When someone thinks about marriage, they imagine a big elaborate party with the bride wearing a white and the groom wear a classic tux. However, around the world this is not the norm for a wedding ceremony. Marriage is much more than just a party and a happy memory; it is a life-long partnership to someone that holds the heart one conceals. In today's society, weddings and marriage do not hold the same significance they once did. Back in the earlier centuries, people regarded marriage is a vow for life, no matter what happened during a marriage, it was the spouse’s duty to make it better and work it out. Back in ancient times, kings and queens would marry their cousins, etc. in order to preserve the bloodline. An example of this is Cleopatra; she married her two brothers to preserve the bloodline of her family. Other uses of marriage in the past were to enforce a union between two countries such as the story of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Different cultures view marriage as completely different ceremonies. In class, we discussed many marriage ceremonies held in Africa as well as Egypt. Marriage has a meaning all over the world.
In Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, we get an inside look at the marriage ceremony and tradition of the Ibo culture. The character Obierika gives the reader a deeper look of the marriage aspect in the Ibo culture. Ibo culture uses a dowry system and the marriage is seen as more of a business rather than an actual marriage. The male’s family comes to the bride-to-be’s home and the men proceed to set a price and the negotiations begin. Once a price is agreed upon the groom’s family doesn’t return until the wedding day. The novel states,Women and children began to gather at Obierika’s compound to help the bride’s
mother in her difficult but happy task of cooking for a whole village….Some other women cooked the yams and the cassava, and others prepared vegetable soup. Young men pounded the foo-foo or split firewood. The children made endless trips to the stream. Three young men helped Obierika to slaughter the two goats with which the soup was made. (Achebe 110-113)
To American’s this might seem like a lot of work since here the wedding cooking and such is done by a banquet hall. However, to the Ibo doing all these minimal actions is a sign of respect towards to the family of the groom and it brings them pride and joy to be able to provide for them and their entire village. The bride’s family isn’t the only one to show respect to their in-laws. The groom’s family must bring many pots of wine and animals to be slaughtered for more food. If the groom’s family brought fewer than what the village expected, the family of the groom would be looked down upon and possibly even get into altercation over the pots of wine. Okonkwo states, “They dare not bring fewer than thirty pots [or] I shall tell them my mind if they do” (116). After the presentation of gifts, there is a giant feast and the bride goes with the suitor’s family for...