A few months ago, the matter of Nigeria’s centennial celebration was being discussed seriously by the legislative arm of the government. I remember vividly that when asked to justify how much was allocated for the celebration, a legislator said “After all, some of us spend so much to celebrate the birthday for our girlfriends, so it shouldn’t be too much to spend for our country.”
Nigerians LOVE to party. We don’t need any special reason to celebrate… we just roll out the drums and we’re partying away. Burials, marriages, new job, new car, new house, new job… any and everything is celebrated.
So the reasoning is why shouldn’t birthdays be celebrated in grand style? If it can be rationalized, then it can be done. This is how my cousin explained her grand plans to fork out 1.2 million Naira on her daughter’s first birthday. I sat with her as she talked with the party planner of the elaborate plans she had. She was planning that 1 year old Tofunmi would wear 5 different outfits, there would be 5 different cakes for each change of outfit. The decorator was on standby with different ideas for the themes she had conceptualized. The guests were to come with their kids and depending on the gender of the child, there was a themed dress code. Bouncy castles and those
scary clowns and Disney characters were not left out. With every elaborate plan she mentioned, I was tempted to say “Erm, but she wont remember all these things. Wait till she’s like 5 or 10 when she can invite her own friends and enjoy HER day” but I bit my tongue. I had to remind myself; “It’s neither your money, nor your child.”
Every time I cringe at what I think are excesses, Mohammed reminds me that I’m only thinking that way because I’m currently steeped in poverty and that when I smell small money, my thinking will change. I disagree, so I’m praying for the money to come so I can prove him wrong. He went on to say that spending a fortune on your child’s first birthday is akin to the way parents splurge on their children’s weddings. I countered that at least in the case of weddings, the child is old enough to appreciate the expense and effort. Another friend argued that a 1st birthday was an important milestone in the life of the child and was worthy of celebrating. It was immaterial that the child lacked the presence of mind to appreciate it. That’s why photos exist. She also went further to say that these things form an essential part of a child’s psyche and as such should not be understated.
What do you guys think? What are your thoughts on the celebration of a child’s first birthday? Is there a limit to how much should be spent on the child’s first birthday?
Photo Credit: community.babycenter.com