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Traditions

Things We Love (and hate) About Nigeria 

So we just celebrated our 57th year post-Independence from the British crown. In all sincerity, there is nothing to celebrate about Nigeria.

But we can celebrate MI, cos if this ain’t being Nigerian, I dunno what is!!! This is the Nigerian humour they warned you about!

I am writing this post from a hospital shed, sipping from a #100 bottle of coke and trying to tame my anger.  All students who are heading to the Nigeria Law School are usually made to run some medical tests. I begin Law school in few weeks (AFTER WAITING FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR – another reason why Nigeria is not worth celebrating). I have not had time to do mine up until today. This morning, I woke up early, got dressed and began my journey to the UNIVERSITY OF PORTHARCOURT TEACHING HOSPITAL. Lo and Behold, THEY WERE ON STRIKE! I was directed to go to BMH, the State Government’s Hospital; on getting there, I was told they were on strike too!!!! Can you believe that? Note that these two hospitals are on extreme ends. I literally had to do 360degrees turn under the hot sun. 

How does one celebrate a country that stresses you mentally? That literally makes you want to slide down a wall?

But we Nigerians have this suffering and smiling attitude. And so we always celebrate admist lack, poverty, sorrow and anguish. It is always in the little things. And these are some of the reasons we love NIGERIA: 

1) Small Chops:

I really do not know how small chops became part of our national identity. For me, my romance with small chops started this year. 

My hands. Holding one of the numerous plates of small chops I ate earlier this year

I interned at Ernst & Young Nigeria for nine months and I can’t count how many times I ate small chops. It was shared during birthdays, general meetings, thanksgiving sections etc. I was always looking forward to small chops.

In Nigeria, smallchops are what our abroad friends may call finger foods. A plate of small chops contains the following; Battered Fish, Mini Sausage Rolls, Snails, Peppered Gizzards, Barbecued Goat Meats (Asun), Puff Puffs and even some imported world recipes can be seen; Samosa and Spring Rolls.

So Yes! #TeamSmallChops

2) Ankara and Danshiki:

Sisters and I rocking the Danshiki

I never used to be crazy about ankara until I met CHINELO NWANGWU. I used to call it “Traditional”, but after many years of living in Ibadan and mixing up, ANKARA became a fav!!!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie rocking this beautiful ANKARA
I got this beautiful piece from BALOGUN MARKET, Lagos. And incase you are wondering, I took this picture at the NIKE ART GALLERY!!! Every Nigerian has to visit this place.

3) Nigerian Memes and Sense of Humour:

I will just go ahead and explain this with some screenshots.

Even brands are not left out of this

Follow Instagram handles like Urbanyoobakrakstv for more!!!

4) Aba Made: The creativity and skill here is so raw. If only the government would move a quarter of its attention towards Aba. I still have a slippers I bought for #500 with a strong label – AZONTO!!! Meanwhile, the footwear I bought from the MAX store at IBADAN MALL has since been dead and buried. #BuyAba #BuyNairatogrowtheNaira

5) LAGOS TRAFFIC: You have to experience it! 

6) BOLE: I am forever loyal to BOLE. The one eaten in the Eastern and Southern part of Nigeria. I am not loyal to Boli, the one eaten in the Western part of Nigeria. It is very easy for a BOLIST to fall for BOLE. Most BLOEIST like me find it difficult falling for the BOLI. You get my drift? I think it is very insulting to even place both of them on the same pedestal. Loool! Like, who eats roasted plaintain with groundnuts biko? 

Plantain with groundnut, BOLI, above, is eaten in the West. The delicious meal below, is BOLE, eaten in the South.

In the South-West, boli is eaten like a snack but in the South-South it is A FULL MEAL, a balanced diet eaten with roasted yam, roasted fish, sauce and vegetables. 

Truth is, there is so much to love about Nigeria!!! So much!!! Our joy is contagious. Our diversity is amazing, we find ourselves everyday. We have a rich blend of culture. Religion – we love God so much! Is it our close-knit family members? Or the ability of Nigerians to price every single thing in the market? Is it Mama Put? (Shout to MAMA TEE – Balogun market. I mean, who 17th floor epp), JOLLOF RICE, WHITE RICE, DODO!!! 

Our BELLANAIJAWEDDINGS page on Instagram would make you want to get married ASAP!!!

We owe it to ourselves to make our immediate environment better. We can begin by shinning positive lights in our schools, work places, churches, places of worship.

The government has since failed us. There is no electricity, our educational system is epileptic etc etc. 

It is our collective responsibility to make the next 57 years count. We owe it to ourselves and to our children, even those yet unborn.

I mean, at the end of the day, you can’t blame a brother for wanting to have a healthy long distance relationship with Nigeria. Can ya?

Love and Light!

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TRIBAL MARKS : FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE?

Yesterday I had a Law of contract class,while I was trying to concentrate and listen to the lecture my mind drifted and all I could think about was the Tribal Mark on my Lecturers face. Now this woman has been teaching me since last year but I think I became interested yesterday. Still looking at her , I couldn’t help but notice she had three marks on each cheek. And as a result of my wandering thoughts I had to post something on it.
I see so many people with this “annoying” mark and I’m like “Who did this to them” .

Foreigners reading my post will ask “What is a Tribal Mark?”
Tribal Marks are an age-long art common to the Western part of Nigeria. The Egba, Nupe, Ilaje and other yoruba tribes commonly use these marks as a form of design, protection and beautification. With the help of sharp objects, flesh is cut from the skin to create a gash, which later heals and leaves a permanent mark on the body. An individual’s tribe or family typically dictates the pattern in which tribal marks are inscribed on their face, stomach and legs.

**The practice of Scarification dates back to Ancient Egypt and is now wide spread in Africa , but I’ll focus on the Western Region of Nigeria, because that was were I saw my Contract Lecturer**

How Tribal Marks Came To Be Used :

A CERTAIN King named Sango sent two slaves to a distant country on an important mission.

 In due course they returned, and he found that one slave had achieved successfully what he had been sent to do, while the other had accomplished nothing. The King therefore rewarded the first with high honours, and commanded the second to receive a hundred and twenty-two razor cuts all over his body.

 This was a severe punishment, but when the scars healed, they gave to the slave a very remarkable appearance, which greatly took the fancy of the King’s wives.

 Sango therefore decided that cuts should in future be given, not as punishment, but as a sign of royalty, and he placed himself at once in the hands of the markers. However, he could only bear two cuts, and so from that day two cuts on the arm have been the sign of royalty, and various other cuts came to be the marks of different tribes.

Now that we know the history of this, I’ll like to say this : I DON’T LIKE IT. Most times you see a very beautiful lady and next thing you see are deadly tribal marks … Unfortunately, nothing can be done to remove them. While surfing the net, I came across a popular Nigeria Website and this woman was really complaining about the marks on her face. She was actually looking for a solution. Her Grandfather gave her the mark when she was a kid.
You see, in the olden days when a child was born, the proud father will want the child to be given tribal marks as a way of expressing that he is a legitimate child of the father and as a way of identifying the ethnic group.
This tradition used to be really adored and recognised but nobody wants it no more.
Why would someone want to endure such pain?! #HIAN…
Now don’t get me wrong y’all.. I know this Marks are part of the culture, heritage, beauty of the yoruba people – BUT IT IS FAR FROM ATTRACTIVE .
I’m so glad I don’t see them on the faces of young people.
I’m just stating my opinion, there are so many ways we could preserve our culture and traditions. Drawing lines on the face isn’t the way forward.

Now you’ve read…what do you think about TRIBAL MARKS?

THE WEIGHT OF TRADITIONS

Here’s an interesting info-pic about different traditions celebrated by varying cultures around the world at Christmas… culled from : TheWannabeSaint.com.

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Let me talk about Christmas in my Country. Christmas in Nigeria is a family event, a time when lots of family members come together to celebrate and have fun. Most families, that live in cities, travel to the villages where their grandparents and older relatives live, especially those from the EAST, like me – the Igbos. it is always like an EXODUS. LOL!

Many different languages are spoken in Nigeria. In Hausa Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘barka dà Kirsìmatì’; in Yoruba it’s ‘E ku odun, e ku iye’dun’; in Fulani it’s ‘Jabbama be salla Kirismati’; in Igbo (Ibo) ‘E keresimesi Oma’ and it’s Edo it’s ‘Iselogbe’. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

Many families will throw Christmas parties that will last all night long on Christmas Eve! Then, on Christmas Morning, they go to church to give thanks to God. Homes and streets are often decorated. Most homes will have an artificial Christmas tree.

Children love to play with firecrackers at Christmas. The church choir may visit the church congregation in their homes to sing Christmas carols to them. Christmas cards are sent to friends and family members. Presents are exchanged amongst family members and some families may take their children dressed in new outfits to see Santa Claus or FATHER CHRISTMAS.

In addition to serving turkey, a traditional Christmas meal in Nigeria may include beef, goat, sheep, ram or chicken. Other dishes might included pounded yam, jollof rice, fried rice, vegetable salad and some type of stew, LOTS OF RICE!

Traditions can be wonderful but they can also bring the heaviness of the past and a longing to live there. 

I recently finished my Christmas day calls & texts to family and friends. Some are doing well and others have had a rough 2013. Family members and friends separated by varying circumstances, including death, traditions once highly valued now gone, have a way of making this day dreadful instead of joyful. I spoke to someone this morning who began to cry while saying she would “be alright in a little bit.” I told her not to make this day anything other than what it was, a hard one, and if the mourning of what has been is needed to get to what is and what will be, then embrace this season of change. 

Traditions are wonderful and should be cherished but when they change or cease, as all things do, maybe the gifts of acceptance and letting go is what we need to unwrap this year.

HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS BUDDIES. JESUS IS ALWAYS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON…

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