One thing is for sure…Our Krobo custom and tradition will forever live on!!!
Marriage is a very important and sacred institution in the life of the Krobos. Everyone looks up to it, and soon everyone reading this piece, who is not yet married, will marry at God’s own appointed time.
In our krobo custom, marriage is considered as duty, a requirement from the corporate Krobo society, and a rhythm of life in which all must participate.
a) THE PRE-MARITAL INVESTIGATION (‘Se pomi’)
In our Krobo custom, before any marriage could be contracted between any couple, “SE POMI” (Pre-marital investigation) is first made by both families, especially the man’s family. This is to ensure that the suitor do not have any strange health problems or dubious characters. As an important element in Krobo/ Dangme marriage, a lot of proverbs are used to give meaning to “se pomi” (Pre-marital investigation):
1. One looks at the legs of the mother sheep before one buys the kid- A hyɛɔ to nyɛ nane loko a heɔ e mi bi.
2. One looks at the leaves of a tree before one digs its roots- A hyɛɔ tsoyi ba, loko a tsuaa e poku.
3. One looks at the plantain tree before one digs the plantain suckers- A hyɛɔ madaa nyɛ loko a jeɔ e he bi.
b) KNOWING THE MOTHER-IN-LAW (‘Tsutsumi lemi’)
After the suitors family are satisfied with the pre-marital investigation, the suitor (the man) in the company of the mother or an elderly woman go UNOFFICIALLY to inform the would- be mother-in-law for the hand of her daughter in marriage. This unofficial rite is done so that the would- be mother –in-law will inform the husband of plans to have their daughter married. The amount paid here is not fixed since it varies from lineage to lineage.
c) SELF INTRODUCTION (‘He sijemi’)
The formal marriage rite begins with self-introduction (He sijemi). This ceremony brings together the families of the suitor and the wife-to-be. At this gathering, an OFFICIAL INFORMATION is given out on the part of the husband-to-be to the girl’s parents expressing the wish to marry their daughter (“the flower”). THIS RITE CUSTOMARILY ATTRACTS TWO BOTTLES OF SCHNAPPS. Before the acceptance of this drink, the man’s family must have already given out a drink (the previous night) for putting the girl’s family to sleep (Sihwɔmi da), and a drink for waking them up the morning of the marriage ceremony (sitlemi da).
d) BRIDAL PERMISSION (Yobami).
Bridal Permission, called “Yobami” in our Krobo language, marks the end of the preliminary official rites according to our Krobo tradition. Here, the suitor’s family OFFICIALLY ASK PERMISSION from the girl’s family to have the girl given to them. This enables the woman to move to the man’s house. This marks THE LEGAL BEGINNING OF THE MARRIAGE RITE, and the man can now exercise paternal control over the lady. For this, the man’s family is made to present TWO BOTTLES OF SCHNAPPS. This ‘Yobami’ ceremony marks the end of the preliminary official rites, and paves the way FOR THE START OF THE PRINCIPAL MARRIAGE RITES (Yo he nitsumi).
Marriage is indeed a joyous and merry-making ceremony in Krobo. Therefore, through out all this stages, our TRADTIONAL KLAMA SONGS AND DANCE are performed. There is a lot of food to eat, jokes to share and lots of merry making.
In the PART TWO of this workshop, we will look at the Principal Marriage Rite (the real“Yo he nitsumi”), the full list of the items that are demanded by the in-laws, and end it all with the grand one- “THE FIA PEEMI” (The marriage blessing). Manye nɛ ba!!!!!!
SOURCE: KLOMA HENGME/ Www.klomahengme.com