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THE ORIGIN OF OWAMBE

taiwo 2019-09-14 18:21:49 Cultural

The Yorubas from the Western part of Nigeria are described in some old dictionary as the “Merry making people of West Africa”.

They have a rich party culture that is second to none in the world as they celebrate anything from naming ceremonies, birthday parties, weddings, anniversary celebrations, burials, and all.

Owambe is derived from a Yoruba word meaning “it is there”. The word is coined from a Yoruba slang in the 60s currently, Owambe is popularly used to describe lavish parties with colorful outfits called “aso-ebi” ( colorful uniforms) which takes place most times either in the event halls or open fields.

Most of these parties are graced with the presence of a singer or DJ or both as we have in the present day Nigeria to also entertain which also comes with money spraying on either the celebrant or the artist as the case may be.

The word Owambe was a slang in the 60s. The word was made popular by Yoruba Musicians where it is believed that no beautiful Yo



ruba Woman s beauty accessories were complete without the beautiful, well laid waist-beads called “ileke”.

During the usual dance sessions, every young guy looks out to have a feel of these beads around the woman’s waist whenever they danced with them in the party. The moment a guy feels the beads with his hands around the woman’s waist while dancing, he would look in the direction of his fellow men and they ask in unison, “Sowambe?” (Is it there?), his reply of “Owambe” (it is there) means the affirmative while he sadly shakes his head if the said lady is without it.

Owambe in the modern Nigeria is used to describe any grandiose party or ceremonies with the predominant characteristics that there will be a lot of food and drinks to go round for everybody which is thrown anywhere in the world by Nigerians especially the Yorubas.

Culled: ẸniỌbánkẹ́, wikipedia
Photo credit: MC Balloteli

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