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Their big, fat Nigerian ‘do’

‘How I wish they had done it in Dubai, they would have saved us having to watch all this.’ Tahir said in disgust, handing the phone back to me. 

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‘But you were the one who said they deserved to be impeached if they took their children’s wedding to Dubai. What made you change your mind?’ I asked.

‘I didn’t really change my mind Bint, I’m merely saying that rather than make us witness this level of shamelessness, we would have been better off not knowing what trangressions happened abroad.’ He explained.

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And do you think we wouldn’t see these videos if the wedding had happened in the UAE? Have you forgotten that we now live in the digital age where with the touch of a button one can record and download everything on social media? Believe me hubby dearest, even if they were to go to the remotest region of China, we would be able to see it once a single camera was stationed anywhere in sight.’ I replied.

‘You are right Bint, you know us, the analogue generation, we still think distance matters now, though it dies not.’ Tahir answered. ‘Still I wish these couple had staged their shameless show far from our shores. What were they trying to prove? When you first showed me the extravagant wedding gifts, my main fear was the material excesses we would be forced to witness because, like you said, we are dealing with people having the wrong priorities. 

But nothing prepared me for the extent of public show they engaged in. Where were their elders when they were publicly  demonstrating what belongs to the four walls of a bedroom?’ He fumed.

‘Precisely and while I watched all that dancing and smooching, I was forced to remember what that Greek mother advised her daughter in ‘My Big, Fat Greek wedding’, almost two decades ago. She said “We Greek women are like lambs in the kitchen but in the bedroom, we are tigers”. 

Now the keyword here is the bedroom, just like you said, Tahir, some scenes belong in the four walls of that ‘other room’, no matter how much in love a couple thinks it is. But look at these bride and groom, they just couldn’t keep their hands off each other, they were not inhibited by the need for decency or the fact that a wedding is a public affair in which private matters can only be whispered about, if there is absolute need, but not be acted.’ I concluded.

‘Well look at the result, if nothing else, they have garnered for themselves endless condemnation in an occasion in which public blessings are usually sought for.  My biggest fear is that future brides and grooms would foolishly want to emulate this shameless circus because they believe it’s the in-thing.’ Tahir lamented.

 ‘In fairness to them, they are not the first to start this physical excesses at wedding parties. I don’t know whether you’ve seen vidoes of that high society wedding last year, during which the groom was getting so physical with his bride, during a dance, the MC had to remind him to take things slowly because her mother was also in the crowd.’ I recalled.

‘Really Bint, where did that happen?’ Tahir asked in shock. 

‘It’s either here in Abuja or some other Northern city, I can’t be sure now. But the instructive thing is that it’s among our people that such public displays are now becoming common. Before, our brides were properly veiled, and with lowered eyes and decent demeanour, they go through the wedding rituals. In the process, they earn themselves everyone’s admiration and multiple blessings;  but today we have copied traditions that aren’t native to us and are busy trying to outdo each other in shameless displays. What a pity!’ I complained.

‘What a pity indeed. Anyway, we can’t just sit here and keep complaining Bint. We have to find a way to discourage these new, immoral practices and revive the old, bashful ways that made weddings the joyful affairs they once were. We have to make sure we sanitise marriage ceremonies such that we can gladly take little kids along without worrying that we would expose them to something wrong or adultish.’ He suggested. 

‘Well you are right Tahir. The first step is to recruit the ulama, our learned scholars. They have to come out and clearly condemn the excesses being committed in the name of marriages these days. The extravagance and these shows of immodesty must all be stopped. They should campaign for a return to the days of separate celebrations for brides and grooms as a way to safeguard our good cultural and religious values. Most of the bad things we see today happen because of the mingling of the sexes in wedding ceremonies. You remember when we did ours, you had an all-guys walima at that bank’s guest house and I had my all-female walima at my family home and everything went well. The only time we met was after the ‘budar kai’ (bridal handover) at your family home, when your sisters announced that they had organised a dinner for us and wanted my family members to attend. So at night, we all gathered at that Chinese restaurant and it was strictly a family affair, with only my siblings and your siblings and their spouses in attendance. We still have that dinner album and can confidently show it to our children and grandchildren without shame. Today’s parents must be advised to enforce the separation of the sexes and be warned that they earn a commission for every wrongdoing committed during their children’s weddings, this will make them put an end to it, I’m sure.’ I asserted.

‘Yes, I’m sure it will. But we must hope that the ulama will be willing to take the challenge and not be afraid to offend people in authority.’ He observed.

‘Amen to that hubby dearest, amen to this final thought.’ I concurred, patting his hand.

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