Cultures and TraditionsSocial History

Owambe: A Glance into Nigeria’s Grand Celebration Culture

Owambe, Nigerian women partying in the 1970s

In the vibrant world of Nigerian festivities, one event stands out for its grandiosity and lively spirit – Owambe! This celebration extravaganza, embraced by Nigerians worldwide, particularly the Yoruba community, is a celebration that transcends borders.

Owambe is more than just a party; it’s a spectacle of epic proportions, where the air is filled with the rhythm of loud music, the aroma of sumptuous food, and the exciting sight of dancing. One unique tradition that sets Owambe apart is “spraying” – a term that encapsulates the act of throwing currency on someone as they dance, adding an extra layer of festivity.


Attendees at Owambe are not just participants; they are organized into groups based on their ‘aso ebi,’ or family wear. These outfits come in varieties of fabrics, colours, and designs, creating a visual feast that adds to the overall splendor of the event. The preparation for Owambe takes weeks, and in some cases, months. Every detail for the D-Day must be carefully arranged in advance, ensuring a seamless celebration.

Owambe’s impact extends beyond the venue, often spilling onto the streets and roads, causing blockades, especially in bustling cities like Lagos and Ibadan. The name “Owambe,” meaning ‘it is there’, originated among the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria, capturing the essence of the event’s presence in the community.

At an Owambe, guests abound, ranging from the formally invited to the spontaneous party crashers known as “Mogbo Moya.” Currency notes become an integral part of the celebration, swirling through the air and sticking to the sweating foreheads of musicians and dancers alike.

Owambe - Nigerian women in the 1970s

For many in the western part of Nigeria, a weekend without Owambe feels incomplete. The event has woven itself into the cultural fabric, becoming more than just a party; it’s a cherished tradition that brings people together in the name of celebration, joy, and the unmistakable spirit of Owambe.

Thanks for reading,

Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (July 6, 2023). Owambe: A Glance into Nigeria’s Grand Celebration Culture. OldNaija. Retrieved from

One Comment

  1. See mamas in actions. Those good days are gone. Well, we can bring them back like you’re(oldnaija) doing.

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