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History of Asoebi & Costs: The practice of picking the same clothes for ceremonies (asoebi) has helped to fund the parties of many celebrants



  • Asoebi, which has become a buzzword when organising ceremonies, started decades ago among the Yorubas
  • The practice of picking the same clothes for ceremonies (asoebi) has helped to fund the parties of many celebrants
  • A 2015 study of some people in Lagos state showed that ladies are more likely to buy asoebi when compared to their male counterparts

Asoebi which originated from Yoruba means “clothes of family members”. It is a trendy word used when parties are organised.

Asoebi could be a way to identify with one’s agemates, friends, and family members. The use of the word could be traced back to the 1960s.

Asoebi styles in Nigeria/the origin of asoebi.
Pretty ladies wearing different styles and colours of asoebi. Photo source: BellaNaija, Guardian Nigeria
Source: UGC

Rose Ogbechie, in her thesis titled The Ethics of Asoebi in Nigeria, said asoebi:

“Was also meant to serve as a means of reinforcing social identity and solidarity among group members. The culture has gained acceptance and spread across other ethnic groups in Nigeria.


Ogbechie also pointed out that asoebi has created a way to give support to people during events such as marriage, burial, and birthday ceremonies.

Why Asoebi?

– For social identification

Asoebi is a form of social identification among groups. This is why members of social societies or clubs get them. Not buying asoebi may make one look odd at a ceremony.

– As a means to fund ceremonies

It was gathered that owners of ceremonies often add between 20% to 50% more to the original costs of their asoebi so that they can make money off their guests for their events. Nigeria agrees with that and said:

“Nowadays, some celebrants sell their aso-ebi at an outrageous price, far more expensive than the retail price. They see it as a means of raising funds for a flamboyant ceremony.”

Who buys asoebi more?

The same 2015 study with 100 respondents in Lagos showed that ladies were more likely to get asoebi than men. 60% of ladies said they would buy the clothes as against 40% of men.

To show that relationship status also affects the use of asoebi, 37% of single people were disposed to asoebi compared to 57% of married couples. That showed that the use of asoebi is tightly woven around relationships.

Costs of Asoebi

The cost of asoebi varies, depending on whoever is organising the party or the kind of guests they may be targeting. A Punch report backs this. Speaking to the newspaper, Nweke Chigozie said:

“If friends want to celebrate with someone, the fabric should range from N3,000 to N5,000 depending on the quality of the fabric.”

On the other hand, Oladimeji Daniel Adeoye believed asoebi should not be more than a certain price. He said:

“Personally, I think the highest amount “aso ebi” should go for is around N50,000 to N55,000.”

Sontyo Jimin James also agreed with Oladimeji. He said that N50k is just fine for buying asoebi. Whatever the cost of an asoebi may be, they certainly serve an important communal role in building and nurturing social communities.

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