This is who we are and why!: Ethnography of weddings in Ibadan,Nigeria
AbstractBackground: Wedding ceremonies celebrate marital unions of two individuals/families in accordance with socially sanctioned arrangements. Among the Yoruba of south-western Nigeria, weddings of various forms exist. Elaborate and relatively grand weddings are common among the Yoruba people but studies are insufficient on these weddings. More attention is thus needed to understand the trajectories and ramifications of these weddings especially within the socio-economic conditions and rapidly changing social environments that have implications for population and development. This article is therefore an attempt to describe contemporary marriage ceremonies among the Yoruba in Ibadan, Southwestern Nigeria and the meanings associated with the ceremonies. The article is a detailed ethnographic narrative of Yoruba marriage processes.Data Sources and Method: Primary and secondary data were gathered. For the primary data, qualitative research method was used. Data collection methods were participant observations (10 different wedding venues) and 15 in-depth interviews. Interpretive research approach through interviews, observations and pictures were used because of their capacities to extract reliable contextual meanings and implicative elements of social realities. Secondary data were gathered from journal articles, books, newspaper clippings and reliable internet sources. Data analysis was done through content analysis of texts and pictures.Results: Findings reveal very original and dynamically creative ways of celebrating weddings and significance of such weddings among the Yoruba people with implications for better understanding of Africa’s socio-economic and cultural systems, population and development.Conclusion: Weddings are significant social realities in context. While they preceed family formation and traditionally crucial, they are both physical and cultural just as they are systematically symbolic and demonstrative of familial and sociocultural statuses and class in Africa. Weddings in the context are indication and legitimation of identity and existencies and these have strategic implications for social change, cultural systems and population.
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