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Author: Umar Farook Sharif

DOBALE A YORUBA HERITAGE

Virtually every ethnic group in Nigeria have cultural norms that are passed down from one generation to another. The Yorubas from the South – Western part of Nigeria, are not an exception. They have some unique cultural norms they consider precious and irreplaceable. The ‘dobale’ culture of the Yorubas is one of such practices that is inculcated into the natives even from a very young age.

‘Dobale’ in Yourba language simply means to greet. However, ‘dobale’ as a form of greeting goes beyond words. It goes with the action of prostrating which is to lie face down or lie flat on the floor face down particularly carried out by the male gender. People ‘dobale’ when greeting elders as a sign of respect at home, local town meetings and at ceremonies.

‘Dobale’ is a prominent feature in every Yoruba wedding where the groom and his friends go round to greet elders and family members of the bride as an act of respect and to gain favour before the prospective in-laws.

‘Dobale’ during the Yoruba traditional weddings are usually a lovely sight to behold. It is believed that a Yoruba marriage ceremony is not complete without the groom and his friends carrying out the act of ‘dobale’. It is a requirement that the groom and his friends must doto get the bride’s parents and elders to release their daughter and give their blessings.

‘Dobale’ is a high point of the wedding ceremony as people anxiously wait to see this part of the wedding. Young grooms and their friends have come up with new ways to carry out ‘dobale’ with style to impress their in-laws, the bride and all present. Some choose to lie flat on the floor first and then their friends follow suit, while others choose to fall flat on the floor all at once, at the same time with the friends, making it an interesting sight to behold.

Whichever way a groom chooses to ‘dobale’ before his bride’s family, it is a treasured culture of pride that will remain valuable to the Yoruba people of Nigeria.

Story & Pictures: Hafsat Isah

CLICK NAIJA 2020

‘ABACHA’, AFRICAN SALAD ON THE GO

African salad, also known as ‘abacha’ is made from cassava. It is white in colour and crunchy when chewed. It is usually topped with spiced protein like fried fish, spiced beef or animal skin, known as momo. When dry, Abacha is eaten as a snack with coconuts, roasted groundnuts and cashew nuts. But when it is eaten as a salad the garnishing is taken up a notch with other fresh condiments and vegetables.

Most of the time, it is spiced with pepper sauce, pepper stew, some green leafy vegetables, garden eggs, peppered kpomo (cow skin), fried fresh fish and embellished with shreds of African oil bean, popularly known amongst the Igbos of the Eastern part of Nigeria as ‘ugba’. African Salad is not be complete without ugba. The seeds are cooked for several hours then sliced, washed and left to ferment a little bit. As a matter of fact, the price for a fully garnished plate of African Salad with ugba is higher than the one without ugba.

Abacha, is served in at different occasions including naming ceremonies and even traditional Igbo marriage ceremonies. It can be eaten as a meal or snack. Many people eat it as a meal because it is fills up your stomach just like any other meal and yet leaves you with the after taste of a spicy meal.

Abacha is an easy go-to meal anytime of the day while on the move and it is really affordable.  The easy accessibility of ‘abacha’ makes it convenient and most people would rather buy than go through the stress of making it. You can find Nigerian women hawking Abacha, the relished African Salad, in busy shopping malls, markets and local restaurants and even intercontinental restaurants in Nigeria.

Story: Ehi Ohiani

Pictures: Ene Ken-Yawe

4 Christmas Traditions Amongst Nigerians

Before, during and even after every Christmas celebration, people all over the world observe certain Christmas traditions that contribute to making the season what it is. Though these traditions originate from different parts of the world, in Nigeria, West Africa, people carry out these traditions with all excitement and many, especially the young generation grow to practice them as though they were original to the Nigerian people.

Four Christmas traditions stand out amongst Nigerians which they practice even until the New Year comes.

1. Christmas Trees

In most cities around Nigeria, people mount Christmas Trees in places like offices, churches, homes and public places. They are colorful and beautifully adorned with ornaments and sparkling bright lights. Christmas trees add colour to the environment and create a mystical and celebratory atmosphere likened to the mood described in the Bible when Jesus was born over 2000 years ago.

History has it that Christians were not the first to celebrate the festive season with trees. Historians trace celebration of trees to pagans in ancient Egypt and Rome who used trees to usher in winter festivals. They believed that the trees could ward off evil spirits. The first recorded Christmas tree was in 1576 which can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, Alsace which was then part of Germany but today France.

2. Christmas Cards

The exchange of Christmas cards used to be a huge tradition amongst Nigerians up until the turn of the 21st century when new technologies in telecommunications began to gain prominence and people began to use virtual cards. However people still send cards to friends and loved ones to wish them well and express their love.  

The birth of this Christmas tradition was began in Britain in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole who had the idea and his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. Together they designed the first card and went on to print about 1000 more which were sold for 1 shilling each.

3. Santa Claus

Santa Claus, known as Father Christmas, especially amongst children in Nigeria, is believed to have really existed many years ago. He is a character who is thought to deliver presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve. In Nigeria parents take their children out during the Christmas season to visit Father Christmas and pay a token to get some of Santa’s special gifts.

Santa Claus is actually a fictional character and the modern day Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas who was a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra.

4. Boxing Day

In Nigeria, like most parts of the world, Boxing Day is a holiday which is celebrated the day after Christmas on 26 December. However lovers of the boxing game have taken advantage to the day for the thrills of watching their favourite sport ‘boxing’, while others continue their Christmas celebrations by visiting friends and family. A lot of sporting federations and organisations have taken Boxing Day literally as a day to organise major boxing title matches.

Boxing Day was started in Britain about 800 years ago, when the collection boxes for the poor, commonly known as ‘alms box’, often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. It is also seen as a day for giving gifts in boxes.

Story & Pictures – Ihuoma Ukeje

Before, during and even after every Christmas celebration, people all over the world observe certain Christmas traditions that contribute to making the season what it is. Though these traditions originate from different parts of the world, in Nigeria, West Africa, people carry out these traditions with all excitement and many, especially the young generation grow to practice them as though they were original to the Nigerian people.

Four Christmas traditions stand out amongst Nigerians which they practice even until the New Year comes.

1. Christmas Trees

In most cities around Nigeria, people mount Christmas Trees in places like offices, churches, homes and public places. They are colorful and beautifully adorned with ornaments and sparkling bright lights. Christmas trees add colour to the environment and create a mystical and celebratory atmosphere likened to the mood described in the Bible when Jesus was born over 2000 years ago.

History has it that Christians were not the first to celebrate the festive season with trees. Historians trace celebration of trees to pagans in ancient Egypt and Rome who used trees to usher in winter festivals. They believed that the trees could ward off evil spirits. The first recorded Christmas tree was in 1576 which can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, Alsace which was then part of Germany but today France.

2. Christmas Cards

The exchange of Christmas cards used to be a huge tradition amongst Nigerians up until the turn of the 21st century when new technologies in telecommunications began to gain prominence and people began to use virtual cards. However people still send cards to friends and loved ones to wish them well and express their love.  

The birth of this Christmas tradition was began in Britain in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole who had the idea and his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. Together they designed the first card and went on to print about 1000 more which were sold for 1 shilling each.

3. Santa Claus

Santa Claus, known as Father Christmas, especially amongst children in Nigeria, is believed to have really existed many years ago. He is a character who is thought to deliver presents to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve. In Nigeria parents take their children out during the Christmas season to visit Father Christmas and pay a token to get some of Santa’s special gifts.

Santa Claus is actually a fictional character and the modern day Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas who was a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra.

4. Boxing Day

In Nigeria, like most parts of the world, Boxing Day is a holiday which is celebrated the day after Christmas on 26 December. However lovers of the boxing game have taken advantage to the day for the thrills of watching their favourite sport ‘boxing’, while others continue their Christmas celebrations by visiting friends and family. A lot of sporting federations and organisations have taken Boxing Day literally as a day to organise major boxing title matches.

Boxing Day was started in Britain about 800 years ago, when the collection boxes for the poor, commonly known as ‘alms box’, often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. It is also seen as a day for giving gifts in boxes.

Story & Pictures – Ihuoma Ukeje

SANITIZERS, FACE MASKS: NEW TRADE COMMODITIES IN ABUJA

Most markets in the Abuja metropolis are quite segmented with clear-cut demarcations to show customers the sections to get their required products and services.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus spreading to the major cities in Nigeria, market traders have employed strategy and creativity in their businesses by delving into new products that suit the demand of the time.

Hand sanitizers and face masks on display by traders in Garki Market Abuja

Some of such commodities which are now in high demand by most residents are hand sanitizers, face masks, hand gloves, and water dispensing buckets. A walk around Garki Market Abuja shows that these items have become commodities to sell by many who own shops in the market and even those ready to hawk them along the way. They have made a quick investment in the products and fast-selling them as well.

Hand sanitizers are seen displayed by traders of foodstuff, cosmetics, provisions, and even beverages. Many display them side by side their other items of trade. These items are sold by traders who have no idea of the content of the products except the fact that they will make a profit from them.

Traders in Garki Market Abuja, displaying their hand sanitizer and face masks stands

The traders happily display the hand sanitizers and face masks and even take a pose beside their items. Though many of them have obviously ventured into it for the quick financial benefit they will get within the time of pressing demand, they have somehow helped to fill the void of unavailability of these essential products in the face of a national health crisis.

Story: Ehizogie Ohiani

Pictures: Asmau Sani

CLICK NAIJA 2020

PROPER USE OF FACE MASKS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST COVID-19

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many Nigerians are finding ways to protect themselves from the virus. One of the measures people have adopted is the use of face masks. Various types of face masks are seen on people around Abuja town and some persons wear them with little or no knowledge about the type of mask they are using or even how to use them.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) it is not necessary for people without symptoms to wear masks unless you are told to by the local Authorities; you are in a high-risk area such as a hospital; or you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection, or you are in any form of contact with a person who has been around an infected person.

  Therefore, If you must use a mask, for any of the above reasons, you need to observe the following;

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water or rub your hands with an alcohol based sanitizer before putting on a face mask.
  • Use an N95 mask or FFP2/FFP3, which is recommended over a standard surgical mask.
N95 & FFP2/FFP3 Masks
  • Ensure that the mask fits securely over the bridge of the nose and chin, minimizing gaps in the fit.
  • Ensure that facial hair is kept clean or removed.
  • Do not touch face masks while using it.
  • Do not reuse your disposable face mask after one use.
  • Remove your face mask from behind; do not touch the front of the mask, use the bands or straps.
  • Dispose your face mask, immediately you take it off, in a closed bin.
  • Don’t forget that masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based sanitizers or soap and running water.
  • Cotton/gauze masks and using of other materials to cover face against COVID-19 are not recommended under any circumstances.

Remember that use of a mask is only one part of personal protection. Not touching your nose, eyes and mouth and regular hand cleaning with alcohol based sanitizers or soap and running water are strongly recommended.

While the world is yet to find a cure to the Corona Virus Pandemic, Stay Home and Stay Safe!

Story & Pictures: Asma’u Sani

CLICK NAIJA 2020

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