THE MARITAL PRACTICES IN MBATOLI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Marriage is recognised by authority or ceremony. It is as old as civilization itself, and it is found in virtually every society. It is believed that marriage is about 4,350 years old. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C. in Mesopotamia. Over the next several hundred years, marriage evolved into a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrew, Greeks and Romans. During the ancient period, marriage had little to do with love or with religion.
During the victorian era, romantic love became the primary requirement marriage and rituals of courting became even more formal. An interested gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation. He had to be formally introduced and only after some time it was considered appropriate for a man o speak to a lady or for a couple to be seen together.
In the 16th to 18th century’s marriages during these period were arranged, not by the two people getting married, but by their parents and relatives and this happens especially among the upper class, simply because marriage makes the family’s network stronger or tit was used as a means of concluding a peace treaty.
Marriage is unique and it is also the basis of the human society which has its various objectives or purpose which are companionship. True companionship grows out of a oneness of spirit, completeness, fruitfulness, protection and enjoyment and it also have its various lovely benefits which are; To live longer, less stress, good health, inheritance e.tc.
In Nigeria, there are various ethnic groups or geo-political zones which have their various marital practices and they are the north, south west, south south, and the south east.
Marital practices in the North is mostly based on Islamic rites and it is different from every other marital practices. It encourages the betrothal of female children to adult males. Child marriage is a traditional cultural practice which is heavily influenced by Islam. 48 percent of the northern girls are married at the age of 15 and 78 percent are married at the age of 18.

In the north, little girls who have started menstruating are considered mature for marriage and the case of menstruation varies as a girl of twelve can be given out for marriage based on the fact that she has started menstruating. The child marriage is used as a strategy for family survival and also for the preservation of the virtue of the girls.
The marital rites in the north part of Nigeria is not time consuming or expensive like the Igbo and Yoruba traditional marriage rites.
The process leading up to the marriage is slightly similar to what is obtained in other regions in Nigeria.
When a man sees the woman he wants to marry, he has to first of all seek permission from her parents. The family of the bride to be will then conduct an investigation on the background of the man to determine his religious belief, ethnics, moral and family customs as well as every important details concerning his upbringing. The groom to be if approved by the woman’s family is allowed to see her briefly but any form of physical contact, romance or courting before marriage is highly discouraged. Once the woman accepts the marriage offer, the man sends his parents or guardians as well as elderly relatives to formally ask for her hand in marriage.
It is during this visit that the groom’s parents will make their intention known. “Gusuwais” is a kind of formal approve from the bride’s family to the groom’s. This is where bargain for the bride’s dowry begins. The bride price starts from a minimum amount known as “Rubu Dinar” which means quarter kilogram of gold piece to the highest amount the groom can afford to pay. Payment of the dowry is known as “sadaki”.
A date is fixed for the wedding during this visit by both families. The process of setting the date is called “Sarana”. The wedding day itself is called “Fatihah”, and it is the day of joining the two families.

THE MARITAL PRACTICES IN MBATOLI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE