Owambe Party in Nigeria: Foods, Vibes, Dressing and Cruise

by op-ed contributor
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It’s another Saturday in the city of Lagos, the fast moving city. We all know what Saturdays are for. From the glittering ‘aso ebi’ to the beautiful aroma coming from the coolers, or is it warmers? Then, there’s the sweet cool music by the live Fuji band (it doesn’t have to be Fuji though). It’s time for owambe party in Nigeria!

Owambe party in Nigeria

Owambe or Owanbe is also known as parties to Yoruba and non-Yoruba speakers of the Nigerian community. It is always anticipated and also very common because of the glee and fun and pure bliss that comes with it.

Ijebu people would tell you everything is worth celebrating. Don’t be surprised if you see someone celebrating a new phone in Lagos. It’s always a beautiful sight to behold, the whole atmosphere is coloured and filled with glamour. Everything is done to perfection, especially the food. Oh, the food! Have you tasted the food at an owanbe party in Nigeria? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Owambe party in Nigeria is not peculiar to the center of excellence. It is everywhere. A touch of party is in our DNA as Nigerians. It’s the most inexpensive way we unwind after a stressful week, meet new people and catch up on family drama.

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Compulsory elements of owanbe party in Nigeria

  1. Aso-Ebi

Parties are colourful and very interesting. Oppression left and right. If you’re not careful, you’d go back home wondering, “God when?”. Shine shine Ankara here and there. Beauty in surplus. Aso Ebi describes a general clothing material that is carefully chosen weeks, or sometimes months, before the main event. The main event is almost always a wedding. For large families, aso ebi is selected according to the wife. The common materials used for this festive attire are lace, guinea (or gini), Ankara of very high grades and senator.

  1. The Gele and other accessories

“Gele mi ga ju ti e lo, gele mi gaju ti e lo” is the national anthem of Yoruba parties. Translation: “My head tie is taller or better or more glittery than yours.”

The kind of head gears, also known as “gele” that you see at parties neatly matched with golden or silver purses is going to blow your mind. Let’s not forget the matching shoes, earrings, necklaces, and bangles too, either made of metal or beads. Like I warned earlier, oppression here and there. The competition for the best gele begins, you will see old and young aunts eyeing each other. May the best gele win!

There are other beauties for you to behold at any owanbe in Nigeria. You’ll see young girls in their beautifully sewn gowns, trying to stay neat while comparing their outfits with others. Young boys with oversized fila (local caps for men) and matching buba and sokoto. Men with neatly ironed agbada or dansiki. Everyone with their flashy designs, beautiful patterns, and unique appearance despite the uniformity in material.

  1. Vibes on vibes: Music

Slow, calm but sweet Fuji music is always played in the background of any owambe party in Nigeria. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t prompt dancing. It only sets the mood for old men to catch up on old times and old women to chatter or gossip – whichever one you call it. The young adults set out to meet new people, teenagers try to act classy, and children run about munching on snacks and adding new scars to their knees.

For any successful owambe in Nigeria, it’s all about the sweet vibes blasting or drizzling from the speakers. Music brings in the mood, and if you find yourself at any Nigerian party, fun is guaranteed.

  1. Food. More food. Excess food (a.k.a Item7)

Let’s make a very short list of the assortments of delicacies you’ll find at parties in Nigeria. Amala, eba, semo, egusi and ogunfe, ofada rice, white rice, and of course, the globally approved Nigerian Jollof. Nigerian Jollof is the greatest ever, and when you add it to parties in Nigeria, it’s the ultimate combination. I go to parties for the food. Nigerian party food has a different taste from regular food. There has to be a special ingredient that only native caterers are aware of.

The music tempo is slightly increased when it’s time for meals. The food servers move to the beats of the music as they go from table to table with mouth-watering delicacies. Sometimes it’s the serve yourself method, which is also delightful. Let’s not forget the cold drinks served in bottles and sometimes in plastic cups, or cocktails at new age parties. Different meals, different choices, if you’re not careful, gluttony might overpower you.

Money, time and effort are dedicated to this aspect of parties in Nigeria. It’s like the most important part of owambe party in Nigeria. Nigerians make the most of owambe parties by collecting extra food in take-aways and small nylons bags.

  1. The uninvited guests

Without this element, owambe party in Nigeria is not complete. This set of people are not related to any of the party hosts. We call them ‘toju bole’; people like me. They come in, greet one or two people, eat and drink every available option, dance with the biggest enthusiasm and sometimes cause fights before going home.

It’s in the constitution of owambe party in Nigeria. They don’t wear aso ebi and they have an aura of the “boss” throughout their stay.

  1. Ijoya (Dance Time)

Now food time is over. The tempo of the music is set to a fast rhythm to encourage reactions from people. Ijoya!!

Different dancing steps are all over the place. Money flying in the air. People fighting for money on the ground (You’ll find me here). And most importantly, once every 30 minutes, the music is paused to announce a particular car that needs to be parked correctly. If you don’t hear this announcement, trust me you’re in the wrong place.

Cruise upon cruise. Vibes upon vibes. Children counting bottles. Adults grooving. Some people collecting extra food. People dancing their hearts away. Nothing beats the relaxation that this moment brings.

  1. Souvenirs

People tend to grumble if there’s no souvenir at the end of a Nigerian party. It makes it difficult to decide what really is the most important part of the party: food or gifts? Souvenirs are the host’s way of appreciating the guests for honouring their invites with their presence. It could be buckets, towels, bags, or jotters. Details of the giver are often inscribed somewhere on the gift right below the details of the ‘event’. Party souvenirs are a good bargain as they can be kept and used after the party.

Owambe party in Nigeria: the perfect place

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Owanbe party in Nigeria is perfect for meeting new people, making friends, merrymaking, and enjoyment. Without these elements, know that the experience is not yet complete.

On a final note, for Nigerian parties, “e o je ajeyo, e o tun di lole” (roughly translates to “you will eat to satisfaction and still pack some home”).

Ever wondered why Owambes are hosted on Saturdays? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments section.

Don’t forget to attend one this weekend.

About The Author

Lana OfLagos is the name, currently an industrial chemist in OAU. Interested in football, writing and talking. I take beautiful pictures to make you happy. I’m the laziest but most determined person you’d ever come across who is currently in love with amala. Life is easy, don’t stress.

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out inisght.ng/guest-post.

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