Easter Celebration: Time to pause the rice ritual

 Easter Celebration: Time to pause the rice ritual

Photo Credit: Travelstart

By EveEden

The Easter celebration is just some hours away and I can kiss my toes most Nigerians would eat rice on the D-day. It is a tradition. Not having some spoonfuls of rice that day would never happen. Rice is the chief menu to every celebration in Nigeria. It is what binds us together as Nigerians. Shockingly, it binds us together than our national symbols. It cuts across status border; the poor, rich and super wealthy celebrates with rice. They use rice to mark significant days. The discrepancy is only in the quality and style of preparation.

My wandering mind can’t keep off from guessing how many bags of rice would be consumed in Nigeria during festive periods.  Weddings, birthdays, naming ceremonies, funerals, religious celebrations, meetings, dates etc. In fact, wherever there are two or more gathering in Nigeria; mostly there must be rice. I guess this is one of the customs we are faithful to; in and out of season.  Nothing can stop us Nigerians from celebrating with rice; not even the deteriorating economy. Even if we have fewer resources to cook up a palatable rice to explode our taste buds; we prefer preparing it unpalatable, less assorted and pale; than not to have some grains of rice on any rice benefitting celebration.

I only danced to the rice rituals when I was younger but ever since I stayed longer on earth; I began to nurse some irritating feelings concerning this rice ritual. Why I can’t have my favorite beans with ripe plantains on Christmas and still count my Christmas merry.  If I should indulge myself with such meal, and share the tale with others; they would mostly end up wearing grumpy faces depicting that I have done the unimaginable and stripped myself of its Christmas rice rights.

As well, during Easter feast after chanting and radiating with joy in our places of worship; we must do the needful by thrilling ourselves with a rice dish. Regardless of other delicacies in provision, if rice is absent then maybe Christ is yet to be risen.  The other delicacies without the presence of rice are unworthy to commemorate such feast but rice alone is worthy.

The dating scene also enjoin this ritual, three of my friends testified that they usually eat rice on their dates; it is a must have. When I inquired to find out the reason from one of them, she replied with a question; “what else can she pick, boiled yam with stew or bread and butter”?

I keep pondering on how this rice tradition came about. Could it be a spiritual curse or something enshrined in the country’s constitution? I hope someday the truth about it would be revealed. I am still buried in my research to find the answers to the compulsory Sunday rice; a culture kept by most Nigerian homes. I am so sick with the ritual that I have taken an oath not to request for rice in any take outs by friends, foes and even myself.  I wonder if I can avoid falling prey to the rice ritual whenever I wish to celebrate something. I just hope so! I may only serve drinks, meats and snacks for my wedding than to see myself requesting for some rice to be prepared for my guests.  I have already started eliminating the rice from my birthday celebration and I may never go back.

I skipped observing the rice custom during my undergraduate days. Then, I whined about it; blaming it on fewer funds or a student’s life.  Strangely, since I began to stay with family again, I need rescue from seeing rice in the pot especially on Sundays. I can be calm about it on any other day but not on Sundays.  Moreover, when I do not get to eat it and eat other meals individually, it must be prepared for family members. Having any other meal on a Sunday except rice is denying them their fundamental Nigerian right. They are still stuck with it and can never say NO to rice on Sundays.

Besides, would the heavens disappear if a wedding ceremony leaves rice out of the ceremony? Okay, this may be unrealistic. How about simple little family Sundays feast? Why can’t we have just salads and turkey, some freshly homemade juice and cake to rest on the Lord’s Day? Please let’s spice up things and see other local and foreign delicacies worthy to make any celebration without the presence of rice. Why not threat your family to a richly prepared vegetable soup.  Make a tasty dessert. Bake, grill fry and stir something other than rice for this Easter. You can go local and roast up some half-ripe plantains to be eaten with make some peppery red oil stew garnished with chunks of meat for the family. Treat your stomach to something new! Be innovative this Easter Sunday.

I bet if we skip the rice ritual this Sunday which is also Easter day, we would still be Nigerians. We won’t be banished from the country.

I bet if we skip the rice ritual this Sunday which is also Easter day, we would still be Nigerians. We won’t be banished from the country.






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