If for nothing, Nigerians are known for their flamboyance and spraying money on celebrants in parties is one way of showing off their opulence. With Nigerians situated across Africa and the world, this practice has become more of a norm (among cultures that can tolerate it) and have gained a great deal of popularity. But, we already knew that!
What is oblivious to most is where, indeed, the practice originated from. I’ll give you a few ideas. What we know today as money spraying can be attributed to earlier foreign traditions that are similar in nature. A few names resonate as follows: the “Money Dance, Apron Dance, Bridal Dance, or Dollar Dance”. All over the world, this practice was common and still is.
It is difficult to credit the origin of this dance tradition, however, Poland comes really close according to research . In the early 1900s, wedding guests – both male and female – who wishes 1 to dance with either the bride or groom must take permission and pay for the privilege. During that time, only female guests danced with the groom and only male guests danced with the bride and they would have to form a queue and wait their turn. Interestingly, permission to
dance to with the groom was obtained from the bride and vice versa, while the maid of honor and best man were charged with collecting these payments respectively. In addition to Poland, this dance is commonly practiced, with slight differences, in Ukraine, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and most Slavic countries.
Apart from the money dance, “money-pinning” to the clothes of the couple (especially the bride) is another popular practice in the countries mentioned above. In the Philippines, the money dance is not as popular as “money-pinning”. While the couple dances, money is pinned, taped, and/or wrapped on their clothes.
These practices are widely accepted, not merely on the basis of fun, but because of what it signified – financial support to the couple. Thus, it is expected of guests to make a generous payment while obtaining permission for the dance. Then, it will be at the couple’s discretion to either spend the money garnered from guests on their honeymoon, set up their new home, or invest it in their future.
While these traditions involved a stylish transfer of money to celebrants of a special occasion, it doesn’t come too close to the Nigerian version of money-spraying. So, how did Nigerians imbibe this tradition of spraying money in parties?
Let’s back it up to the oil boom years the country enjoyed after independence.
Nigeria witnessed a time of great abundance, where oil profits were through the roof. That, combined with other progress markers such as infrastructural development and a thriving agricultural sector, Nigerian citizens had more than enough with not enough to spend on.
Obviously, you can count on Nigerians to be extravagant in the display of their wealth and social status. So, during this time, Nigerians would travel back and forth to Europe for business and pleasure, most times, just to shop. Most Nigerians imported household items, including marble from Italy for home decorative purposes. And of course, in the midst of all these happenings, money-spraying became the “thing”.
Now, with regimes coming and going, democracy, etc., the country has experienced some painful episodes of poverty and suffering, yet, it did not deter dear Nigerians from rushing to the bank to get fresh minted notes to show off in occasions.
To date, while people love to spray money as a grease on their ego, party guests and celebrants look forward to this “money-spraying” moment of the party with anticipation. For most, the money comes in really handy, but far from that, the feeling of being special enough for people to empty their wallets for your sake is enough to widen the smile on the faces of celebrants.