The Hausa tribe is one of the prominent and largest ethnic groups in Nigeria and Africa. Hausas are very unique in various aspects of their culture. They have several practices which are exclusively found among them. Apart from the stereotyped characteristics of the Hausas virtually known to all, there are several other important and interesting facts you must know about them.
The Hausa people are found in various parts of West Africa. The Hausa tribe is a diverse but culturally homogeneous people based primarily in the Sahelian and Sudanian areas of northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger, with significant numbers also living in parts of Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Togo, Ghana, and Sudan. The greatest population of the Hausas are found in North-western Nigeria, an area known as “Hausaland.”followed by the ones residing in the adjoining southern Niger. Most of the towns and cities in Northern Nigeria are predominantly occupied by the Hausa People, since the Stone Age to the present age. These cities and towns include Kano city, Kastina, Abuja, Bauchi, Benin Kebbi, Lafia, Makurdi, Sokoto, Suleja, Yola Zaria, Furhia. Etc.
The major religion of the Hausa people is Islam. Islam has been present in Hausaland as early as the 11th century. The Islamic population grew as the religion was brought by traders and Islamic preachers from North Africa, Borno, Mali and Guinea.Virtually all the Hausa people are of the Islamic religion. The Islam followers are known as Moslems and their practices are based on the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, as recorded in their Holy Book, the Qur’an. They hold their worship sessions in the mosque and have the practice of praying five times a day. They believe in the existence of the Almighty, Supreme God, whom they call Allah. The remaining minority practice traditional religion, belonging to some local cults.
The Hausa language has more first-language speakers than any other language in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has an estimated 35 million first-language speakers, and 20 million second-language speakers. The main Hausa-speaking area is northern Nigeria and Niger. Hausa is also widely spoken in northern Cameroon, Chad, Sudan and the Ivory Coast among Fulani, Tuareg, Kanuri, Gur, Shuwa, Arab and other Afro-Asiatic speaking groups. Hausa is written in Arabic characters, and about one-fourth of Hausa words come from Arabic. Many Hausas can read and write Arabic. Many can also speak either French or English. Most Hausa speakers, regardless of ethnic-affiliation, are Muslims; Hausa often serves as a Lingua franca among Muslims in non-Hausa areas.
The most common food include grains such as millet, rice maize or sorghum which are grounded into flour for food popularly known as tuwa which can be eaten with soup called taushe, kaka, dagedage etc. ground beans cakes called kosai or wheat flour fried and eaten with sugar called fankasau can be eaten as breakfast porridge and sugar called koko, cow milk known as nunu taken with fura is also one of their frequent and treasured meals.
The Hausa people have a very restricted dressing code which is greatly due to their religion beliefs. The men normally wear large flowing gown known as Babban riga and a robe like dress with design called Jalabia and Juanni. The men may or may not wear caps known as fula. The women are identified by their wrappers called abaya, blouse, head tie, shawl and hijabs.
The Hausa traditional marriage is mostly based on Islamic rites, and not as time-consuming or expensive like the Igbo and Yoruba traditional marriage ceremonies.
However, the process leading up to the marriage is slightly similar to what obtains in the other regions in Nigeria. When a man sees the woman he wants to marry, he has to first of all seek permission from her parents. The family of the bride-to-be will then conduct an investigation on the background of the man to determine his religious beliefs, ethics, moral and family customs, as well as every important details concerning his upbringing. The groom-to-be if approved by the woman’s family, is allowed to see her briefly but any form of physical contact, romance or courting before marriage is highly discouraged. Once the woman accepts the marriage offer, the man sends his parents or guardians as well as elderly relatives to formally ask for her hand in marriage. In this visit, the man makes his intentions known openly while the would be bride’s parents gives their consent, an act known as Gaisuwais.
After this, the dowry bidding begins. They usually try to keep it as low as possible since they believe that a lower dowry attracts more blessings. The payment of dowry is known as Sadaki, after which the Sarana follows, that is, the act of fixing the wedding date. Then the wedding, called Fatihah comes, followed by the reception, known as Walima. These two events are organized depending on the decision of the two families involved.