Money showers…not just for showing your appreciation for belly dancers!

Money spray at a Nigerian wedding via myportlandphotographer.com

If you attend a lot of belly dance performances, you’ll know it’s not uncommon for dancers to receive tips of bills thrown over their head in a “shower.” This is a sign of praise for their skill, talent and presence, and is very common in Arab countries. But did you know that “money showers” are used to praise performers elsewhere? In an article on Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry), a well-known movie industry figure “sprays” that band that sings a praise song in his honor. Check out this excerpt from the New York Times article.

In West Africa, a famous presence demands recognition, so the resident highlife band swiftly shifted into an impromptu praise song. “Kunle Afolayan,” the vocalist began to trill, “Kunle Afolayan is here!”

As the singer celebrated his name, Afolayan nonchalantly sipped from a sweaty beer bottle. This was a scripted ritual; the entertainment didn’t come free. The chorus reached a crescendo as Afolayan, dressed in faded jeans and bursting from a sheer white shirt, came forward with a huge stack of Nigerian banknotes. He began to dance, shaking his hips and moving his feet, casting off bills with fluid flicks of his wrist — a tribute Nigerians call “spraying.” A band member crawled around, scooping up cash, while Afolayan delighted in the adulation.

Money “spraying” is also a common feature at weddings and celebrations, as this short clip on YouTube shows.

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