Nigerian Culture Facts, Dating Customs, Beliefs On Marriage And Cultural Practices
Since its creation as a country till now Nigeria continues to grow in population and resources. It currently has a population of over 180 million people. Nigerian is reportedly the most populous nation on the African continent and the 8th most populous in the world.
History Of Nigeria
Nigeria is a country made up of a wealth of mineral and human resources. The country was officially called Nigeria in the year 1914, with the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern region; by the British colonials under the leadership of Lord Fredrick Lugard. Prior to this time, the region was made up of various tribes and ethnic groups which all had their unique cultures, traditional beliefs and modes of leadership. The medium of leadership at this time was predominantly the ruling of monarchs.
Nigeria is located in the western region of the African continent and can be termed a great power in the African international system. It boasts of about 200 ethnic groups and over 350 tribes.
Nigerians are found in various parts of the world, many African Americans can often trace their history and origin to Nigeria. Nigerians are a resilient and resourceful race of people who have proven on many occasions that they can strive and survive in just about any country in the world.
It is made of several regions the Northern regions which comprises the Hausa/Fulani people, the North Central which comprises of mostly the Tiv and Igala tribes, the South West made up of the Yoruba people, the East comprising of the Igbo tribe and the South-South made up of mostly the Efik, Ibibio and Ijaw people.
The lingua-franca in Nigeria is English language and pidgin otherwise known as broken English. Nigeria is made up of people who practice the Christian, Islamic and traditional religion. Despite external influences, the customs and tradition of the Nigerian people has remained mostly intact and relevant.
Nigeria is made up of various tribes and ethnic groups. The Hausa/Fulani people of Northern Nigeria are often grouped as one, since they have co-existed for generations and have intertwined cultures and traditions. The tribes in Nigeria are grouped into two categories: the majority and the minority. The Hausa/Fulani are considered the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, followed closely by the Yoruba and then the Igbo.
These three tribes in Nigeria are reportedly the largest; other tribes are termed as the minority. The Tiv People of the North-central region are said to be the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria, they have often been referred to as a majority amongst the minority.
Nigeria like most other countries have their unique cultures, traditional practices, fashion and style, dishes and views on how things ought to be carried in the society.
Hausa Cultural Practices, Dating & Marriage
The Hausa/Fulani people are believed to be about 30 million in number. Although other tribes apart from the Hausa/ Fulani exist in northern Nigeria however, they are the major occupants of the North. It is can also be said that Hausa language is the most popular language spoken in the North. The Hausa/ Fulani predominately farm and rear cattle. Most of Nigeria’s meat, fruits and vegetables supplies are brought in from the North.
The Hausa/Fulani ethnic groups have remained one of the people who have closely guarded and maintain their cultural heritage. They have strict moral values which is a mix of their culture and the Islamic religion. These ethnic groups have been known to marry out their ladies quite early. They strongly believe in the affordability of wedding ceremonies so as not to encourage adultery and its likes amongst intending couples.
These ethnic groups are mostly Muslims therefore their marriage traditions and rites are crafted to closely resemble that of the Muslim people. The dating customs of the traditional Hausa people are considered to be very strict. Intending couples are not given the opportunity to closely relate with each other privately, there is hardly even physical contact. This is done to avoid couples engaging in any form of sexual activity outside of marriage.
Hausa Family Introductions
The first stage of the marriage rites amongst the Hausa people is the stage where the family of the groom after much study and research visits the family of the intended bride to make their intentions known. A few gifts are carried along such as sweets, fruits and the likes in accordance to the demands of traditions. The family of the bride also carries out their research on the family coming to seek their daughter’s hand, to also confirm their suitability. If the groom is found worthy, then the gifts brought will be accepted by the family of the lady.
The couple begins their journey of courtship it is a time for the intending bride and groom to get to know each other. Every form of physical contact is highly prohibited. The intending couple meets under the watch of other people to avoid any form of forbidden contact before marriage. Should the couple decide to discontinue with their courtship on the basis of incompatibility or any other valid reason, then the contract is terminated at this stage. If not, they move forward and set a date for the wedding ceremony.
Hausa Bride Price & Wedding Date
Both families meet debate and settle the amount to be paid as bride price. This amount is hardly ever expensive as the customs and tradition forbids it to be so. The capacity of the groom is considered with regards to the payment of the bride price. When this has been decided on, the date for the wedding ceremony is fixed.
Hausa Wedding Ceremony
The bride is dressed and well decorated on the day of the wedding ceremony. Pretty and creative designs are drawn on the hands and legs of the bride to be. She is clothed in beautiful traditional dresses and adorned with jewelry. The religious ceremony known as the Nikkhai is first of all performed, followed closely by the traditional ceremony. The wedding is full of fun and celebration. After it all, the couple has fulfilled all marriage rites and is therefore considered to be legally married. The bride is led to her new home to begin her marital journey.
This rites and traditions of dating and marriage amongst the Hausa/ Fulani may differ from community to community however; this is generally the mode in which the dating and marriage rites are carried out in most Hausa communities.
Yoruba Cultural Practices, Dating & Marriage
The Yoruba people are the predominant tribe in the South Western region of Nigeria. They can also be found in lesser numbers in just about every state in the federation of Nigeria. The Yoruba are very much into parties and celebrations. They are a people with colorful and interesting traditions, fashion, style and history in general. The wedding ceremony is one of such entertaining and colorful celebrations. The traditional marriage ceremony amongst the Yoruba is a time for families to reunite and have fun.
Yoruba Introduction Ceremony
This is always the first stage in the traditional marriage rites. The intended groom alongside his family and important extended family members pay a visit to the family of the lady. The family of the man is usually required to come along with a few gift items like wine, fruits and the likes. Both families interact and get to know each other; most times, the date of the actual engagement is fixed in this gathering. The affair can be a quiet one involving just a few family members or something grand involving a larger number of family members and close friends.
Yoruba Engagement Ceremony
This ceremony is the official Yoruba wedding ceremony. Colors of the ceremony are selected and traditional Yoruba outfits are picked out for the bride and groom. The occasion is usually presided over by two women. They are referred to as the Alaga iduro and the Alaga ijoko. These women are vast in the knowledge of the Yoruba marriage customs and traditions.
The groom and his family are made to pay quite a number of fees and will also prostrate several times before the family of the bride. They are to come along with a large number of gifts demanded by the family of the bride. Some of the items include: several tubers of yams, bags of salt, kola nuts, fruits, boxes of clothes and accessories, kegs of palm oil, sweets etc. In recent times, the parents of the bride are hardly known to collect the bride price issued by the groom as most Yoruba parents will express that their child is not for sale.
The family of the groom makes their intentions known to the family of the bride and the request is accepted. The bride is brought out and asked a few questions on her thoughts about the proposal, when she answers and accepts she is then led by the groom to their assigned seats for the remainder of the ceremony. The couple is considered traditionally married after this occasion.
The Igbo Cultural Practices, Dating And Marriage
The Igbo people of Nigeria have their homeland in the Eastern region of the country. They are also found in large numbers all over the country and beyond as they are very industrious and business oriented individuals. They are mostly known to deal in local and international trades.
Igbo Family Introduction
The traditional wedding ceremony amongst the Igbo unlike other tribes is an affair that actively involves the participation of not just the bride, groom and their families but also the entire community. It can be a rather expensive affair.
The groom first of all goes along with his family to the family of the bride to make their wedding intentions known. The bride’s family is then given time to enquire and investigate the family of the groom; after which another meeting date is set and approval can then be given. The next visit is made with a few items like wine, kola nuts and the likes. A list containing a vast number of items is then compiled and given to the groom.
Igbo Wine Carrying/ Traditional Marriage
This is the final stage of the marriage rites. It often takes place in the house of the bride. The bride price and other items are brought and settled at this occasion. During the ceremony the bride is required to find her husband who is seated amidst a large number of single men. When he is found, she is to kneel before him and offer him a cup of palm wine. When he accepts and drinks it, the couple then heads towards the elders at the ceremony and kneel for blessings and prayers. The couple is then termed married in the eyes of tradition.
Without a doubt Nigeria is not just rich in natural and mineral resources, but is also rich in remarkable cultures and traditions.