For a culturally diverse African country like Nigeria, there is something all cultures have in common — Parties! Over time, parties have been an integral part of Nigeria. Though parties used to hold occasionally, they are quite done regularly now. Today, every weekend is incomplete in Nigeria without a party.
Most Nigerian parties are called Owambe. These parties are usually characterized by a portrayal of extravagance, show of luxury, lavish spending, colour, extravaganza, paparazzi, lots of food, music, dance, networking, among others.
Though Owambe has become a Nigerian thing, it is particularly prevalent among the Yoruba people.
Features of an Owambe
* Weekends: In Nigeria, no owambe is done on weekdays, except in rare cases, but not always common. If it is not on a weekend (especially on Saturdays), it is not an owambe.
* Foods: At a typical Nigerian owambe, food flows in abundance. Varieties of foods are usually served but the signature dish at any owambe is jollof rice. Some people will even say the success of a party hinges on how tasty the Jollof rice is, and this is very true. While the emphasis is being made on foods, an owambe is not complete without huge chunks of beef, fish, chicken, etc. You might need a ‘little connection’ though to be served food at some owambes.
* Aso Ebi: Aso Ebi is an attire sewn from matching clothing materials that a group of people wear to a ceremony in uniformity. Aso Ebi is special and the people who wear them understand the significance of the attire and are proud of wearing it.
* The Uninvited: If you have ever attended an owambe, you must have probably noticed certain people whose outfits are in contrast with others. Some of these people actually party without receiving invitations. They are called “Mogba-Moyas” (Meaning, I came because I heard). When you ask them about their relationship with the host, the response is usually something like “I’m a friend to the brother of the host’s aunty’s cousin’s sister’s nephew’s mother’s sister.”
* Music: If the music isn’t loud, it is probably a get-together. Owambes feature loud music. Without music, there won’t be dances. Music precedes the dance. Dance precedes spraying of money. Some Nigerians hire DJs to play trendy jams, while others make use of live performers. The influential ones usually prefer top musicians like King Sunny Ade, Saheed Osupa, Wasiu Ayinde, Pasuma Wonder, among others to entertain guests at their functions.
* Souvenirs: For an owambe to be interesting and end colourfully, it must feature good souvenirs as parting gifts. Souvenirs are items used to remember the event, hence, Nigerians strive to give their guests the best gifts during owambes. Among such gifts are branded notepads, pens, utensils, etc.
However, is there anything that can take away the love of owambes from the hearts of Nigerians? Probably nothing. Nigerian parties have evolved into millions of Naira industry with event vendors raking millions every weekend.
More so, it is safe to say that owambes are very expensive social events but the prestige and ego it gives Nigerians are unmatched, so when planning your next party, consider these factors, and also note that moderation is key.