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Do You Know Happy Byeday? by ajuksobi: 10:27pm On Dec 04, 2023
DO YOU KNOW HAPPY BYEDAY?

By:
Ajukura, Fidelis O.
ajukurafidelisobi@gmail.com
4th December, 2023.

To the children of today, the term 'byeday' is a sour and unacceptable word. Even children in rural areas understand that the word byeday is wrong. But that was not the case during our growing up days.

Only few decades ago, the use of correct English at homes was very rare; children were brought up with vernacular - pidgin English. Because many parents were uneducated, they used their indigenous dialect or language in communicating with their children. Schools were not left out as many of them used vernacular to teach their pupils. As a result, these children turned English words upside down.

As children, birthday was simply known to us as 'byeday'. As far as we were concerned, byeday was a day we eat rice together and groove to the beat.

Byedays reflected the true African spirit of collective and shared mores. Although, only few parents marked or celebrated their children birthdays, majority of parents do not even know their children's date of birth. As a result, birthday celebration was automatically ruled out. Since the society was more communalistic than it is today, parents who wanted to celebrate their children's birthday, a day or two before the 'D' day go round the compounds within the neighborhood to tell parents to allow their children to attend their child's birthday slated for so so and so time. Whenever such information reached our ears, we become even more excited than the celebrant. On the 'D' day, we kit up in our 'Christmas' clothes. Before the scheduled time, we're already seated in the venue gleaming with excitement. The invited and uninvited alike! When the birthday rice and stew was served, usually in a large tray with few pieces of meat conspicuously placed on the it. At the appropriate time, we descend on the rice with our bare hands and, within a split second, the entire food disappears into utter nothingness. When water to wash our hands do not arrive early enough, we wipe our soiled hands on our clothes without qualm. The climax of the occasion was the byeday song. Majority of the children, being satisfied with themselves just fired away...
Happy byeday to you!
Happy byeday to you!!
Happy byeday!
Happy byeday!!
Happy byeday to you!!!

After this little ditty, we moved to the dance floor where all manner of dance steps were displayed. Those who did not know how to dance watched with amazement.

At the end, we retire to our various homes to share our escapades in our small circle of friends. We never saw anything wrong with the word byeday till years later when we learned that the right pronounciation was 'birthday'.

Life, today is different because our society is gravitating fastly towards individualism. People are extremely careful how they relate with one another. Similarly, the high level of greed, wickedness and insecurity being experienced today have made matters worse. Recently, a woman, who was moved by pity fed her neighbour's child who was hungry because the child's mother went to market and left the child at home without food. Later in the night when the child began to run temperature, the mother of the child accused her neighbour of poisoning her child. This was a callous and weighty allegation! The woman was shocked over the allegation because the child ate with her own children in the same plate. Two days later, the sick child was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that child had malaria parasite. Happenings of this nature have forced people to move into their cocoon.

The era of byeday is gone because people today are more educated and enlightened. Even toddlers know how to pronounce 'birthday' correctly.

This may sound funny to children of nowadays but those born in the 60's, 70's, 80's and even early 90's clearly understands what I'm talking about.

Cheers!🎈

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