Home Away from Home with Abi Adeboyejo
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @abihafh
I am an advocate of adopting new ideas and traditions if it adds to my quality of life. As a Nigerian living in the UK, I have been exposed to a lot of good and bad traditions and cultural practices. I still cling to my customs and traditions in most cases. In fact, you need a good dose of common sense to realise that not all things foreign is good. Or how can you explain cultural habits that encourage blatant disregard for old people, or modern practices that see rampant fornication from an early age as normal and teaching children as young as seven sex education? One foreign custom that I have adopted is the practice of celebrating events before they actually happen.
Think showers. Not rain or what you have in the bathroom. I mean bridal and baby showers. Although the origin of the custom of throwing bridal showers is varied, it is most popular in the United States of America. A bridal shower is a party held for the bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. It is an opportunity for ladies to shower the bride with gifts and advice on her future role as family cook, mother, homemaker and sexual partner. It can be given a religious twist with advice and prayers on how to be a godly wife. It can be a fun event, with games and activities and lots of food and drink. It is usually hosted by the bride-to-be’s close friends, but anyone, including office colleagues, sisters-in-law and aunts can host a bridal shower.
Bridal showers are fun to organise and I’ve always been very eager to participate in planning and hosting them for friends and relatives getting married. Considering how stressful organising a Nigerian wedding can be, with the traditional introduction and engagement/wedding ceremonies as well as the official ‘white’ church/registry/Nikkai ceremony, it is nice for the bride-to-be to have some time before the wedding when she is pampered and showered with love by her friends. I think it is also a good starting point for a bride-to-be to realise that no two marriages are the same as she gets to listen to different accounts of what makes a good marriage.
I may be biased, but I think it is an excellent practice; one that is worth adopting by women around the world in whatever form or name they wish to call it. Men have bachelor’s eve parties when they get up to all sorts. It is only fair that ladies get an opportunity to have a nice, relaxing house party with other ladies before their whole world changes. I even give people free advice on how to organise bridal showers now, you know, the Nigerian way. I might even start charging for it and make a bit of money on the side.
Baby showers are very similar to bridal showers in that it is for the first time mum-to-be in anticipation of the arrival of her new baby. I suppose this one might be very difficult to sell to Nigerian ladies for many reasons. Firstly, many people are very superstitious about celebrating pregnancies. Some people think that all sorts of evil forces will destroy their pregnancies if they show any elation at being pregnant. My argument against this is that such evil forces can destroy the baby after it is born too, so how come people throw big parties to celebrate the birth of babies?
Secondly, many women have very difficult pregnancies and may not be up to having their friends throw them a baby shower before the baby is born. Their emotions may be all over the place and they may have concerns about the baby’s health since they may not have been able to have ultrasound scans and excellent medical monitoring to reassure them that everything is fine. My argument against this is that a baby shower can be done after the baby is born, but it should not be mistaken for a christening or naming ceremony. Those are done by the baby’s parents. The baby shower is hosted and paid for by the mum’s friends.
Thirdly, some people think that a baby shower is only an opportunity for the mum-to-be to collect gifts for the impending birth. My answer to this is: it is! If you love your friend and she is about to have a baby, what is wrong with having a party for her and getting your other friends to bring gifts, advice on how to cope in the first few months of becoming a mum and prayers for a safe delivery? And if you can get a few older women to attend, like grannies, they’ll put a whole new spin on motherhood and how to get back into shape! Baby showers can also be extremely useful for young couples who may be struggling financially to meet the rising costs of shopping for their first baby.
Of all the little habits and customs I’ve adopted over the years, I think showers are the best. And since it is the start of a new year I’d like to implore all ladies out there to consider hosting a shower for their friends when the occasion arises. Any man who would like a shower for his fiancé or wife should ask her friends to host one for her. He may even contribute some money towards the event.