Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Owambe! The Party Life Of The Typical Nigerian

Who doesn't love a good party? But ain't nobody can do it better than we Nigerians.

I bet foreigners will always wonder about the unique Nigerian 'owambe' spirit. The word itself which is originally Yoruba has now ascended to having national meaning, even a Hausa man from Adamawa probably does not need you to explain to him what owambe means.

See more after the cut.

They be like "Ain't nothing stopping us from being at this party mehn!"
'E dey there' - literal translation, or if you want to stick to the strict grammar rules of Queen's English, 'he/she/it is there' (or something like that, abeg translation no easy jor!). In fact, I hear the word has entered the dictionary now sef. According to the Urban dictionary, owambe is a large, grandiose party thrown by Nigerians anywhere in the world (hehehe), especially Yoruba Nigerians that involves a lot of food, dancing, loud music and spraying (Nigerian term meaning the act of throwing money on a dancing person)

Yes! We spend dollars like it's nothing!
If you are alien to this totally amazing culture of owambe, you'll probably wonder what events we always have to celebrate (seeing as there are hundreds of parties across the country every weekend). Hmmn, Nigerians never ever have a shortage of reasons to throw parties. Weddings, burials and birthdays are probably the chief reasons, but you'll find Nigerians throwing lavish parties for almost any other reason including burial remembrance (of deceased people that have long rotted away), acquisition of a new car and even to celebrate visa approval! Nigerians can and will celebrate ANYTHING! I dey tell you.

There are unique trappings to every owambe party, from the interesting dance styles,to the exquisite decorations, to the clothing. Wait, lets pause at this clothing part. No Nigerian party is complete without Aso Ebi (literally 'family cloth', but it's meant for just about anyone attending the party that can afford to buy it). You can't even think about throwing a party in Nigeria without selecting a special attire for your guests to wear, even if your budget is tight, at least you will pick gele, or at the very worst, a branded T-shirt. In fact, aso ebi has become a brand in itself over here.

Aso Ebi
And of course, good owambe parties have the unbeatable reputation of being parties where you will go to 'je ajeyo' and 'tun di lo ile'. In essence, what that means is "gorge on all the food until you purge, bring along Andrew's Liver Salt for decongestant purposes and still carry containers, nylon bags or anything else that you can use to pack yourself some take away".

Eat all you can!
That said, you wouldn't believe the amount of money that goes into owambes! It's been said that Lagosians alone spend an estimated 36 billion Naira a year on parties! (and these are 2013 figures). 

In my opinion, Naija owambe parties should be institutionalized as an industry by itself: afterall, it has become such a huge money spinner! I wont be surprised if in a couple of years, one hears such conversations as: 

"so what do you do?", "oh, I'm in the owambe industry"!

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