by Tola Adenle
Over a year ago in 234NEXT online edition, a column for readers’ rants had Aso Ebi as subject and got quite many responses. I had two to avoid a long para since bloggers could not paragraph their submissions.
As I sit comfortably in my living room, a cup of green tea in hand, my better half, feet away and my garden visible from where I’m enjoying one of the inserts of London Times of Sunday, April 24, a caller reminded me of where I was supposed to be this Saturday morning. Of course she knew she was just “reminding me” and that the last thing I want to do Saturday mornings is dress up and go to a wedding for people whose parents I hardly know and whose aso ebi about which I was notified through an SMS, I do not have.
Of course I attend – even with pleasure especially the church wedding services – social engagements, even though they are less-than-a-dozen-a-year of close family members and very close friends, and believe me, I even feel teary as a bride who’s a relation or a girl I’ve known since she was a baby is walked in by the father with an accompanying bridal march. I’m not an aso ebi type unless it’s really true to the meaning, that is the real family. I neither give nor receive except within the same very close group above which means I take less than a handful a year. Happily, most of my siblings are like me.
I’ve attended weddings overseas where aso ebi look beautiful, especially when not worn by hundreds of people as in big metro areas in the States. A family group and a sprinkling of a few close friends in the same aso ebi at a wedding of hundreds of guests produces a stunning effect.
My own “rant? I think it’s uncivil, without as much as a phone call, to send multi-SMS messages asking people to deposit thousands of Naira in an account for aso ebi, an SMS that is also supposed to be an “invite”. And from the responses of bloggers to the NEXT essay, it seems aso ebi is a bad habit that could send young people into big debt burdens.
Anyway, this Saturday morning as I luxuriate in the simpler things of life, it occurs to me to share my opinion which is not going to be popular on a Yoruba practice that has now gone viral, infecting all other Nigerian ethnic groups. Why? Most who love the practice profit from it: families of brides and grooms and the merchants, including manufacturers and weavers. The two blogs I submitted to NEXT as well as two responses to my take on the subject are below. You can read the whole essay, “Menace to a wedding party” on line at 234NEXT by Gbonjubola Babalola. Responses by readers on Ms. Babalola’s take are encouraging one of which is shown.
A restful weekend to you all – after the social engagements rounds, of course!
Posted by TOLA ADENLE on Mar 28 2010
It’s nice to hear from young people who seem to have picked this bad habit from the older ones and given it more than a work-out. Aso ebi used to mean just that: clothes worn by RELATIVES to distinguish them mostly at funerals. During one of the weddings for my daughters, I just told my sisters to wear ETU, the black aso oke, because most Yoruba women would own SANYAN, ALAARI and ETU. A hundred thousand in a single year for aso ebi! It is NOT impossible to “clean out the aso ebi menace” as “To Live” thinks. Do not allow anyone to “badger” or “pester” you to make you order aso ebi and it would be easy to refuse to take them. I should know; I’ve given out three girls in marriage (from 1998) and I actually had aso ebi on each of the three occasions – in the true sense of the word. No more than EIGHT people received clothes to which no add-ons were made. Just do your thing and they’ll leave you alone. Yoruba started the proliferation; it will take young people like you to say ‘enough’, not to join the train. I offer you young women this other side to let you know you really do not have to go that route.
Posted by TOLA ADENLE on Mar 28 2010
Continued cause I do not want a big long paragraph to dissuade you from reading. And how can you have time for yourself: to refresh, to sit back and read, to enjoy your spouses and friends if you must attend parties six consecutive weekends? How can you have money to spare for other things you enjoy? Please young ladies, it’s a road you should divert from. If that N100k is disposable income to you cause you earn a lot, take a weekend trip to somewhere. You can even check into a really nice hotel in the same city you live and skip cooking, etcetera. It’s madness and must stop and it’s people like you all here who can and will stop it.
Posted by OmogeNaija, on Apr 28 2010
@Mummy Tola Adenle, I feel you @Reception, you be tortoise lol… Personally, if it’s too expensive, I simply close my eyes, if I have the colour of the gele I don’t buy, let’s face it, (sometimes), buying this thing is waste of money. Apart from using the sales of aso ebi to make profit, there are some occasions that, if u r not on aso ebi, other attendees see you as univited guest, even servers act as if you are not seated, for it not to pain me, I load my stomach before leaving the house phew!