Brief introduction of Hausa People

The Hausa People are concentrated mainly in the northern part of Nigeria and other parts of Africa, but due to socio-economic nature of the world hausa people are found in all parts of the world. The northern part of Nigeria has the highest number of states in the country, the Hausas are predominantly Muslims and quite a number of Christians. Hausa tribe is the language spoken by almost all the Hausas, it is a second language to many in Northern part of Nigeria. The Hausas engage in farming, trading, tie and dye, black-smiting and many more vocational skills as their means of livelihood, the Holy Qur’an still remains the source of knowledge to the hausa people, even though they are involved in conventional form of education.


The Hausa cultural marriage is based mostly on the Islamic marriage, starting from introduction to wedding proper. Unlike other cultures, the introductory part of the Hausa marriage is brief, not time consuming, and less expensive. When a man sees the girl of his choice he first seek for permission from her parents, after which the girls parents will have to make some kind of investigation about the man regarding his background, moral ethics and of course his religious believes, before he is allowed to see the girl only when found eligible. According to the Hausa tradition, the man is not allowed to spend a long time in seeing the girl and this is done to avoid any physical and or romantic contact, courtship before marriage is not encouraged in the Hausa tradition. Once the girl accepts the offer, the man sends his parents or guardians to formally seek for the girl’s hand in marriage. 

Seeking for the girl’s hand in marriage varies amongst the Hausa people, as earlier mentioned, there are other ethnic groups having different modes of marriage introduction, nevertheless the most common method used includes, grooms parents or guardians visiting the girl’s parents with certain gift items, i.e kolanuts, candies and chocolates and in some cases bags of salt. During this visit which is an occasion on its own, the groom’s make their intention known thereby introducing the boy, his background and profile, the bride price or dowry is made through bargain starting from the minimum of what the Hausas called “Rubu Dinar”, its an Arabic phrase translated as “quarter kilogram of a gold piece” to the highest amount the man can afford. The wedding date is also set which is agreed upon by both sides. Bride price or dowries are preferred not to be very high or expensive, it is part of the teachings of Islam that the less amount paid as bride price or dowry produce the most blessed marriage.


Due to the diverse ethnicity in Hausa land, the cultural wedding events varies but the most commonly used by most Hausa people are as follows;


This is one of the historical events in the Hausa cultural wedding which dates back to the origin of the hausa people, kamu signifies the cleansing of the bride , henna mixed with some herbs, scents and flowers of plants are applied to her body covering most part of the body for just some minutes, which is later washed away with a mixture or flowers and perfume in water. This mixture smoothes the skin and making the bride look fresh and more attractive. Another mixture of henna is used to make beautifully decorated designs on the bride’s hands, palms and legs. Henna design makes the bride not only astonishing but unique.


This refers to the clothing the groom presents to his bride, well arranged in boxes or bags ranging from materials of different kinds, shoes and bags, cosmetics to jewelries, the Holy Qur’an andpraying carpet areincluded in the” kayan lefe”. The “kayan lefe” is presented by the groom’s family either before the wedding day or on the wedding day. The groom’s family is also presented with gift items in terms of cash or kind by the bride’s family as appreciation.


This is the most significant event in the Hausa cultural marriage, it is done at the brides residence or at the mosque, family and friends of both the groom and bride gather at the location to witness the wedding vows, unlike other marriages the wedding vows in the hausa cultural marriage is done by the representatives of the groom and the bride precided over by an Islamic leader witnessed by many invited guests. Prayers are offered to the newly wedded couple and celebration continues.


After the wedding fatiha, immediately or much later depending on the arrangement, the bride is accompanied by family and friends to her new home whom are well received by the groom’s family. This is not the end of events in the hausa cultural marriage.

In some parts of hausa land the “sayan baki” which is a friendly debate between the groom’s men and the bride’s maids, debating on the amount to be paid before the bride speaks to her groom. This is a way of making them to socialize and later have a greater relationship which is marriage.

In another part “Budan kai” meaning the “Unveiling of the bride” is another event organized by the groom’s family in order to honor and welcome the bride to her new family. During this occasion the bride is presented with gifts both in cash and in kind.

“Walimah” is also an event which normally follows the “Budan kai” it is the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and preaching on how tom live a marital life and other issues. Food, drinks as well as other pleasantries are always available in the Hausa cultural marriage events.

These events are mostly done by the Muslims of the Hausa land, the Christians have their own cultural wedding events.

Article: Fatsuma Musa Mugaji
Photograph: Maze Couture/Xsightn