Marriage (“GBA”) According to our Krobo Customs (Part II)

In the part one of this workshop (which can be found on our wall), we looked at the pre-marital investigation (‘se pomi), knowing the mother-in-law (‘Tsutsumi lemi’), the self introduction (‘He si jemi’), and we ended at the bridal permission (‘yo bami’).

Today, we are going to look at the principal marriage rite (‘yo he nitsumi), the marriage lists of items required, and end this workshop with the final marriage rite: the marriage blessing (‘Fia peemi’).


The principal marriage rite begins with what is known as “KNOCKING” (‘Agbo simi’). It is believed that the man is still a stranger, and according to our Krobo custom, he needs to knock. This attracts TWO BOTTLES OF SCHNAPPS. The next stage after the ‘knocking’ is the man’s entrance into the house (‘wemi sɛmi’), and this also attracts TWO BOTTLES OF SCHNAPPS.

With this stage over, the man customarily request for the lady to be given to him finally. This request is known as ‘YO SI BIMI’, and the man pays TWO BOTTLES OF SCHNAPPS.


When the request is granted, the woman is given to the man. At this point in our Krobo custom, the woman is made to sit besides the husband. THIS SYMBOLIZES THE WOMAN’S RITUAL TRANSFER FROM THE CONTROL AND SECURITY OF HER ORIGINAL HOME TO THE FAMILY OF THE HUSBAND.

From this point, the woman becomes a full member of the husband’s family, and the husband has absolute control over her. The husband, after receiving the woman, thanks the family of the woman with either A BOTTLE OR TWO BOTTLES OF SCHNAPPS.

THANKSGIVING (‘Yo nya tsumi haami”).

The new husband, as a form of appreciation, makes some presentations in the form of items to the wife, father-in-law, and some specific people that matter most. This serves as a positive witness of giving the woman in marriage. These items are the following:

a). THE FATHER –IN-LAW PIECE OF CLOTH (‘Ngatsɛ bo kpo’)
The farther-in-law is presented with a full piece of cloth (‘bo kpo’). In addition, he is given a cutlass, a native sandals (‘ablade’), umbrella, and tobacco (‘tababɔ).

b) THE MOTHER-IN-LAW (‘Nganyɛ semi fɔmi)

Ritually, it is believed that, the lady who has been married has made the back of her mother dirty with urine and faeces in the course of her up-bringing. In view of this, the new husband is made to pay a handsome amount as agreed upon by the mother-in-law.

c) OTHER PRESENTATIONS that must be made by the new husband include Money for the Brother-in-laws (Bajɔmɛ a sika), Money for the Family (Weku bi a sika), Drink to inform the chief (‘Matsɛ amaniɛ bɔmi da’), etc.


It is often said that the end crowns the work. ‘Fia Peemi” is the final rite that is performed during our Krobo customary marriage. It is done in the PATERNAL HOME of the wife by two elderly first born women (‘Wemi Dedehi’).

Items used for the performance of this custom are a FULL BOTTLE OF SCHNAPPS, RUM (Da tsu) or “tsomi da”, AN AMOUNT OF MONEY WHICH IS DIVISIBLE, AND A LEAF.

In the performance of this rite, two elderly first born women (Dedehi), of moral uprightness from BOTH FAMILIES are selected to do it. These women by customary demands should have had all their marriage rites performed for them by their respective husbands.

This special rite is performed AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE FATHER-IN-LAWS ROOM. Interestingly, both the bride and bridegroom ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE A LOOK AT THIS RITE. In the performance of this rite, the brides representative (one of the the ‘wemi Dede’) sits inside the room while the suitor’s representative (the other ‘wemi Dede’) sits outside the room with the door sill (Sinya poku) in between them.

The other people who matter most in this ceremony are the two liquists representing both families, as well as the many family members.

Before the start of the rite, the head of the bride’s family pours libation with the rum (‘Da tsu’) or tsomi da’ to God, the ancestors, deities and all invisible beings to invoke their blessings for the marriage.

THE NEXT STEP is the BREAKING OF THE LEAF or THE BLADE OF GRASS. This ceremony is known as ‘Gba yi pomi”. In this ‘gba yi pomi’ ceremony, the two women representatives hold the blade of grass or the leaf UNDER THEIR CROSSED KNEES. They then pull the leaf until it breaks into two parts. They exchange the broken leaf THRICE under their knees. While exchanging the broken leaf, the representative of the bride says:

“Fiaa, I jɔɔ nɔ ha mo” (I bless it for you), and the suitor’s representative responds by saying “I sɔle” (I accept).

As a symbol of unity, the two representatives drink from the same glass in their sitting position, and share the money equally among them amidst SINGING AND DANCING OF KLAMA SONGS. The group that performed the rite then moves to the main marriage grounds to inform the elders about the success of the ‘fiaa pemi’ rite accordingly.

This Workshop on our customary marriage is getting interesting, let us continue it in the COMMENTS segments below. See you there……


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