Yoruba (people), people living primarily in southwest Nigeria and eastern Benin who speak Yoruba, a Niger-Congo language. The Yoruba are predominantly town dwellers who practice hoe agriculture and are well known as traders and for their crafts. Yoruba artists have produced masterpieces of woodcarving and bronze casting, some of which date from as early as the 13th century. The Yoruba religion is animistic and numerous gods are worshiped.
By the 17th century the Yoruba had succeeded in establishing a strong and flourishing state, the kingdom of Oyo, in the region between Dahomey and the Niger River. Oyo disintegrated into numerous petty kingdoms during the first half of the 19th century. Toward the end of the 19th century the Yoruba came under British control. They now number about 27 million and make up one-fifth of the population of Nigeria, living chiefly in the cities of Ibadan, Ile Ife, Iwo, Ondo, Kwara, Ekiti, Eko, Oshogbo, Abeokuta, Awe etc.
Marriage amongst the Yoruba has methamorphosized since the advent of Christianity, the original tradition is the 'Ekun Iyawo' or ' Bridal Weeping' in which the bride will sing a dirge commemorating her joy at moving to her husband's house and her sorrow at leaving her father's house. The bride price would have been paid in full and the ceremony would have been drawing to close before this weeping begins. It is the last thing the bride will do before her parents pray for her. then she will march with her bridal train into the welcoming arms of the other women who married into her husband's family popularly called Iyale and Iyawo Iles. They will be the one to usher her to her husband's house.
Today, the marriage ceremony in Yoruba landd has been splitted into three separate ceremonies. The first is the Introduction, followed by the Engagement and sealed by the Registry, court or church weddings. (Some people do all three).
Once the lady and gentleman decides to tie the knot, the groom-to-be will take the wife to his relatives for the informal visit and vice versa. Then the groom's family will ask the bride to be to ask her parents for a date when the family can come around for the formal visit. As soon as they have the dates, preparation begins on both sides.
Knowing how important first impression is, the bride's family will take time to paint or repaint their house while the groom's family will go to the market and buy every fruit in season which they will present to the Bride's family in well decorated baskets. The fruits here, symbolizes sweetness as the Yoruba's believe that as fruits come out in their season bringing forth the sweetness of the earth, so will the marriage spring forth sweetness every season and yield good fruits in terms of children.
On the D-day, the groom's family will go to the bride's family where they will be catered for. They will present the fruit baskets and introduce the members of the two families to each other. The Groom to be will be introduced, he will be compelled to prostrate and greet the entire members of the bride's family and he will pay some money to the marriage brokers who will compeer the occasion.
The bride's family will also present the Groom's family with a basket of fruits and other sweet things and thus the two families will meet and agree on a date for the wedding of the love birds.