I stumbled on the following post on Facebook:
“Wedding in England:
Present at the church: 60
Present at the reception: 58
Objects missing: 0
Wedding in America
Present at the church: 80
Present at the reception: 70
Missing objects: 0
Wedding in Nigeria
Present at the church: 65
Present at the reception: 1348
Delivered dishes: 1500
Missing items: 43 phones,
324 spoons, 10 cake knives, one photographer’s camera, remaining gifts, three decoration curtains.
Kidnapped: Two guests.
Girlfriend gone with another guest. Man looking for girlfriend. Lady looking for boyfriend.
Four guests fighting, 50 chairs and five tables broken, groom’s mother slaps bride.
What is actually wrong with Nigerians?”
Planning does not appear to be a Nigerian thing, especially when it involves ceremonies like weddings, burials, anniversaries, house opening/warming, etc. It’s a cumbersome list.
Celebrations are a life on their own. They come in different shades and forms. Some are big but inexpensive, while some are small but very expensive. Their build-up could either be nerve-wracking or enjoyable. It depends. You seemingly never know unless you set out to be frustrated.
Most of the time, these ceremonies assume a life of their own, leaving you lost in the middle or at the edge with no rail or hold. Nigerians can relate better than any other national.
Small wonder the emergence of event planners. But you know the stuff one is made of when the event evolves. Check Wedding Party, a 2016 Nigerian romantic comedy drama film directed by Kemi Adetiba.
My extended family members have had cause to celebrate weddings and birthdays, and all we did was to guesstimate the number of guests that would turn up. In Nigeria, you never know. There are those who just turn up uninvited, the ‘mo-gbo-mo-ya’ clan, as well as those who would show up with friends. Some would not mind inviting their entire neighbourhood on your behalf. And be ready for some stinging blackmail should you give a frown. You’re expected to just, at worst, ‘pretend’ to lap it all up, even if you sulk later. They don’t give a hoot.
Never run out of foods and drinks before? Gifts would not even go round despite an earlier pile projected to go round. And there are no answers to questions of where or what?
It is no one’s business if you have a budget to run. You dare not talk.
A friend told me many years ago that people, mostly in the villages, were happy whenever someone died because it would involve cooking of different meals for different people who must come around.
I will bury my father in some weeks to come and am been inundated with different stories. For some, it’s a festival. I have witnessed a few and can relate the expectations.
Back in the university, we would contribute N200 just to attend a burial ceremony of either a colleague or their relation. Some would drink to stupor and others would eat gluttons. We loved it because it was another time or day we would not bother about cooking or visiting the cafeteria.
I remember saying to someone some years back that I would only print a maximum of 70 invitation cards for my wedding, split it in two – one for me, the other for #MyDearestWife – one card per head. In that case, I can plan and manage the event well. The person told me outright, “Guy e no go work.” Thinking deeply, I remembered my eldest sister who is literally a ‘crowd puller’ and would not mind staying back, if she won’t have her people around if she has to. Another person had asked, “Na because of money?”
This is Nigeria, where changing a tyre of your car would get reactions say things like, “Oga, we go wash am o”, “Oga one bottle to wash am na.”
Everything calls for celebration, you hear; but while it veils our inner troubles, it also disrobes our inhumanity. Wait till you bounce an uninvited guest from your event, then you will understand how virtuous niceness is.
One other thing is the introduction of RSVP in our invitation cards in these parts. How? We need to get the first person who used it in Nigeria to know what he intended to achieve. Most of the time, it has been misused, misrepresented.
It is a French term, répondez s’il vous plaît, quite going out of use today, which simply means, “respond if you please” or “please respond”. But it has gained notoriety here to mean, “Rice and Stew Very Plenty”. In some other ways, some people deploy it to promote the ‘heavy weights’ behind their celebrations or just to show off. So, you get to see names with titles, prominent members of society or people perceived to on the higher rung of the social ladder.
When all is said and done, the cost of ceremonies here is outrageous most of the time.
A lot of young people are now avoiding that stroll down the aisle because of the cost. Many would save for many months or years to fund a three-day event: introduction, engagement and church/mosque wedding.
We need to begin in earnest to rethink the way we do a lot of things around here. A lot of the things we call traditions – that’s the way it is done and thunder will fire anyone who wants to change them – are just societal bands that people in the days of yore came up with to guide their engagements.
As is written in the holy book, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” So, traditions are made for man not man for traditions. Man should not be bound by what is not working. A lot can and should be changed.
The days of handing a suitor a list that totals the entire school fees of the would-be bride should be behind us. So many inanities should be done away with. The things that are expedient should be prioritised over others, while those that shouldn’t make the list should be expunged.
Continuing along these paths will only continue to prod young people into living and leading fake lives with everything on “audio.”
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