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Esan People and there method of IGHO UHONMHON (BRIDE PRICE)



The concept "marriage" is from the Latin word "Matrimonium" which means "the office of a mother".

The payment of bride price in Esanland is an interesting one and the amount varies, and it goes with certain rite, the marriage could be null and void if this rite is not properly carried out. 

At this stage, a certain amount of money is demanded by the father of the woman being referred to in Esan as "IGHO UHONMHON", It will interest you to know or say here that this amount money (lgho Uhonmhon) varies from individuals in Esanland. Some family may demand for a considerable amount of money while some may not. 


For instance in Uhiele, Esan west local Government Area within the period of 2010 to 2015, the bride price demanded for a bride was Twenty Five Naira (N25). 

The simple reason  for this is that, Esan people believed the reason for marriage is not to sell their daughters out like goods and services in order to make money or become wealthy, since every human being is a precious gift from God. Also, the woman to be given out in marriage, still have affinity with the soil of her first family referred to in Esan as Omotor (Child of the soil). This is why in all parts of Esanland, at the death of a married woman, her husband and her children if any, must return the corpse to the family of the woman in order to be buried in the land which was first used to bathe the her at birth. Hence, based on these existential realities, no woman is sold out in Esanland. After the payment of the bride price, the rite of counting the woman on the laps of the  man follows while he remains sitting down.

In Uhiele -Ekpoma, this rite is normally done by the father of the woman or if dead, the appropriate person in the family, and the counting is solemnly done ten(10) times( seven times in some places), and at the count of ten (last counts), the man holds or grabs the woman to himself as a sign of joyfully receiving what has been given him". This is immediately followed with ovation from all present with the word buoduè (meet your husband); and perhaps, the singing of some Esan songs being accompanied with dance and spraying of the couple with money, while the woman still remains on her husband's laps for sometime. 


Shortly before this rite, all that's due to the mother of the woman is given  to her including some amount of money and that of the council of women called Ikhuo - idumu which may include some bags of salt, basin of onions, sizeable yams and other items depending on the practice in the various places in Esanland. 


From our discussion so far, it will be agreed that the concept of marriage occupies a very prominent place in Esan Culture and this accounts for the simple reason why the Esan people do not toil with any issue relating to marriage as an inalienable foundational Institution in every given locality. The Esan people strongly believe that in marriage, full commitment and faithfulness is highly demanded among the couples who come together with the intention of bringing up a family which is the unit of the society. So marriage as a sacred institution and in Esan's orientation and belief becomes natural to human kind. It is therefore, a foundational Institution which came to be through the creative work of the Almighty God which Esan people referred to as "OSENOBULUA"

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