with the marriage, and call it off. This process has become one of the current approaches used by modern day boys and girls.

In most cases, the parents may not know of the initial courtship until their son or daughter informs them. Both families then get involved. If they agree, marriage plans are then made. The process may first be to do the traditional marriage rites, before proceedings to either the Church marriage or the Registry. Whichever of the above routes the process of courtship or engagement may have taken, family consent is imperative before the marriage process is finalised.

The marriage ceremony follows the meeting of both families. Drinks and kola nuts supported with some money will be offered to the visiting family, as is customary in Urhobo tradition.

After this initial customary entertainment, the visitors are asked the purpose of their visit. The visitors would be told that the family has many daughters; as such, its members do not know which of their daughters their son would like to marry. The groom would reject this girl saying that she was not the one he wants. This formality would be repeated about three times. Finally, the bride is presented to the groom to confirm the true identity of his chosen bride. That is, she will be asked if she is willing to marry the groom.

The family of the bride can only receive the dowry if she consents to marry the groom. This process is only a formality on the day because in most cases, the dowry amount and all arrangements would normally have been agreed upon. That is, both families would have reached some understanding. It is worth mentioning here that, it is customary that before the stage of pouring the libation is reached, that the potential husband and his family would pay several visits to the family of the bride to be.

The libation is poured using a native gin ogogoro or may be represented by Gordon gin and kola nuts. The blessed drink is handed to the husband who drinks first; he then hands it to his wife to drink.

The wife would drink and pass it back to her husband to finish, as a sign of respect. Then only are they declared husband and wife. Both family members present at the ceremony, would then shower the couple with money as gifts. The parents of the bride will present her with lots of gifts to take to her new home. She will hug all her friends, her siblings and give them little gifts to remember her by. It denotes the completion of all antecedent requirements necessary on the part of the husband.

The entire women receive the bride, eat and dance in the special room prepared for her till dawn of the following day. Formalizing the Marital Union 1. He leaves some of the drink in the glass which he offers to the bridegroom to drink. The bridegroom after drinking some, in turn passes the same glass to the bride to drink whatever is left, to signify her consent to the marriage.

The bride is directed to sit on the laps of her new husband in their first public display of life together as a married couple 7. The public reacts to the display by showering gifts on the newlywed as both remain sitted.

Nabofa in Otite The chief elements in Urhobo traditional religion are: the adoration of Oghene Almighty God , the supreme deity and a recognition of Edjo and Erhan divinities which they acknowledge as sons, daughters and messengers of Oghene.

Some of these divinities could be regarded as personified attributes of Oghene. They act as intermediaries between God and man. Urhobo traditionalist The veneration of ancestors and belief in diverse spirits are other elements found in the structure of Urhobo traditional belief system.

These elements are inter-related in one way or the other because they all draw their reality and power from the same source. It should be emphasised that their worship involves the performance of incantatory poetry. Incantatory poetry is poetry used to plead with a deity to accept a sacrifice so that the deity may favour the person offering the sacrifice.

He is Oghene the supreme Deity, while Edjo, Erhan divinities , ancestors and other spiritual forces, derive their existence and power from him only. They are all united under Oghene. The Urhobo also worship God with Orhen white chalk. If an Urhobo feels oppressed by someone, he appeals to Oghene,who he believe to be an impartial judge, to adjudicate between him and his opponent Oghene is called different names.

These names are generic, attributive and praise-appellative. Whenever there is serious thunder and lightening, the Urhobo believe that Oghene is annoyed hence he is shouting down on all his creatures, including human beings. The use of this name suggests the practice of sympathetic magic, because normally, a day is not something concrete, which could be broken into pieces.

The name is used figuratively to mean that Oghene never sanctions evil practices, but when one is aggrieved, he is requested to set aside his mercy on that day in order that a wrong might be avenged.

Oghene is also called Ovwatan-ovware, which means a being who could willingly give or bless without being questioned or challenged by any other power. Onigu Otite Direct worship of Oghene is expressed in at least, three different ways. When an Urhobo is confronted with an imminent danger he spontaneously cries to him for help with such as expression as Oghene biko that means O God I implore you.

When he has been relieved of a serious danger he expresses his gratitude to Oghene by saying akpevwe oghene that is, thanks be to God. The people also worship God with orhen white chalk.

Every morning the head of the family or lineage takes a little quantity of orhen, keeps it in his left hand, and breaks it down into powder with the thumb and index finger and expresses his desires to god while looking up into the sky. He then blows the powdered chalk into the air. The person performs this ritual while standing at the entrance to his house. Kola nuts and drinks are also first offered to God before they are directed to the earth-goddess, divinities and ancestors and thereafter consumed by those present.

Each Urhobo polity has its own divinities and it is believed that their powers are confined to the respective socio-political groups that acknowledge their reality. Although these divinities are known by different names in various parts of Urhobo land they perform identical functions. It is only their names and theogonies that differentiate them.

The Urhobo believe in the duality of man, having both Ugboma tangible body and Erhi spirit double. It also ensures Ufuoma total well-being for man through its intercession with all the spiritual forces. According to Y. As regards the final destiny of erhi after transition, the Urhobo believe that while the physical body decays erhi is indestructible and goes back to join other members of the family who are in the spiritual realm.

The elaborate and symbolic burial rites are meant to prepare the departed erhi for a happy re-union with the ancestors and his other companions in the spiritual world.

In Urhobo mythology, both Edewo and Eduhre are sacred days to the divinities, spirits and ancestors and most market business transactions are held on these days. Ancestors are venerated on Edewo while ancestresses are taken care of on Eduhre. Divinities, ancestors and spirits are believed to be to be very active in the forests and farmlands on these sacred days, therefore in order to avoid disturbing these subjects of worship people rarely go to their farms on these two sacred days.

In many African countries sacrifices and offerings are directed towards the living-dead as a symbol of fellowship and recognition that the departed are still members of their human families. Idowu At funerals prayers are said and these are intended to secure peace for the living-dead. When a farmer has bountiful yield, the year is said to have fallen for the sake of the farmer. It should be noted there are no sacrifices without prayers. Sacrifices and offerings are the silent responses while prayers are the verbal responses.



Urhobo,towns of different kings. Their Urhobo is mildly understandable by the average Urhobo speaker. You have proven to the world that your stock is nothing but a feather planjing floats upon a lake which terminates on land. The average Urhobo man will have a field day understanding Okpe. I understand how language trees work.


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This is so because families play a central role in ensuring the success marital relationship from time of courtship through marriage negotiations to the contracting of the marriage. Urhobo traditional marriage by definition bears some semblance to the above definitions above. The similarity is only as far as the process of marriage revolves around man and woman. Urhobo traditional marriage is unique to Urhobo culture and traditions. Indeed, marriage in Urhobo worldview is an enduring institution. It is sacred.

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