Aro Traditional Marriage: Unveiling the Literary Drama within a Rich Heritage


In the recent Ikeji edition of Aro News, Mazi E.K.O Ivi provided readers with an in-depth exploration of Aro traditional marriage and its intricate steps. The article painted a vivid picture of the cultural richness and significance of these ceremonies. As we continue to savor the flavors of this heritage, let's embark on a literary journey to uncover the dramatic elements woven into the fabric of Aro traditional marriage.

The Literary Drama of Aro Traditional Marriage:

Aro traditional marriage is more than just a ceremony; it's a theatrical performance rich in literary elements. Drawing parallels with African and Nigerian drama, especially rooted in masquerades, we find that Arochukwu traditional marriage possesses essential dramatic components: imitation, enlightenment, plot, thought, song, and dance.

Act 1: Imitation - The Aju Mmai Ritual

Imitation involves representing actions that have taken place. The unique Aju Mmai ritual in Aro traditional marriage exemplifies this concept. As the procession led by six men carries the Aju Mmai, symbolizing the stand for the palm wine pots, they imitate travelers on a quest for precious items. The dramatic use of padded plantain leaves and the procession's slow, purposeful movement provide a captivating spectacle. This imitation signifies youth, vigor, and the importance of the journey.


Act 2: Enlightenment - Aju Mmai, Mgbede, and Bride Price

Enlightenment, defined as greater knowledge and understanding, plays a crucial role in Aro traditional marriage. The Aju Mmai ritual, with its symbolic aspects, imparts knowledge about youth, experience, and the importance of tradition. The choice of plantain leaves symbolizes fertility and long life. The presentation of "Okwa Isii Aro" during the bride price negotiation supports tradition, emphasizing continuity and the importance of shared values. Additionally, the "Mgbede" period offers enlightenment through preparation, empowerment, and education for the bride.

Act 3: Entertainment - The Drama of Mgbede

Entertainment takes center stage during the presentation of "Mgbede." Songs, dances, and the "Mmai Ajuju" (public consent) create excitement and suspense. The search for the groom becomes a thrilling scene, enhancing the overall drama. The procession of "Aju Mmai" and the resonating sounds of the "Aju" add to the melodramatic experience.

Act 4: Thought - The Power of Words

Thought, the ability to express what is possible and appropriate, is omnipresent in Aro traditional marriage. Thought guides negotiations, speeches, and expressions of general opinions. The use of proverbs, idioms, axioms, rhetoric, and figurative language is essential, as it ensures the success of the negotiation process.

Aro traditional marriage is not just a ceremony; it's a literary drama that encompasses imitation, enlightenment, entertainment, and profound thought. Each act of this cultural performance opens doors to deeper understanding and appreciation of Aro heritage. As we engage in these ceremonies, let us recognize the layers of meaning and significance that make them not just ordinary rituals but extraordinary expressions of culture and tradition.

In the spirit of Aro Okigbo, let us continue to celebrate and preserve this rich cultural heritage for generations to come. Long live Aro!

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