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Catching Up With Susan – Issue 3

 

Hey,

let’s talk Parental blessings in Igba Nkwu. I am motivated to write this piece because in most traditional weddings (Igba Nkwu), this aspect is not viewed as the climax and the most sensitive part of the ceremony. Speaking from Africa tradition, I believe parents play a major role in what their children’s marriage turn out to be later in life through blessings that parents/guardians pronounce over their lives. I am aware not many children are blessed with great parent even as some parents are very bad role models. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that it is critical children obtain parental blessings.

So, why are parental blessings important, even in Igba Nkwu?

Parents are always interested in whom their children want to get married to and their involvement in marriage process could either simplify or complicate relationships. It is simplified when the bride’s parent accept to give out their daughter’s hand in marriage and  bridegroom’s parents in return also accept the bride as their daughter in law to be . But what happens if either parent refuses? Is it advisable for the love-birds to go on with the wedding plans and arrangement without parental blessings?

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Parents may decline to bless their children’s marriage for several reasons. At first, it could be on the ground of questionable character of the spouse. It could be the timing of the marriage is wrong and not favourable. At times, it could be on the ground of tribe/class/community/clan of the partner is not right for inter-marriage for cultural reasons. It could even be that your parents do not just like the appearance and personality of the spouse.  So, what should the couple do?

It is your duty to convince your parents. One thing you can do is to try and give your parents an opportunity to get to know your partner better. This can be achieved by allowing your spouse to attend family functions, participate in family ceremonies and dinner at your parent’s home. It is a good practice your spouse spend time with their in-laws before walking down the aisle. The whole essence is to attract parents’ blessings.

When Is Parental Blessing Made during Igba Nkwu?

Parental blessings are offered twice during the traditional marriage process. First is at consent, when they accept the marriage between the couple and the second is during the Igba Nkwu ceremony. At the Igba Nkwu ceremony, the blessing is specifically made shortly after the bride has found her husband and delivered the wine to him. They both dance to the bride’s parents and then receive the parental blessing.

Brides to be click here

In the case of deceased parents, who offers it?

You might want to ask in a case of couples whose parents are deceased, who stands as their parental authority. Parental authority is not limited to biological parents alone. It extends to any person that has a parental relationship with you. I do understand that some do not know their biological parents, especially in our society today. Some reading this post may have lost their biological parents at a certain age. Likewise some of you still have one of both biological parents. These are the reasons parental authority is not limited to biological parents alone. In Igbo tradition the head of the extended family or first son of the immediate family performs the parental blessings.

Parental blessings to children only come when they are happy. The Holy Bible explains that words carry power that can either ‘make good’ or destroy. Parental blessings are those “positive forces that accompany you and bring you good fortune due to the positive words spoken over your life by those who have parental authority over you” (Coolex, 2012). Some call these guardian angels, ancestors, spirits etc. However way you see it, parental blessings are positive forces and are important in order to prevent parental cures that could extend to your children and future generation.

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