Owambe: Yorubas love to party

As a Nigerian, you would have heard this phrase a number of times, "Yoruba people love to party". They go all out to celebrate anything worth celebrating, be it wedding ceremonies, birthdays, housewarming, retirement, funerals of the old and aged, and even graduations. There is hardly any Saturday in Nigeria without owambe.

Owambe: Yorubas love to party

Owambe is a Yoruba word which translates to "it is there". It is the general name used to refer to parties thrown in Nigeria, especially by the Yoruba people.

Owamber is a large, bubbly, and grandiose ceremony with loud music, excess food, and drinks to go round. It is usually characterized by lavish spending, a show of luxury and extravagance as each person tries to outdress the next.

Owambe can be seen as an atmosphere to relax after working the whole week. It also provides an opportunity for people to network and make new connections with other people from all walks of life.

What is an owambe without Aso Ebi?

Aso Ebi is an integral part of owambe that cannot be overlooked. It is an expensive uniform outfit- usually Ankara or cord lace- chosen by the celebrant and sold to all attendees some months before the party. It is sewn into gorgeous styles and combined with equally expensive shoes, bags, and pieces of jewelry, with gele for women and fila for men.

A good party is never complete without the live band or DJ on standby entertaining the guests with melodious and danceable songs. If the music is not loud, then it is not a Yoruba party. This part of the party goes with money spraying. The celebrant would dance while the guests would spray money in different denominations and currencies.

Of course, it is not an owambe without food and drinks. There is always an abundance of these. Varieties of foods are usually served, ranging from amala to pounded yam, efo riro, egusi, and huge chunks of fish, chicken, and beef, sometimes, continental dishes are included in the menu. But the most significant dish at any party is jollof rice. It is always present at every party and some even say the success of the party depends on how tasty the jollof rice is. The abundance of food and drinks at parties gave rise to a popular saying, "e o je aje yo, e o tun di lo Ile". This means you will eat to your satisfaction and even take some home.

The celebrant always strives to give the guests some souvenirs like branded bags, key holders, notepads, utensils, and others. This is a way of showing appreciation for the guests' presence at the party.

A typical Yoruba party is nothing short of elegant, beautiful, and extravagant. Money spent on these parties usually amass into millions. But it promotes socialization, unity, and love in society.

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