Marriage among the Ewe
Among the Ewe, when a man is ready to marry, a pot of palm wine is sent to the girl’s father. This is done by the man’s paternal and maternal aunts to inform the girl’s parents of their intentions. The first presentation of drink is known as “vofofo” (knocking ceremony). After the girl’s parents have been informed in this way, they ask the messengers to come after a week or two for the answer. The period allows them time to consider their request and to make enquiries about the man and his family. When the girl’s parents are satisfied with the man’s conduct and background, they allow them to perform the necessary marriage rites.
Among some Ewe communities, when the girl’s parents give their consent, the boy’s parents send a pot of palm wine to the family head to thank them. This is known as “akpedaha” (thanksgiving drink). In the past, after the “akpedaha,” the man helped his in-laws on their farms, mended their roofs, and cut firewood for them. This practice is also known as “sagolabla” (service to your in-laws).
Among the Anlo, when the girl’s parents agree to the marriage, the bridegroom pays a volanu (knocking fee). This consists of two bottles of local or imported gin. A date is then fixed for the marriage ceremony.
On the appointed day, they all assemble in the girl’s family head’s house. The man gives them a big pot of palm wine, two bottles of schnapps or local gin and a bundle of tobacco. In addition he provides a large trunk which contains items of clothing and other things for the wife. When the girl’s family inspects and accepts the items, “sronu tabianu,” the bride-wealth is paid to end the ceremony. The amount paid differs from community to community. After this, a date is fixed for the wife to join her husband.
Before the bride joins the husband, a short prayer is said to the ancestors asking for their blessings for the couple. After the prayer, she is taken away by the husband’s aunts accompanied by her own aunts.
On her arrival, she is warmly received by the bride-groom’s father. Here, the couple are advised again to live peacefully. After this, the family head pours libation asking for a successful marriage.
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