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A calabash is a climbing plant which produces a green hard-shelled bottle-shaped gourds as fruits. When the fruits dry or exposed to fire they turn brown or black and become the 'Calabash' we know.
African beads used for decoration








African Traditional Wedding



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African Bedtime Stories (1) By Godwin C. Nwaogwugwu

A collection of popular African stories and folk tales written in simple English language with picture illustrations to interest Children of all ages. The book is a family favorite designed to document and pass on the rich African heritage through the art of story-telling

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African Bedtime Stories


African Traditional Wedding

The Significance of Maiden Dances in African Traditional Weddings

Most African traditions place a lot of importance on ladies' chastity, purity and abstinence before marriage. Most African maiden dances were used to keep young women's minds and body active before marriage. A maiden dance is also used to present a bride to her husband.

Young ladies from Northern Nigeria

A maiden dance from the Calabar South-Southern Nigeria


'Nkwa- Umu agbogho' Maiden dance from South-Eastern Nigeria was mostly a dance group for young ladies. It's a breathe-taking chest and waist dance, where maidens who have come of age to marry flaunted their body in seductive manners to attract suitors. It also helped the younger girls keep mind and body busy to abstain from sexual activities before marriage.

The Significance of Beads in African Traditional Weddings

African brides are usually decorated in beads. beads signify many things in several African communities. It's a choice material for decoration because it's handy. In addition, beads signify seeds of the womb (fertility) prosperity and a happy life. In most African traditions each  beads is thought to represent and enhance fertility, age, wisdom, rank, and long life. Therefore the more the beads used on a bride the better. Beads used in decorating a  bride is to wish her all the good things life could provide, very importantly, fertility, long life, and prosperity. Beads are known by many names in various African tribes such as : Giri-Giri, Yomba, Jigida, Jel-Jelli, Bin Bin, Ileke idi and Djalay Djalay.


The Significance of Local Wines in African Traditional Weddings
Palm is a whitish syrup produced when a palm tree is cut. There are various methods to get the syrup from the tree, which may affect the taste and quality of the palm wine. The syrup could be got from the palm tree either while it's still standing or while it's felled. If left for sometime the palm wine undergoes various stages of fermentation to become alcoholic. Like any other drink, palm wine is widely used for entertainment served along with food during a traditional wedding in some African communities.

The Significance of Calabash in African Traditional Weddings

In the olden days Calabashes were used for food storage or to make musical instruments.  In the modern setting  African calabashes are used for home decorations. Calabash does not have any impurities that can poison food or water even when stored in it for a long time.

In some African wedding traditions a calabash signifies purity. A bride carrying a calabash back to her husband's house after her bride price has been paid signifies she is pure and still a virgin. In modern times this is more symbolic than a virginity test.

The Significance of Kolanuts in African Traditional Weddings
In some African traditions, a kolanut is  presented to a visitor as a sign of welcome. A visitor who is not welcomed is usually not presented with a kolanut. Once a kolanut is presented and a short pleasantry is performed, a prayer is said; it is broken and shared to everyone present. It's a type a communion to signify that both parties present bear no grudges for each other and planned no malice.

In some Nigerian culture, where kolanuts are used in ceremony, it is used in traditional wedding as the first sign that the groom, his family and friends are welcomed to the bride's family.

The Significance of Bride Price in African Traditional Weddings
In some African traditions an intending groom pays a bride price to the bride's family. This practice has always been controversial as many people misinterpret it as selling a bride. However, this assumption is erroneous. Even the Christian bible says "...a man who cannot provide for his family is worse than an infidel..." A bride price is a gift a groom presents to the parents and kinsmen/women of the bride in appreciation for allowing him take their daughter as a wife and to thank them for the care, shelter, food, training etc they provided for her all this while. It's also a way to test if a man is financially able to take care of his family, as many traditions believe that a man who cannot afford a bride price obviously cannot take care of his family. In some traditions a bride price could be material gifts, in others it could be cash or a combination of both.

Photo credits




Godwin C. Nwaogwugwu

 A Syndicated Nigerian

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Published Articles:


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* How A Small Organization Can Develop It’s Own Scorecard
* Developing E-Business For Small Businesses In Nigeria
* Is Rape Official In Nigerian Universities And Colleges?
* Nigeria's Irresponsible Leaders

Black History

Prof Wole Soyinka

Marcus Garvey


Malcolm X

Queen Amina


Chinua Achebe

Dr. Nelson Mandela


Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

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