The Edo Kingdom of Benin is one of the best known of the precolonial kingdoms on the Guinea Coast of West Africa renowned for their art of brass and ivory and for their complex political organization with classy traditional wedding ceremonies.Oba Ewuare instituted coral beads into the Edo tradition in 1400 A.D upon getting it from the sea goddess at Ughoton, a gateway to Europe in the times of my ancestors from where they traveled to and fro Lisbon and traded with the Portuguese. Bini craftsmen became experts at carving coral beads. Ivie was strictly for royalty, until it was reviewed and allowed to become an identity of all Edo people. Ergo, Edo brides are dressed in a coral bead crown.
Marriage in Edo State is usually very colorful.The rich culture of Edo state is evident in the beautiful, elaborate attire of the Edo bride. She is simply stunning, generously decked in coral beads on a backdrop of fabric.The Edo people place more value on coral beads than gold, on that note of importance , they sometimes name their daughter ‘ Ivie’.
The Edo People maintain a unique way of dressing. Coral bead accessories are a true passion for Edo women and men.The Edo bride is a queen who must have her crown, an intricately beaded piece of art called “Okuku”.
Traditionally, her hair is put up in a high bun called “Eto-okuku” and the beads are sewn directly onto the hair.She wears beaded anklets, waist beads, and bracelets around her wrist called the “Ivie-ebo”, earrings called “Emi-ehorivie” and a cape called “Ewu-ivie” made entirely of beads,their handbag is made out of coral beads as well the Ekpa-ivie
Modern Edo brides love to make a statement with their look, hence a red george wrapper is styled into a sleeveless outfit. The Edo women tie beautiful wrappers made from a variety of fabrics including velvet, lace and george. the coral beads and hair-do makes the Edo bride stand out amongst other brides and look like the princess though many opt to buy a ready made wig which comes with the hair styled and the crown sewn in.
The Edo culture is popular in the Southern part of Nigeria. It has an interesting history and strong respect for the traditions that are passed from generation to generation.The Edo wedding attire worn by brides during their traditional wedding ceremony is so rich and regal. They look like true african queens in their beaded coral attires.