The Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Most Revd. Gabriel Abegunrin, has averred that wearing suits and gowns for white weddings is not what validates a marriage, disclosing that he would soon lead a campaign for intending couples to be decked in native attires on their wedding day.
While not condemning English wears, he promoted the use of lace materials and ankara clothings for weddings just as the bridegroom and bride did during their traditional marriage ceremony.
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Abegunrin reasoned that about-to-wed couples sporting native attires for wedding ceremonies, either in the church or registry, would help in promoting good aspects of culture, which could not be separated from a people’s identity.
His words, “We are losing a lot of good culture; a lot of values we are losing. It’s not everything that we do that is barbaric. It’s not everything we do that is bad or fetish. But we have brushed out everything, that everything must be imported even character.
“Like young men and women now, when they want to wed, that marriage is not valid until they wear suit and gown. Isn’t it? Is that not true? It is not true at all? The suit and the gown are not the ones making the marriage valid, either in the church or even in the registry, not at all.
“What makes the marriage valid is the exchange of consent and they are the ministers of their own marriage. That exchange of consent makes them the ministers of their marriage.
“Actually, I’m going to start a crusade very soon to encourage youths to use their traditional dresses to get married. You can see the engagement day, they go into beautiful attires; they throw like this, throw like that or the simple ones whether in lace or beautiful ankara or whatever.
“On Saturday, they become something else, so stiff that they can’t bend. But on Friday, they are so beautiful, dancing the way they want, throwing agbada. The woman can have a ‘satellite’ (head gear) on the head. Why can’t they change that now to say use one of these traditional wears on the engagement day and on the wedding day, use another beautiful one? It is valid my dear people, and they should do that.
“I will be encouraging youths to use traditional dresses, complete with cap is very good. Complete ‘iro and buba’ (wrapper and blouse) and ‘iborun’ are very good for marriage. It’s not invalidating anything. It is only promoting culture.
“But some people, unless you are in suit or you are in gown, it’s not valid, it’s not true. It’s only a copyright. What we copy now has become our master and we have thrown our own away.
“Some of us who have aunties or uncles and parents who wedded in the registry or church, they didn’t use suit at all. The black and white photos are still there in their sitting rooms or parlours. The aso-ofi and trousers that are big and not reaching the ground, very beautiful and their marriages are valid and they have beautiful children like you and like me, trained children, children that you can trust. They had a pattern for everything.
“Then, they did not even use to carry flowers, only the bag. Sometimes, it’s even the man that will carry the bag, I don’t know what that means, maybe that was the culture then. We throw a lot of our cultures away now and part of it is our behavior, our character.”