Traditional Marriage Rites in Africa: Hausa (Nigeria)
African marriages are always a spectacle to behold. In this article, the traditional marriage rites of Hausa tribe in northern Nigeria is our focus. Join me as we explore their simple marriage ceremony.
The Hausa People
The Hausa are the largest native African ethnic group in Africa. They are a diverse people based primarily in the sparse savanna areas of southern Niger and northern Nigeria. According to Wikipedia, they number over 80 million people, their Hausa language is the most spoken indigenous African Language.
Marriage in Hausa land is very significant issue. If anyone fails to get married at the time he/she is expected to, it id considered foolish and stupid. In fact, the general view is that probably the individual is hiding a serious health problem.
Traditional marriage among the Hausa people is based mostly on Islam. Their marriage ceremony is not time consuming and mostly less expensive, compared to Igbo and Yoruba traditional marriages. A Hausa man and woman don’t have the freedom to hang out together on their own. Indeed, the only thing that will bring about sexual contact between them is marriage.
The first stage is known as Na Gani Ina. Here the groom with his male friends and kinsmen visit the bride’s family house to make their intention known. They also go along with gifts. If the gifts are accepted, it implies that the proposal has been accepted by the bride’s family. After that the groom will be allowed to see his future bride briefly. After this brief time together, the bride has the right to call off the wedding plans if she is not satisfied with the man’s behaviors. But if she wants the man, she will inform her parents.
The next stage is known as Gaisuwa. Here, the bride’s parents will convey the good news to the parents of the groom the approval of the groom by the bride. After this, both families conduct an official engagement for the man and woman, and the groom’s family provides a list of items for the bride’s family. During the next stage, known as Sarana, the wedding date is set.
What follows next is known as Rubu Dinar in Hausa, an Arabic word meaning quarter kilogram of gold piece. This represents the minimum amount for the bride price, although this could rise depending on the highest amount the groom can afford. Payment of the dowry itself is known as Sadaki.
The Main Event
The wedding day is called Fatihah and it is the joining of the two families. On this day, the bride remains indoor together with her friends and older women while she is being decorated with jewelries, perfume and henna also known as Lalei.
As the bride price is being concluded, the males are not allowed into the room until the process is complete. Subsequently, the Islamic leader will pronounce them husband and wife.
After this pronouncement, the reception process – known as Walimah – follows. Here, the bride will be brought out and she will be admonished by the old and married women, after which she will be escorted to her husband’s house. As part of Hausa tradition, it is the duty of the husband to provide a house for the couple to live in, while the furnishing of the house is the full responsibility of the bride’s family.
The newly wedded bride is known as Amarya and the groom as Ango.
Indeed, the traditional marriage rites of Hausa people in Northern Nigeria is quite simple yet truly beautiful! Have you attended anyone before? What do you think about the Hausa marriage rites? Please drop your views in the comments section below.