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Monday, March 21, 2011

Nigerian Celebrations - The Money Spraying

I went to a 50th birthday party on Saturday of a family friend. The entire ceremony was very well executed; from the venue, staff and decorations, to the food service, live music and dancing after. I just loved the speeches on behalf of the celebrant! A lovely Christ-centered family indeed.

Now in the West African culture, Nigerian specifically, at celebrations, you will see people "spraying" the celebrants. Meaning, they will place several dollar bills on the celebrant, and their family, while they are dancing, usually to the tunes of a live band.
Taken by Sade O. | Tayo's wedding


The younger relatives or friends help collect the money that has fallen to the floor. Meanwhile, a close friend or relative sits near the dance floor to count and change money received from those gathering the money that has been sprayed. Party attendees will bring their larger bills ($20, $50, $100) to change them for 1$ bills so that they can spray the celebrant for a longer duration, as they dance with them. Some prepared party attendees have previously changed their money to one dollar bills in anticipation of this portion of the program.

Taken by Sade O. | Tayo's wedding


At wedding celebrations, the band leader will also call the surnames of families that are also in attendance to celebrate with the couple, one at a time, to the front-center of the dance floor. The family gets sprayed and they also spray money. Moreover, the band also gets sprayed. Anyone in their twenties or younger, has the potential to leave the party in a better financial state than they were in when they arrived just by dancing.

Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Yoruba-Igbo) wedding - Amarachi & Segun

The more you dance the more you get sprayed, by your aunty's and uncles. (refer to a previous post -- almost everyone is an aunty, uncle, or big mommy, and so forth)


However, at this party in particular, the emcee was told to announce at the end of the program, yet prior to dancing, that "the celebrants have asked that we do not spray them."

My grandmother gave a Nigerian fist pump followed by an "enh-hehn." She was very pleased with this announcement, as she is not an advocate of this practice of the culture. My mother is also not a fan of the money spraying based on some of our conversations. My grandmother noted the next day that soon after the announcement was made, the pastors then proceeded to dance with the celebrants. I gather this is generally not the case in the event that money is being sprayed.


So, I want to know your thoughts: 
how do you feel about "the money spraying" at celebrations?


Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Rivers State - Ikwerre) graduation party - Judith & Jessica  




Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Rivers State - Ikwerre) graduation party - Judith & Jessica


Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Yoruba-Igbo) wedding - Amarachi & Segun


Chuckstr Photography | Nigerian (Yoruba-Igbo) wedding - Amarachi & Segun


6 comments:

  1. I think originally, "money-spraying" at celebrations was a way to kinda "shower" the celebrants. The same way as one would put money in an envelope and give it to someone as a gift. However, "spraying" them draws attention to the celebrants. Whatever the celebrants are celebrating is about them and so...showering them with money is a way of celebrating with them.

    I admit, "money-spraying" nowadays has turned into some sort of competition among "religious" party-goers. People thrive on outshining others. Some don't even put the money on the celebrant(s)' head, they just throw it. I mean, they literally throw stacks of cash in the air. I honestly dislike when people do that. I think it is disrespectful, particularly because it is done in a prideful/arrogant manner.

    Overall, I think "money-sprayiing" makes our culture unique. It is something that we have been doing for a long time. I personally, don't have a problem with this tradition, and I intend on keeping it.

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  2. I believe "money spraying" at celebrations is just another attribute of the culture -like its many languages and attires- that makes it what it is.

    How members of the culture choose to celebrate this "money spraying" attribute of the culture is very open ended. Meaning, conservative "sprayers" and (to borrow Lola's term) "arrogant" sprayers really just celebrate this cultural attribute using methods they probably swear is most appropriate.

    Personally, I don't subscribe to either method of "spraying". I usually just keep all my money in the bank :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is nothing wrong with this practice its quit normal and exists not just in Yoruba culture but also in other East and Southern European cultures as well as in the Middle East. For example it’s a significant part of Greeks and Assyrians wedding ceremonies. Where money is sprayed and also pined to the brides wedding gown. We shares this exuberant tradition the same way we share other positive values and norms that define us as a people. It’s really no different from the same disapproval of a similar tradition of having all night parties till 5am or Christians who enjoy a drink. The Yoruba’s have always been a very flamboyant people as seen in our Art Language and Poetry. The increased disapproval of this practice in recent years stems from a variety of factors: The overly competitive trend in Nigerian circles in an attempt to keep up with the Jones, The increased disparity between the rich and poor and the disappearance of (the middle class in Nigeria), Safety concerns that stem from the criminality of a disenfranchised and marginalized group(who are the majority), The explosion of an ultra conservative Christian doctrine. And the list goes on in my view it’s not that spraying is bad it’s what our society has become that should be the concern.

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  4. I believe everyone, regardless of cultural background, likes the idea of being showered with money just as Alex said, Nigerians just take it to the next level literally. I'm personally not against the practice as long as the intentions are good and all about the celebrant(s). Some celebrants actually expect to be sprayed and may get disappointed if they are deprived of, what has become, a critical part of a traditional Nigerian party. So every now and then, even when I initially intended not to partake in that part of the party, I conform to the norm and find myself among the people changing their money at the party to get in on the fun of it.
    And as we'll all agree, nobody likes it when it is done to show off and doing so takes all the fun out of it for the celebrant(s) and audience.

    ReplyDelete
  5. naija with their spraying

    God bless
    http://ajetun.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quite a unique way! It was interesting post for me as knew nothing about Nigerian celebrations. However, soon will be attending a Nigerian wedding of a colleague at local LA venues and reading about their traditions.

    ReplyDelete

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