Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Social Science, Humanities and Education
Conversion and Influence of Christianity on African Traditional Marriage Rituals
John Chidubem Nwaogaidu
The coming of Christianity in the Southeastern part of Nigeria in the late nineteenth century through the Irish missionaries saw the conversion of many of the inhabitants into Christianity. Their conversion at first, placed them in complexity with their autochthonous religious practices out of the thrust for better religious/social status. This complexity is more evident on the issue of the marriage rituals. This study therefore interrogates how many of the converts were faced with the challenge of obedience either to the traditional rituals of marriage or the new Christian practices. It discovered that some of the initial efforts made by the missionaries to abolish or substitute some of the indigenous ritual practices with the Christian faith practices proved abortive. That notwithstanding, it became the case that the renunciation of the traditional religious beliefs for the ‘alien’ Christian beliefs was regarded as superlative. The objective of this work is to investigate the extent Christianity has wielded influence on the marriage rituals in today’s Africa. This study is drawn from an ethnographical research and supplemented with archival sources.
Keywords: indigenous beliefs; integration; kinship; missionary; religious obligations.