With a deep-rooted history written on yellow patches with black ink, about the hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of settlers along the Eastern part of the River Niger and Benue confluence, the Igala people of Nigeria have happily lived.

With a tradition running back as time itself, the Igala people are a typical representative of African norms and culture, the superiority of tradition and high regard for family. This deep-rooted norm can be grasped fully with the title of the leader/ruler of the Igala people, Attah.

While the Igala word for king is “Onu”, the Igala people call their king “Attah”, meaning “father” and for outsiders, “Attah Igala” meaning father of the Igala people.

Procreation is a heavenly decree and the Igala people have beautified the process of observing or adhering to that decree with some beautiful traditions.

Before Marriage

When a man and woman of Igala descent want to get married, after they agree to marry each other, they notify their individual families and a background check is conducted on the respective partners.

This process is necessary in order to know if the partners are fit for their sons or daughters.

An introduction is then done in three phases; paternal introduction, maternal introduction and the introduction to the to-be bride.

The paternal and maternal introduction can however be collapsed into one.

The Wedding

While friends and families are gathered to witness the bonding of man and wife, a big mat is laid in the middle with a new wrapper spread over it and the bride and her friends dance in to greet the families and welcome the guests.

They then go back, and the bride changes attire and dances again for the second time, however, this time she comes with two best friends only and they stand on the mat.

She is then asked to sit and the friends complain that the bride’s waist aches. The groom’s family would have to spray her money to her satisfaction before she then takes a seat.

The groom comes with two of his friends in the same attire as the bride, complains of waist pain before sitting and requests to be sprayed money by the bride’s family before sitting, however, the request is not granted and he ends up being sprayed by his family and friends.

The spokesperson from the groom’s family then proceeds to offer the mediators from the bride’s family kola nut, the bride price and drinks, and then he asks for their daughter’s hand in marriage. The mediators ask their daughter if she is willing to accept those items and she answers.

After the bride answers in the affirmative, the family then proceeds to give out the hand of their daughter in marriage with strict warnings and advice to the groom and his family.

Various Activities Then Commence. 

It is worthy of note that the Igala people do not pay much attention to fanfares, however, the colours yellow and black mean a lot to them as they represent their rich values.


The Igala wedding tradition is arguably one of the most interesting, colourful and perhaps enriching traditions in Nigeria.

And like our religious beliefs, it is one man and his woman till death do them apart.