For centuries food, clothes, and religion have been associated with cultural identity. Similarly, I also Identify myself with these things and here is why. Growing up in the western part of Nigeria, or Lagos as some may call it, Ankara, Fried rice, and my religion, Christianity, became the most-embraced part of my cultural identity when I immigrated to America with my family. I remember when I was in Nigeria, fried rice in my culture represents a happy occasion because it was meant to be cooked on a special occasion. To my family, Fried rice was seen as a food of reunion because it was only cooked on reunions and the Weddings of my dad’s junior sisters. Although everyone has their twist to how a certain food is being cooked, Nigerian dishes are no different. That’s why I use the recipe my grandmother uses when she prepares fried rice as a piece of remembrance to hold with me. Ankara comes into my cultural identity because in every place where there is food there is fashion; for example, a Nigerian wedding is for sure going to have fried rice on their menu of food without the exemption of the matched material of clothing for the occasion. The use of this particular clothing material in my culture is seen as a second mouth that tells where you are from. To me, Ankara is my way of communicating to society that I’m a Nigeran from the Yoruba cultural group. Apart from communicating to the world who I am with my clothing, Ankara represents a joyous event to me.
– Victoria Adeyemo