It’s Highlife or Nothing – A Christmas in Anambra

December 29, 2021

What makes Christmas tick? Is it the Christmas spirit, food, family jokes or the quiet day you get because you were forgotten while travel plans were made? Reminisce with nostalgia as seven Nigerians share their favourite Christmas memories with Zikoko; the places and people that shaped their love for the season.

It’s Highlife or Nothing – A Christmas in Anambra

Highlife music is the highlight of any Igbo Christmas and it was no different for my family. Whether it was on our road trip to the village, cooking or just unwinding with family, highlife music played in the background. There’s just something that happens inside our blood when Osadebe is on the radio.

My Christmas holidays were always coloured with mischief with my cousins at the village. It’d start with an eight hour drive from Lagos to my hometown Umuoji in Anambra State. My family woke up at 5 a.m. to get dressed and load up the Sienna outside with our travelling bags. My dad would crank up the radio to play Osadebe as we drove out of the compound. My siblings and I would then fall asleep for most of the journey. 

A high point of the journey was getting into Asaba. As we approached the head bridge, my brothers woke me up by yelling, “Get your trumpet, we’re almost home. we’re almost home.” With sleepy eyes, I’d blow my imaginary trumpet outside the window in excitement. My dad would then sped up the bridge while my brothers kept screaming, “We’re home, we’re home” to complement the sound of our hooting. The radio automatically switched to the local channels in the South; 96.3 FM in Lagos was completely different in Asaba. We sang along to the Igbo tunes of Osadebe on the radio as we approached Onitsha. I can still picture chewing my mouth and messing up the  lyrics with my siblings.

Two more turns and we were in Umuoji. We drove up to our grandmother’s house; it was a dainty white duplex surrounded by tall, lush coconut trees. The  welcome chants erupted  from my cousins in the compound. As the car came to a stop, they hugged us and helped us unload our bags. We went in through the backyard to greet our grandmother. She was in the middle of feeding scraps of plantain peels to the goats in the sheds as we walked up to hug her. She turned around, smiling as she hugged each of us. My brothers and I went into the parlour to catch up with my cousins. The night ended with my siblings and I catching up with my cousin in the parlor, as we stuffed our mouths with some piping hot yam and red oil from grandma.

After dusting the house and sweeping the compound, we snuck into my late grandfather’s house at the back to play. It is where my grandfather received guests as the head of the home.  My cousin sat on the chair in the middle while we sat around him pretending to be village chiefs. He had a paper crown and kola nuts stolen from grandma’s cupboard. We went on singing Umuoji na sa fo, the best place to be was still Umuoji, round the king as we played in papa’s hut that afternoon. We were just lucky mama never caught. 

The day ended in the kitchen cooking Ofe akwu. The soup is made from pounding palm kernels in a mortar, and squeezing the juice into a pot to boil. My aunty did the pounding, while I ground up spices for the soup. Everyone was seated in the backyard while waiting for the food. There was palm wine going around, with Ndi Afu Owyi Ana by Osadebe on the radio downstairs. 

The banga was served with local rice, which is perfect for the soup. Elders were served soup in traditional bowls on the table, while the rest of us picked any kind of plate and focused on fighting to get the large pieces of meat left. The rest of the evening was spent gisting out in the backyard with my siblings and cousins. We sat on my grandmother’s wooden bench outside, talking under the moonlight, singing and dancing to the sounds of traditional Igbo tunes coming from across the street. 

Adulting happened and life came at me fast. This Christmas, I look back on the good old days,  and the memories make me want to get in a car, turn up Osademe on my speakers and drive to Umuoji.

If you’re bored this holiday season, take some Zikoko quizzes to spice up your day.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

October 21, 2019

In case you went under the rock this weekend then you MISSED. There was a lot of excitement for our Nigerian superstar musicians and the spotlight was on them, big time. From the much anticipated Headies award, to the birth of Davido’s son, Naira Marley’s legwork and his subtle shade at the organizers of the […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 1, 2022

On November 30, 2022, the Federal Government absolved itself of total blame concerning poverty in Nigeria. The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, shifted some of the blame to governors of the 36 states. The minister said the governors should stop spending borrowed money on unnecessary projects and spend on projects […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

More from Inside Life

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X