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Traditional Dress Code For Traditional Marriage Celebration

Last Update July 9, 2020
In recent times, there has been a growing tendency among young Bini men to neglect the traditional dress Patten even when marriage under native law and custom is being contracted. The young women on their part have kept meticulously to the fashion of wearing the appropriate traditional (bridal) dress patterns .Some of the men folk seem feel that wearing any “national” dress of Nigeria like “buba and “shokoto” or full “agbada” with traditional beads will suffice. The old Benin dressing pattern is throwing the wrapper. Flowing over the left shoulders with or without the tunic or tying the wrapper across the waist and leaving the chest bare .The wrapper was made of hand woven. 2 to 3 -piece of cloth, sewn together over the round underwear “Ebuluku”, hand-woven apparel sewn in a round shape, belted around the waist line. That was the commonest mode of dressing for the men folks, who were not yet titled chiefs. Alternatively, the wrapper could be wound around the lower abdomen and the excess piece thrown over the left shoulders and held in place with a horse tail.

The Chiefs and Enigie (Dukes) of the land have carefully preserved their patterns and modified them where appropriate. The Chiefs’ dress consisted of the loin cloth (wrapper) tied up the hip in a particular pattern known as EYOEN which could be of various shapes like UHUMWUN OGHO (Sheep’s head) with appropriate beads to match. The chest was left bare, but a tunic (sleeve-less shirt) could be worn during the Harmattan (cold) season. The tunic was part of the habiliments of war and was also worn to the farm by elderly People.

The Ebuluku (round knickers) was worn as under-dress before the loincloth or wrapper was beautifully attired in the preferred shape, for Princes, titled chiefs and palace functionaries.

An alternative dress for the Princes, Chiefs, Enigie -(Dukes) and}is Majesty the Oba was fashioned in 1934 during the early period of the reign of Oba Akenzua II in form of a cassock. The origin has been documented in Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisiens Book “IWU”.

Bini Traditional Dress
Yet another alternative dress for the menfolk designed by Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien using the “IWU the body markings of the Edo people” as base, was approved by Oba Erediauwa and launched in. 1984. The dress is a simple short- sleeved dress of a shirt designed of “IWU” (body markings) over the “Ebuluku”. This has in recent times become popular for all Binis as EWU EREDIAUWA  or EWU-IWU. Wearing a round bead  (IKELE) over it indicate the status in the community either of a full chief (Okhaemwen) or Uko in the Palace group or societies or one formality presented a bead by the Oba, In round beads are not worn indiscriminately but through the recognition, elevation and authority of the Monarch and his formal conferment through his emissaries Chieftaincy Regalia are of a special class or design with various  components as authorized by the Oba (king).

As earlier observed, the generality of young Bini men, appear reluctant to have the wrapper over their shoulders or tied in the form of EYOEN which did not look smart enough but other descendants from Benin have kept faith with this wrapper mode of dress which they have modernized and popularized as in Esan –land or in Ghana where every household in the old  Benin kingdom had had a loom for producing hand-woven clothes, and there was a Guild-Owina N’Ido specialized in cloth fabrication like the Guild of Iron Smiths, Bronce Casters etc. The hand-looms are still available in the Ishan and Etsako, Ika, Ndokwa, Asaba or Aniocha areas of Edo and Delta States. Added to the dressing pattern in the old Benin kingdom was the “UZAPKA” or “UGBUDIAN” over the shoulders, made of leather, or cow-tail or any form of hand fan that complements the dress and for repelling insects and for convenient fanning in hot weather. The Ishans admirably still retain the Ugbudian” as part of their colorful dress patter which they also call “IZAKPA”.

The women’s dress for traditional wedding- and other traditional occasions consists of the loincloth or wrapper tied across ‘the chest extending downwards beyond the knee level. The material for the women could be the white or coloured hand-woven cloth 2 or 3 pieces sewn together or could in most cases is of velvet or other flashy materials. No blouse is worn as such! The Princesses of the Realm had the distinction of wearing SCARLET RED (ODOIO) with or without the appropriate Royal INSIGNIA. The women have varied patterns of plaiting their hair but this would be decorated and spotted with beads known as “okuku” for the affluent or recognized elderly women. There are other simple hair patterns (plaiting) for women of young, middle age and the elderly.

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