Congratulations as your D-day is fast approaching. But as you look forward to this day, I don’t want you to walk alone or be confused as to what your responsibilities are with regards to the bride price. So I have put together a Yoruba traditional engagement list which should act like a guide/ budget for your traditional wedding.
The Engagement list is normally presented to the groom’s family from the bride’s family some weeks prior to the traditional wedding day. The gift items asked for on the list (known as Eru Iyawo in Yoruba) are packaged and presented to the family of the bride on the traditional wedding day.
The engagement list items below are not cast in stone, although some items like the Bible/Quran, bitter kola and are a must.
The items on the engagement list will differ based on what part of Yorubaland the bride’s family is from, and your family may decide to ask for more or less items. The groom’s family can also negotiate to reduce the number of items. This engagement list is written by the bride’s family members and unfortunately the bride has no say as to what is requested.
Yoruba Engagement List (Eru Iyawo List )
42 Bitter kolas (Orogbo)
42 Tubers of yam (Isu)
42 Kolanuts (Obi abata)
42 Chilli/Alligator Peppers (Atare)
42 pieces of dried Fish (Eja Osan)
1 Dish of peppered corn meal (Aadun)
1 Pack of Sugar
2 Baskets of Fruit
2 Decanters filled with honey
4 Crates of canned or bottled soft drinks
4 Crates malt soft drinks
4 Cartons of bottled water
2 Bottles of non alcoholic wine
2 Cartons of fruit juice
1 Bag of salt
1 Bag of rice
1 Keg of palmwine
1 Keg of groundnut oil
1 Big suitcase containing clothes, shoes and hand bags including aso-oke fabric, 2 sets of lace with gele and 2 sets of ankara
1 Wrist watch, Earrings and necklace
Biscuits and Sweets
Engagement rings for bride and groom
Quran, praying mat, praying kettle, beads, white hijab, veil and tasbir (for Muslim weddings)
Cash for some traditional customary rites during the engagement ceremony:
A bride price of five thousand Naira (N5,000) is what is obtainable in most yoruba villages. The other cash gift could be about nine (N9,000) or ten thousand Naira (N10,000), and it is shared and distributed in smaller bits as the ceremony goes on. It is symbolic and part of the fun.
Owo Ori (The Bride Price) – N5,000naira, Varies
Owo Ijoko Agba (Money for the elders consent) – N1,000
Owo Baba Gbo (Money for the bride’s father’s consent) – N1,000
Owo Iya Gbo (Money for the bride’s mother’s consent) – N1,000
Owo Ikanlekun(Door knocking fee) – N1,000
Owo Isiju Iyawo (Fee for unveiling the bride) – N1,000
Owo Aeroplane (Bride transportation fee) – N1,000
Owo Iyawo Ile (Money for the Housewives) -N500
Owo Omo Ile (Money for the Children of the household) – N500
Owo letter kika (Letter reading fee)-N500
Owo Telephone (Fee to call the bride out) – N500
Owo Isigba (Engagement gifts unveiling fee) – N500
Owo Alaga Ijoko (Master of Ceremonies fee) – N500
The money is collected at different points during the traditional wedding ceremony, while the gift items are arranged at the venue before the ceremony starts.
The gifts are usually packaged in baskets or boxes to match the wedding colour scheme.
NB – Please don’t hesitate to ask questions or point out something that may be missing from this list. Your contributions are welcome.