A lady at work recently got married, I heard she got married and I also heard she still stays with her parents even after her traditional marriage.
I was walking past her when somebody stopped her and said, “Congrats o, you don turn Mrs.” but she said not yet, na traditional marriage we just do, we never do the main thing”. Because of my occasional gbeboron antenna which can be activated without my permission, I stopped on my tracks, turned back and was staring at her codedly, maybe sizing her up or trying to relate what she said with who she is… I have no idea, but I waited. Since my looking wasn’t giving me the answer I wanted, I decided to engage her in a conversation which went thus;
“Why is your white wedding your main wedding and how come you don’t fully consider yourself married even after traditional marriage?”
“No na. Church wedding is to take the marriage to God. Take the marriage to the house of the Lord and let it be blessed” she said confidently
“So your traditional marriage wasn’t blessed by God?” I asked curiously… trust me I was sincerely curious because I wanted to know why she had such thought.
“No o. That one is for tradition na. All those village people and the things wey dem go dey ask us to do.” (I pretended not to know what she was talking about). All those traditional things, that one no be God na” see me staring at her like I just realized she also has a neck holding her neck head in place… Oh my!
Now I was surprised because I would’ve expected such words to come from someone like me who some people believe has been totally westernized they do not know their culture, not from someone that grew up in the culture, in the same village hence you’ll expect her to have more respect for the tradition. But then it seems the western culture has successfully sold their lifestyle to us making us see our authentic tradition as something barbaric that don’t stand a chance with the “White” wedding.
So what makes the White wedding special? I started asking. The lady? Oh yes, I did ask her but she said aside from white wedding being more superior, she loves the glam… that is understandable, liking the glam I mean, but that doesn’t make it better.
One way or the other, the society has made it look like you are not yet fully married until you perform the white wedding ceremony, so you see ladies do traditional marriage but still feel like they’re living in sin in their marital homes because they haven’t done the white wedding. Most of us don’t go to our matrimonial homes after the traditional marriage as we wait for the big day, and trend has been so kind to evolve that we do our Traditional marriage on Thursday or Friday and get ready for the big day, the White Wedding where we act all civilized and posh and for the second time your father hands you over to your groom.
I do understand this feeling. This feeling of wanting to look pure even when we don’t feel pure. Afterall we would war white and the white is meant to symbolize our purity. That feeling of wanting to be the star and attract all the attention to ourselves. I understand that feeling to have a moment where you are the lead character in the story and everybody gets to act like they like you… actually, everybody has no choice but to like you on that day.
This script, this wedding script, has been sold to us by another world and as Africans, we continue to top the notch in rebranding that script to help the agenda of the same people that colonized us… where they tell us we’ll live happily ever after for sickness and health… good vows, but these vows should not defeat what an African wedding should be to you, which is a ceremony that embodies who you are and it is celebrated differently in different African culture but aiming for a greater goal, which is the alliance of families (I know that’s what white wedding also does), but what we need to know is that we should not take this culture above ours.
You preferring white wedding is not a problem, but you saying what you prefer is better is when something is really wrong. There’s no greater slavery than the slavery of the mind, and while we are trying our best to question things we have been taught, let’s also be open-minded and question the things we love. Let’s unlearn and relearn despite how we feel about these things.
Do I like White weddings? Of course, I do! The glitz and glamour and then so many photos we’ve seen from Bellanaija and are aspiring to rock that day with, but who says we cannot rock our traditional marriages and make our culture centre stage? Nobody is saying don’t wear your white dress and look like the angel you are, but what I’m a saying is as much as we are pushing the “White wedding” story let’s also push traditional marriage. What white wedding is to a white man is what traditional marriages are to Africans. Abi you’ve seen an American man conducting a traditional marriage when he doesn’t have an African partner?
So I understand we are still growing and relearning things, but while we do let us understand something… It is new doesn’t make it better. We have cultural values that have lasted years doesn’t mean it becomes void when we’re introduced to something new and different, because guess what, being different and being better are different conversations and shouldn’t be compared. This I believe is why we have been given mind to process things and think for ourselves. Knowing and with wisdom understanding what is right and what isn’t. deciphering for ourselves, but that should come after searching and finding.
But to get this conversation rolling, what country are you from? Do you prefer white wedding over traditional marriages? Please let us know why as I am learning from you too.