Nigerian Functions (Part 1)

Posted by keayo on Jun 26, 2010 in Naija
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In pretty much any culture, accomplishments like birthdays, graduations, and weddings are cause for celebration. These celebrations involve people, music, food and gifts but there are certain signs that will let you know that you’ve just walked into a Nigerian function.

DJ Setup

DJ & MC Setting Up

Now let’s assume that this celebration starts at 5:00 P.M., if you are Nigerian or read the Being Late post, then you know 8:30 P.M. is around the time showers are being taken. This is understandable, people have been talking about this party for months, but we all have things to do. While folks shower up, let’s see what’s going on at the party. Since it’s around 8 the DJ has just finish setting up his equipment in the furthest corner of the hall.

On the opposite wall furthest from the DJ, several mothers are setting up three or four long serving tables and stacking it with aluminum foil containers. These foil containers are filled with different foods; two or three different types of rice to choose from (jollof), puff puff, moi moi still wrapped in the foil it was boiled in, goat meat, fried plantain, five sticks of suya (that ALWAYS run out), scotch eggs, and salaad (which consists of iceberg lettuce and the best and only dressing known to Nigerians: ranch. Some of these things are also served in the large pot they were cooked in (like stock fish or peppa soup). Oh yea, and on the very last table there will be a box of pizza for the kids along with some desserts.  Around this area you will find large trash cans filled with ice and deep in the ice water are bottles of Malt, Coke, Guinness, Heineken, other hot drinks and right next to the bottles of Stout will be packs of Hawaiian punch, Sunkist, and bottled water. (Hold tight children, later tonight your uncles will have you elbow deep in this trash can full of ice, grabbing alcoholic beverages.)

Chin Chin

Chin Chin

Let’s not forget about the snacks, if we move to the main floor, you will see round tables covered with white plastic table cloths and in the middle of each table will be a program and plate of chin chin which will be dished out by the kids while the mothers are setting up the long table. A trick for snacks, boil roasted peanuts still in their shell in water and serve them on each table, you can tell people they are organic peanuts from Nigeria. Folded on the table will be a program that will include these must haves (Introduction of MC, Opening Prayer, Intro of all 50+ High Table Guests, Presentation of Kola Nut, 1 am dinner, and DANCE DANCE DANCE!!!)

Towards the front of the room there will be a “High Table” for the elders and/or guest of honor (they also have not yet arrived). Anyway, this table includes a plate of kola nut that will be broken later, some flowers or roses, and glasses for champagne and palm wine.

The middle of the room is cleared for dancing and there will be a table nearby used to count money collected from the dance floor (we will revisit this later). Always a good idea that the host of the party has someone has alot of One Dollar Bills to give people that only have 20s and 10s, and plenty of plastic grocery bags and boxes to forcefully demand and don on children to collect the rain throughout the night.

Naija Cooler

This is before all the ice and water is added.

Now it’s about 9 o’clock and the MC is arriving right on schedule. You never know how he will look when he arrives. Some have on traditional wear, but if this is a graduation party, he most likely wants to relate to the younger audience so he has on his basketball hat that was purchased from Wal-Mart 10 minutes prior, a black t-shirt with FUBU across the middle, khaki shorts, and of course cotton black socks to match the shirt and sillpass. The MC talks in the microphone throughout the function about what’s happening next while attempting to keep everyone entertained. Now that he’s arrived he picks up the party program so that he can study and prepare what he is going to say. The MC knows that he needs to say UHHHHHHH at least 72 times and other fillers that he can repeat over and over again like ‘this is a joyess occasion’ (and when they say joy-ess they mean joyous).

Empty Floor

Hmm, 9 O'Clock......Where is everybody?

Maybe you are not familiar with Nigerian society and got to the function at the time stated on the flyer. For that I apologize, because I know as soon as you walked in you were confused and probably thought you were in the wrong building because no one was there yet. Well at least no Nigerians have, their may be some white and asian families looking wide eyed/lost/confused as well. Just be patient, you are in the right place and you’ll start to have fun in a few hours (but not before you’re forced to help set-up the tables and chairs).

Stay tuned for the next post about functions because this is just Part 1 of Nigerian Functions. The party hasn’t even started yet.

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