Adetola could not believe her ears, what exactly is her father trying to say? Yes, she knows they are from the Great Adeyeye Royal Family and that her grandpa, Oba Adewumi Adebiyi Adeyeye, was a great king before his demise. In fact, her father, Prince Adeboye Adeyeye, would have been the king after him but for the customary rotational ruling arrangement run in Ibado land where the ruling houses had kingship opportunity in turns. “Daddy, I don’t understand what you just said”, Adetola lamented. “What is difficult to understand in the fact that you have to get married according to the traditions of our land?” the father said as he continues reading his newspaper with rapt attention. “Daddy, how can you say that in this 21st century? And it’s even baffling knowing fully well that I have been out of your country for a while now” “Young lady, I have made my point clear, you are the first daughter of this house and you cannot shy away from our custom” Adetola stood still staring at her loving learned father, who is still so attached to the customs of Ibaro land. Both the traditional ceremonies and marriage rites are so complicated and tasking for Adetola; she and Oyeyemi would have to pass through the six stages of marriage. “No! it is not possible”. (She thinks of a way around this, perhaps by approaching Grandma Adeyeye to plead with her father). Grandma surely has a soft spot for her being the first grandchild and her father’s only daughter. “And I hope you have not being sleeping around with him, because he must present ‘ÀMÌ ÌBÁLÉ’ (evidence of virginity) to me after your wedding night”, Prince Adeyeye said still not taking his eyes off his newspaper. Adetola was mortified; all she could do was stroll away from the sitting room having screamed at her father. ADETOLA CALL : Kí là ń se ta fi pọ̀ b’áàyí o? (Why are we gathered this much?) RESP: Ìyàwó là ń gbé o (We are gathered for marriage ceremony) CALL: Ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ sọ, ìlẹ̀kẹ̀ sọ wọ̀wọ̀ (Dance with the beads, dance with the beads) RESP: Ìyàwó là ń gbé o (We are gathered for marriage ceremony) Adetola sits majestically in the bedroom specially decorated for her with ‘asọ òkè’, ‘àdìrẹ’ and mats as the bride of the day. Her aunties, cousins and some of the female family members attend to her as music, garnished with various local musical instruments, is heard in the background. They busied themselves putting beads around her well plaited ‘ṣùkú’ hair style, and rubbing ‘àdín’ on her leg and body to make her dark skin radiant. Experiencing this love and unity, Adetola remembered the journey that brought her to this day. After the saga with her dad months back, she had approached her grandmother, Olori Abeke Adeyeye, to plead with her dad for a modern day traditional engagement and white wedding. Instead, all her pleas were ignored; Olori Abeke said, “…it is our custom and culture to marry according to the traditions of Ibaro land; nothing more, nothing less”. Hence, she had to inform Oyeyemi, her fiancé, (or shall we say “Àfẹ́sọ́nà” as called traditionally) that they must follow through with all the six stages of marriage or they could choose to disgrace the family name, or perhaps elope and face the wrath of being disowned. At first, Oyeyemi thought this was just a joke as anyone would until he visited Adetola’s parents. Prince Adeyeye did not grant him any hospitality or audience; he was practically sent out and was told that the parents of brides in Ibaro only talk foremost to the ‘Alárinà’ (the go-between) who would mediate between the two families. The Alárinà comes into the scene just after the groom’s parents or the groom himself have/has sought out a choice lady as a bride provided none had been betrothed to him when he was a child. This is called ‘Ìfojúsóde’. Oyeyemi, who had his first and Masters Degrees abroad, was shocked there was still a family that held on to culture this much. After all, he came from Abàjà Chieftaincy family in a neighbouring town, a place where there were no strict marriage rules; his eldest brother who was the first child got married abroad without any rancour. Now, things would be different, and thanks to Oyeyemi’s parents who instructed and encouraged him to abide by the customs of his in-laws to be. “Iyawo, why are you smiling sheepishly? You had better start gathering strength for ‘Ẹkún Ìyàwó’ (the bride’s ceremonial cry)” Adunola, one of her cousins said. This is a part of the ceremony where she would have to cry through the family house while the family elders, her parents, and members bless her. Her cry is to signify in essence that she is not too happy leaving the family. OYEYEMI The Oyelami family sent Mrs Kukoyi as the Alárinà to Adeyeye family; that was after they had made thorough private investigations and sought Adetola out as a choice wife for their son. According to Chief Oyetola Oyelami, if the Adeyeye want a traditional customary wedding, then they would have it in full. The family priest was summoned and he asked the oracle about the union, something Oyeyemi was not happy about being a staunch Christian. There was really no available option if he really wanted to marry Adetola; not even when his demanding soon-to-be in-laws are good Christians too. Thank goodness that “ifá fóore” (the oracle accents), else that could have been the end of the relationship. Things started getting more interesting and fulfilling to Oyeyemi when he got to the stage of talking to his fiancé, which came up only after he had visited for seven times with a male friend. Adetola was allowed to talk to him at the seventh visit having paid the prerequisite fee as expected in “Ìsíhùn” where she gives consent. Once “her voice had been released” to him, Oyeyemi’s family formally asked for her hand for their son; this stage is called “Ìtọrọ”. What is more good news to Oyeyemi than to hear Prince Adeyeye say, “Now we are ready to hand Adetola over to you”? Great joy filled this young man’s heart not minding his family would have to produce series of traditional prerequisite including monetary gifts to all sects of Adetola’s family during “Ìdána”. The final day came through for the couple, Ìgbéyàwó, the wedding. Oyeyemi beams with smile, seated in his uncle’s house awaiting the arrival of his well-adorned bride in the train of accompanying friends, cousins and her uncles’ wives in his father’s compound. The tradition spells it out the bride must not meet the groom at his home, and that the preceding wife married into the groom’s family before the bride would pour water on her leg while she stepped on a calabash making it break into pieces; these pieces were symbolic for the number of children she would bear him. Was that all about the wedding? Of course not! He is to return a symbolic white piece of clothes with or without bloodstain to Ìyá àgbà, his grandmother, who would send a message accordingly to his in-laws – this clothe should eventually be the pride or shame of the bride’s family concerning their daughter’s chastity and the family’s integrity. As expected of Christians, the couple kept themselves until marriage so it did not raise much dust for Adetola. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “Dad, you cannot be serious with what you are saying, you mean because grandpa made you and mum marry traditionally, I must do the same?” Oyetade said. “Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that you must get married according to the traditions of the land and I must personally receive a gourd full of palm wine and a full box of matches, just as it was sent to your grandfather when I married your mother as a sign that ‘I met her at home’ (as a virgin)” “But why dad?” “It’s our culture, and that is our Heritage. It is all we have, our pride.”

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