“There ain’t no party like a Lagos party cos in Lagos parties we don’t bother nobody
We just put our hands up, drinks in the cups, people stand up cos we don’t give a…”
Banky W sang these immortal words back in 2009. Truly, nobody celebrates owambes like Nigerians. We go above and beyond to throw huge parties for our friends and family, and ensure everyone has a good time. Some of our traits at weddings however, are unique to the 200 million or so people that identify as Nigerian.
RSVP was coined from the french term “Répondez s’il vous plaît” or “Please respond” in English. In some countries, it is common practice to RSVP and indicate interest in attending the wedding. Many wedding invitation cards in Nigeria have no RSVP. For those that bother to put it, nobody has such extra credit to waste so they rarely get responses. Instead we keep invitation cards to show off to our friends and family. We sef dey go wedding, we no dey carry last!
Have you heard of African time? I was recently speaking with a friend about an 8:30am event she was supposed to attend. At past 10, she was still at home. When I asked her about it, she replied “Don’t you know african time?” Nigerians don’t believe in arriving anything early, weddings most especially. Am I a server? Am I there to arrange chairs? Me I want to eat, not work for anybody o!
If your wedding starts 9am, best be sure the venue will not be full till 2pm. It’s just our culture, nothing personal 🙂
Common in several West African countries, aso-ebi is a traditional dress worn by friends and family as an indication of solidarity and cooperation to weddings. Trust Nigerians though, we have taken it to the next level. It is perfectly common to attend a wedding and feel odd because you are the only one not wearing a certain color. It is common practice for the family of the bride especially to choose a particular lace material for the aso-ebi. These are usually expensive, sometimes costing up to 50,000 naira! For a nation with half of it’s population living under $2 a day, we always find money to buy aso-ebi for all our weddings. Enemies, die by fire!
Displays of cash
Weddings are the main opportunity to prove to all your haters that you have made it in life. How do we do this? Spray dollars and pounds on the couple of course! The days of writing checks to support the wedding financially are gone. Giving wedding gifts? Nope it’s not in our culture. Here are some steps to do it the Nigerian way. Withdraw all your cash and wait for the music to come on. Then walk up to the couple, ensure the camera man is recording and bring out wads of thousands of naira (or dollars if you’re a faaji Alhaji). Put it on their necks, in their hands and drop some on the floor. Go to the live band and spray them some cash as well, let them sing your name. If you no get money, hide your face!
Take along all your friends
Here is the thing about Nigerian weddings. It is an unspoken rule that your invitation card was not meant for just you. One card covers your spouse and kids, your siblings, your neighbors, your work buddies you told about it, your security guard and your 7 family friends that came from Australia. Below is an average representation of the number of people that come with one invitation card.
Carry nylon or cooler
It is also important to note that the food isn’t just for the wedding day. One wedding meal should last an immediate family for at least 3 days, even that is an understatement. Nigerians are required by law to pack nylon bags and coolers to take away extra food. For those that do not abide, it is the duty of policemen to stop road vehicles and apprehend unruly individuals that drive on weekends without party coolers (particulars haha).
Which Nigerian wedding traditions did we forget? Let us know!
Photo credits: Google images