Aso oke also known as aso ilu oke (top cloth),is the most prestigious hand-woven cloth of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. While single pieces of aso oke are sometimes worn on a daily basis, complete aso oke outfits are worn during major ceremonies like, chieftaincy, festivals,engagement, naming ceremony and other important events.
Popular aso oke used during festivals
There are three great classic aso oke worn during occasion or festive period .
Sanyan sometimes called sanyanmiran ,The sanyan is mostly carton brown in colour with several strip of white colour, it is woven from the beige silk obtained locally from the cocoons of the Anaphe moth, forming a pale brown/beige cloth.
Etu is stripped dark blue or black , indigo dyed cloth often with very thin light blue stripes. Etu means ‘guinea fowl’, and the cloth is said to resemble the bird’s plumage.
Alaari comes with the widest variation though the red colour is constant,it is woven from magenta waste silk.
The classics were all woven in silk which made them affordable only to royalty and the well to do people of the society.It is woven with silk though silk is no longer locally produced but is imported as threads from abroad. Age of this silk Sanyan was dated to the 1930s.
The aso oke has it peculiarities to the Yoruba people of the South Western part of Nigerian but the Nupe(Tapa) of the central Nigeria due to the intermingling Nupe/ Yoruba war with shows in the common ways of dressing for example the Etu aso one is also worn by the Nupe tribe.
The also oke mostly worn by the parent or the elder people not by rule but the younger generation tends to be more attracted to the modern design and colours.Sanyan in recent times are mostly worn by ilorin bride during the walimah, the sanyan has been upgraded , different design sometimes embellished with stone , pearls and embroidery ensued.
Other colours of aso oke have been used during weddings by brides and the husband, the general trend of Iro, buba ,gele and ipele or the four pieces (gbariye( awotele),sokoto,agbada and fila) has been improved in respect to styles.