AFRICANGLOBE – Mass weddings are increasingly gaining popularity in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as hundreds of Catholics prefer to exchange vows on the same day. Many see this as a way of saving costs and heightening the festivity.
Such weddings are particularly popular in border towns, with cross border weddings proving popular.
At Paidha Parish, in Nebbi Diocese, in northern Uganda, 527 couples from the two neighbouring countries wedded last Sunday.
This brings to more than 1,500 couples who have tied the knot in mass wedding ceremonies organised by that parish since the beginning of the year.
Fifty of the couples that wedded on Sunday were from DRC, and crossed into Uganda, with their relatives for the ceremony.
“I had stayed with my wife for more than 15 years without wedding her in church due to lack of funds.
But during the mass wedding I have been able to do so at a minimum cost,” one of the grooms, who tied the knot on Sunday, Simon Adriga said.
“I thank the church for supporting us.”
Some of the couples who walked down the aisle were aged between 70 and 80 years, while others pooled funds to host mass reception parties.
Area Bishop, Sanctus Lino Wanok has been instrumental in encouraging couples to wed in church. Most of them had cohabited for years without a formal wedding ceremony mostly due to lack of funds to do so.
“We encourage couples to participate in mass weddings because it is affordable. Mass weddings are the foundation of real Christianity,” he said.
“We encourage couples to formalise their marriages so that they live peacefully.”
Although most of the couples had lived together for some time, there were also a few who were fresh in marriage.
In order to encourage young people to get interested in weddings Bishop Wanok appealed to parents to stop asking for a dowry saying apart from discouraging marriages, they also led to domestic discontent.