Celebrations in Nigeria: Weddings + Birthdays

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The head tie is called the Gele

Nigerians definitely know how to turn up. Weddings, Birthdays and even funerals (when older people transition) are a celebration of life. Different regions celebrate differently. I can only tell you how celebrations are in the Southwestern region of Nigeria since that’s where I was born & raised.

Aso Ebi:

Aso means clothes. Ebi means family in Yoruba Language. So Aso Ebi is literally family clothes. Aso Ebi is when family and close friends of the celebrant wears the same fabric. The celebrant chooses the Aso Ebi which includes the fabric and fila (for males) and gele (for women).


The Fila and Gele are made from different fabric than the clothes itself. The fila/gele is for the head. If interested, you purchase the Aso Ebi from the celebrant, take it to the tailor to have it sewn then turn up at the event.

For younger women, the fabric is used to sew any style your soul desires. Older women usually sew something called ‘Iro and Buba‘ (Blouse and wrap around your waist down to your ankle).

Men sew a fitted waist long shirt with long trousers/pants. Older men are usually seen with an ‘Agbada‘. I can’t explain this – I will let the pictures show you :).


Click here to watch ‘Spraying’ in action – https://youtu.be/ev71PTcAHQY

Party Food:

Nigerians like to eat so a typical party with have all sorts of food from ‘Party Jollof Rice’, Small Chops (finger food), Chinese food, traditional Nigerian foods and so on.


Typically, a live band according to the celebrant’s taste is present. For younger celebrant, a DJ is also there for when the life band is done. This means that the party might not end until the next day 😊.


The celebrant and others usually pass out gifts to thank people for coming. These are called souvenirs.


The flowing white embroidery caftan like clothing is the Agbada


Spraying is the act of literally spraying money on the celebrant, life band musician as the dance.

So in Nov 2018, I went home to Lagos for two celebrations – my cousin’s wedding + my Dad’s (and his twin) 70th Birthday.

Both events were lit 🔥 It was great seeing family.


Younger men typically go without the Agbada and simply rock this. On his head is the fila.



About The Adventures of a Nigerian-American

I love to experience new cultures and explore the world. My family calls me ‘Ajala the Traveler’. Ajala is a Nigerian who lived in the 1950s. It is said that Ajala loved to travel and has visited all the countries in the world. Several legend and myths have been woven around his personality and travels. It is also claimed he traveled using a scooter, a truck and on foot. He rose to fame when a song was written in his honor by a Nigerian musician. The song begins “Ajala travels all over the world…” Well, am not Ajala nor have I traveled as much as he did but I do LOVE to travel. At every opportunity I get, I never hesitate to hop on a plane or international bus. As of June 2022, I have been to 71 countries . When I'm not traveling, I teach, go on long walks and read a book.

Posted on December 26, 2018, in Nigeria, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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