The Nigerian woman and her red coral beads is a beautiful sight to behold, beyond stunning in my humble opinion. But why does the Nigerian woman particularly the woman from Edo or Igbo-speaking parts of Nigeria wear red coral beads on her wedding day? What does it signify and why does the tradition remain long after the woman or her children and their children move from the environment which first nurtured the wearing of these beads on her neck during her traditional marriage ceremony?
If you see the woman on her wedding day, her body is almost always adorned with red coral beads and for significant reasons. I have addressed some of these reasons in the past (see here), but judging from the traffic to the site, it seems that this viewpoint is worth revisiting with new images as seen below.
Red coral beads are embedded into the very fabric of the Nigerian society. In terms of marriage, they highlight so much about the past as they do the present and future in terms of the symbolic stature of the woman as she enters into a marriage ceremony. Many scholars and lay people alike, suggest that these red coral beads which by themselves are regal are often gifts for the bride from her family and used to inform the bridegroom and his family of her worth or value o to her own family. The woman wears the bead to showcase the wealth of her own family in a manner that informs the bridegroom and his people of her own significance prior to joining his family. It also showcases the joy the bride and her family feel for that day. These beads highlight the heritage, creativity and the change to come for the woman. The fuller or heavier the beads as adorned on the neck of the woman, the higher her status within her family, but this too is variable and may not be applicable for every bride.
But even with these descriptions, when it comes to marriage, the Nigerian woman is treated like a queen on her day. No matter how poor she maybe, she still adorns her neck with coral beads, if not for anything, but to express her personal beauty and her worth to her soon to be husband. Genuine red coral beads are rare and very much sought after and highly valued by the Igbo woman on her special day. These beads are painstakingly crafted by hand, with each set entirely unique, guaranteeing that the designs you see on the woman on her grand day are true originals, truly a sight to behold, especially during one of the most important days of her life. The images below offer a glimpse to the beauty of the red coral beads as worn by various Nigerian women on their special day.
Source of images: Instagram.