The centuries-old Aso oke style is one of the continent of Africa’s oldest fashion trends. It has persisted in being relevant up to this point. Most of the Yoruba people of western Africa live in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin is known for their most prized fabric. The Yoruba people wear aso-oke for important events like chieftaincy, festivals, engagements, naming ceremonies, and other big occasions.
Aso Oke, which can be loosely translated as “clothes from the up-country,” is the abbreviation for Aso Ilu Oke. Since it was the most expensive item of clothing decades ago. The majority of wearers are royalty and the affluent. Because it is difficult to find and is still produced utilizing the wool spin weaving technique, the original aso oke fabric is still scarce and quite expensive to purchase today.
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Occasions That Call For Aso Oke
Aso oke is still very much required for many ceremonious events among the Yoruba people and here are a few:
1. Aso Oke Style for Engagement/Wedding Ceremonies
Yoruba traditional engagement/wedding attire has been supported for ages by Aso Oke. It has continually been improved throughout time to fit current fashion trends. Men’s robes known as agbada and fila (hats) can both be made from this unique hand-woven cloth. It is also employed in the creation of the headgear known as Gele and the women’s wrapper known as Iro. Learn more here!
Since the 15th century, Aso Oke has been used extensively in Yorubaland to create traditional bridal dress. The older Aso oke fabric is known to be thick and bulky. However, new production methods and techniques have been implemented to reduce the weight and thickness of the Aso Oke fabric and make it more suited for casual wear.
2. Aso oke styles forChieftaincy/Coronation Ceremonies
Since it is the most prestigious traditional attire, Aso oke is one of the special attires worn mostly by the Yorubas during special occasions like chieftaincy & coronation. Others have also embraced wearing the aso oke which goes to show how beautiful this material is or how people love to identify with royalty and the rich.
The Obas (kings), Yoruba’s highest traditional rulers are known as “Igbakeji Orisa,” which literally translates to “second only to the gods,” because it is thought that they serve as the gods’ earthly emissaries. The kings are adorned with Aso oke robes on their coronation. This is known to be the most royal regalia for the highest traditional rulers in the land. The Ooni of Ifè white color regalia represents purity and divinity. Other traditional rulers may choose their preferred color.
3. Aso oke Styles for Festivals & Funerals
When it comes to festivals & funerals, you talk about Aso Ebi. Ebi is friends or family. When many people wear similar colors, they are referred to as Aso Ebi to signify solidarity or unity as they set to mourn a relative who had just past on. This practice is common among wealthy Yoruba households. Aso oke fabric of the same color is worn by the relatives of the deceased, and another color for friends and well-wishers, this makes it easier to identify and distinguish guests at a funeral.
The Yoruba people have a very diverse and rich cultural heritage that includes numerous festivals. Almost all Yoruba towns and communities in Nigeria celebrate the Oro Festival. Only male descendants of the town’s paternal natives attend the yearly event, which takes place each year. Non-natives and women stay inside during the Oro celebration because it is thought that it is improper for a woman or anyone who is not permitted to attend the festival to view the Oro. There are also festivals where women participate fully. Aso oke is always a very important highlight of Yoruba festivals.
See some more contemporary Aso oke styles for ladies!
Yoruba couple in Aso oke Agbada and gown.