The Kwara Government has felicitated 36 brides who were joined to their grooms at the Awon mass wedding festival in Shao, Moro Local Government Area of Kwara.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Awon mass wedding festival is a yearly cultural festival celebrating women of marriageable age who are joined to their spouses in large number simultaneously.
Speaking at the occasion in Shao on Friday, Bolanle Olukoju, the state Commissioner for Communications, who represented the Kwara Government, expressed delight at the gathering.
“Today is a great occasion and we give glory to the Almighty God as we gather to celebrate the annual Awon mass wedding in Shao.
“This event, which brings together the community’s sons and daughters, has gained widespread recognition, attracting people from all corners of the state and country.
” It serves as a testament to the diverse and vibrant cultural heritage of Kwara State,” she said.
She also congratulated the people of Shao on the coronation of Oba Job Atolagbe as the new Ohoro of Shao.
She said the administration remained committed to the preservation, sustenance and promotion of the state’s rich cultural heritage such as Ilorin Emirate Durbar, Patigi Regatta and Ganni festival.
The commissioner expressed the ministry’s ” profound appreciation to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for his unwavering support and dedication toward the support and promotion of various cultural festivals across the 16 local Governments Areas of the state. ”
Also speaking to NAN on the sidelines of the event, Abel Adewole, the Chairman of Shao Cultural Committee, said the wedding festival provides an opportunity to showcase the community to visiting dignitaries.
“ The 2023 Awon Mass Wedding is as remarkable as any other yearly event as it is a festival that the people of Shao are proud of because it has to do with our cultural heritage.
“We are proud of our heritage because every Shao indigene looks forward to it as it is a period when all sons and daughters of Shao from every part of the country meet.
“We discuss the shortcomings of the previous year and the development for the incoming year.
” We are trying as much as possible to get more sponsors just like in the past when MTN sponsored the event, donating new umbrellas to the brides together with other items.
” The present government is interested in promoting cultural heritage.
” Consider the presence of the people in government here like the Speaker of House of Assembly, Danladi Saliu, and some lawmakers, the Commissioner for Communication and other dignitaries.
” We normally give the brides incentives, empower them with things like sewing machines, hair driers, grinding machines and other equipment to appreciate them after the wedding.
” This is to make our daughters have a source of income on getting married,” he said.
One of the brides and mother of one, Ayoola Olaitan, said she was happy to be married, adding that all wishes come alive on wedding day.
“I am a Muslim but I decided to marry through Awon wedding because I don’t want to forget Shao customs and tradition coupled with the fact that all prayers are answered on wedding day.
“We, however, want government to assist us in Shao community and provide for our needs as well as empower brides who undertake Awon wedding,” the 32-year-old said.
Another bride, Omolayo Gbenga, said that she was very happy to be among the celebrated brides after many years of waiting.
The mother of four said: “My first born is 14 years old and I have four children with the same husband I am getting married to today.
“Brides usually get different gifts after the Awon wedding like money and vocational equipment depending on area of specialisation.
“We call on corporate organisations to continue to sponsor this event, ” she said. (NAN)