What do you know about Hausa Weddings?
Nigeria is a country with diverse ethnic groups with a variety of rich cultures and traditions – some of which are marriage-related. These ethnic groups are spread across the six geopolitical zones and three regions of the country. The Hausa tribe is one of the three major tribes in the country. They reside mainly in the northern region of the country and are predominantly Muslims. Nigeria also has religious divides with the north being predominantly Muslim and the south Christian.
Hausa is spoken by over 20 million people as their first language across West Africa. Given their religious beliefs, most of the traditional rites of the Hausas are tied to their religious beliefs. They live mostly by Islamic laws and traditions and this includes wedding ceremonies. Compared to the Yorubas and Igbos, Hausa weddings are less expensive and time consuming.
Here are some interesting facts about Hausa weddings:
1. Na Gani Ina
The literal meaning of Na Gani Ina is “I like what I see” and it is the first step taken by the man towards a marriage ceremony. At this stage, the man’s friends and family accompany him to his prospective bride’s home to declare his interest in her. The entourage bear gifts which have to be accepted by the lady’s father to show that they accept his suit. After this, he is permitted to see her whenever he wishes. Na gani ina is usually a men’s affair.
Once the lady feels comfortable with the man and accepts to marry him, her family communicates with the family of the groom and this is known as “Gaisuwa.” At this stage, discussions are made concerning how to move forward with the arrangement of the wedding and the activities. The wedding date is also set, this process is known as “Sa rana.”
3. The Kayan Zance
The Kayan Zance is a list of items the groom’s family must provide as soon as the bride’s family accepts their wedding offer and proposal. This list is meant to be considerate and dependent on the groom and his family’s financial status. It usually includes fabrics, shoes, household utensils, cash, etc. as decided by the bride’s family.
The wedding day is known as Fatihah and it is the most important event of all. It is the wedding ceremony itself. After picking the wedding day, the couple performs a religious right known as Nikkai; however, Nikkai is an Islamic rite and not compulsory for the Christian few in the north.
Unlike other cultures such as the Efik, Yoruba, etc., where the bride and groom take vows, the families in a Hausa wedding send representatives to take the vows on behalf of the couple and the family at large but this is done in the presence of a religious or traditional leader.
It is important to note that the bride price is paid during the Fatihah. The bride price is known as “Sadaki.”
5. Kunshi and Wuni (Sa Lalle)
This can be likened to a bridal shower and is strictly for ladies.
While the bride price is being paid, the bride stays indoors with her friends and older women who prepare the bride to become a wife. They apply perfumes and scented flowers on the bride to make her smell nice for the event. Henna is also applied on her arms and feet in beautiful designs.
Wuni is when the bride gets to spend the last bit of her free time with her friends and the female members of her father’s house. During this time, the ladies also get henna designs on their arms and legs although not as elaborate as that of the bride.
Hausa weddings are full of activities and this is where a lot of these activities take place.
Walimah is the wedding reception and happens immediately after the Fatihah. It is a time for merriment! This is when food and drinks are served to the guests.
7. Kamun Amariya
Kamun Amariya is one of the activities that take place during a Hausa wedding reception. It is an old and fun wedding tradition. Kamu means to catch the brides and it is more like a game.
The event involves a negotiation between the family of the groom and the family of the bride over the bride’s release to them. The negotiation is expected to be fun and interesting and might take up to 30 minutes.
8. Kai Amariya
The Kai Amariya is when the family and friends escort the bride to her matrimonial home to be received by the groom’s family. This is preceded by prayers and advice from the family.
Have you ever attended an Hausa wedding? What was the experience like?
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You can also read our article on 5 Weirdest Nigerian Wedding Traditions.