To celebrate an occurrence of event is only human, It is therefore considered a fallacy to attribute the culture of partying to a certain ethnicity however, Yoruba people have an edge once partying is concerned, a little achievement where others rush to the bar to toss wine or organise a mini cocktail gathering, Yorubas would get a hall to party. We party for things that bring joy and usually things as little as passing an exam, promotion at work, acquiring a car, or travelling overseas let alone the clear-cut birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, naming ceremonies, weddings etc
A housewarming party alone may gulp money worth to buy an acre of land or money worth to build boys-quarters with ‘meguard’ apartment as an attachment.
No one can dig into how this concept started, perhaps it was due to how our ancestors worshiped Orishas where they would organise festivals and community get-together as a means of showing reverence or perhaps they treasured joy so much that they would invite family and friends to be part of it even maybe our culture is just in line with dancing and socialising, no one is certainly sure.
On a good weekend in Yorubaland, the visible sights will be people dressed in radiant Yoruba attires, men wearing their Buba and Sokoto with Fila, while women wearing Iro and Buba of all sorts of designs coupled with a large and attractive headgear with combinations of expensive shoes and jeweleries, a street packed with tents and chairs of beautiful decor and loud music from different angles of the neighbourhood
A Yoruba family with a new born baby will usually organise a befitting naming ceremony on the seventh day. This may range from a low keyed ceremony to an extravagant one especially if the baby was planned and the family is wealthy.
A wedding party in Yorubaland is not one to joke with, it is far beyond the registry/church/mosque vows and certificates. The subsequent reception is the original wedding and the one to look forward to. Publicity aside, some Yoruba wedding parties can compete with that of royal wedding. Seriously, or what can one say about a party that has an attribute of a carnival? A party that grips the entire neighbourhood with loud music, VIPs, posh cars, the spraying of high denomination notes, plenty to eat & to take away and music from eminent musicians?
Funerals are at the top of ladder, if an elderly person passes on in Yorubaland, especially those with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, oh lord! that is a classic avenue for partying, while others’ own funerals end with people leaning heads on one another shoulder blubbering “oh grandma, oh why grandpa, till we meet to part no more” or when ashes to ashes dust to dust is pronounced and may be followed by a brief reception. In Yorubaland, that would be the beginning of the funeral. Although it depends on the financial circumstance of the family concerned however, it is more of a norm to organise an elaborated party in such a case
Usually, concerned families would have met to discuss the funerals, if the deceased was a Muslim, the burial would be in accordance to Muslim rites and a later date would be chosen for a glamorous funeral party, if they were a Christian, since there is no mandatory burial proceedings, a date may be chosen for proper burial. The date may be few weeks to several months to ensure extensive preparations.
Reminiscing my grandma’s funeral, it was about 10years ago. On seventh day there was ‘ijo mejo’ the seventh day prayer, it was attended by clergies, family and close family friends. Although it was an all round prayer session, there were still songs played and lots of foods to eat, the 41 days prayer session was similar.
Before the actual funeral party took place, a meeting was held to deliberate on money matters, I was present but was quite young to contribute. All I can remember is huge amounts were pledged and on the D-day, cows that were slaughtered were in 2digits, two popular musicians were present, guests were more than a thousand (no exaggeration). A major road was shut and we were there for hours. It was a memorable one. There is nothing unique about it, almost all Yoruba funerals are in that format
A good Yoruba party would have members of the family present including those living abroad, it used to be a case of shutting down an entire road and or adjourning roads, family and friends would usually wear an identical often expensive clothes (Aso-ebi). There would be a significant number of attendees, foods and drinks would be surplus, music would be pleasant often from a popular musician.
The highlight of it is the jaw dropping money spraying part that makes it even more interesting. A Yoruba party would normally have this unique part of spraying money, even the indigent ones do not lag.
An elaborated party will have the celebrant(s) dancing while family and friends spray them with money for a long period of time. The money falls to the feet but picked up by someone else chosen to help pick money from the floor. Any denomination may be sprayed depending on how elaborated the ceremony is, an overly elaborated one sees bundled notes or foreign currencies sprayed by people who want to prove their financial buoyancy and mettle. Spraying does lead to competition sometimes particularly when the musician starts to sing praises of names meaning the more you spray, the more you get praised.
It is not to reckon that Yorubas love to squander money, far from it. It is a simple ideology, I spray money, I get praised and my social status increases or I spray the celebrants so when it is my turn, they spray me too. Another fact is funds spent on parties are indemnified through gifts from friends and well-wishers which usually come in form of premium gifts and from money sprayed.
This culture has come to stay, it is passed down to every generation. That is why anywhere Yorubas are, they get together merrymaking
With all these attributes, no wonder Nigerians were said to be the happiest people on earth, oh my profound apologies! I Meant Yorubas Are The Happiest People On Earth
Source & Written By: : Bola Olalekan