With about 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, you can imagine the extensive and diverse list of traditions and customs that Nigerians have lived oover time. While some aspects of these traditions are quite similar to those from other parts of the world, there are many other unique traditions and customs that Nigerians are known for.
Pre-Marital Introduction party, aka “Courtship”
In the Nigerian culture no matter how long you’ve been courting your partner until there is a formal introduction ceremony the relationship remains unrecognised. However, this is telling family and well wishers that the couple is ready to tie the proverbial knot.
This introduction ceremony according to tradition must hold in the bride-to-be’s family home. During the ceremony, her fiance’s people will come to pay their respects to her family and clearly “state their intentions”, at this point there must be an acceptance from the lady's family when the official proposal has been concluded successfully, both families share food and drinks. This ceremony is however as good as one of the three wedding ceremonies observed in Nigeria. Let's talk about it.
Three Weddings Ceremony
Nigerians are expected to have three different wedding ceremonies, at which one is as relevant as the other. The first one is the introduction ceremony which we've just talked about, afterwards the traditional wedding takes place. Depending on what part of the country you’re from. There are lots of activities on this day that involves mass prostrations, flogging, wine carrying, bride price, picking out your spouse from a line of thoroughly-veiled women.
After the traditional wedding has been concluded, then the court and church/mosque weddings will commence. This way, the union has been recognised by the provision of Nigerian traditions, religion, and civil law. One common thing will all three weddings is that they involve feasting.
After-Birth Care, aka Omugwo
This tradition is extremely significant among the Igbos, the Igbos are those from the eastern part of Nigeria, although it is widely practised across other Nigerian tribes. After a mother delivers her baby, her mother-in-law comes to take care of the new mother and her newly born. During this period the nursing mother is not required to do any serious work apart from feeding the baby, other things will be done for her including bathing the baby, performing household chores, massaging the new mother’s tummy, cooking special meals such as pepper soups, and so on. If peradventure her mother-in-law is not available for the omugwo, the woman’s own mother can be a replacement.
"Omugwo" is a thing of pride.
(Servicehood/Apprenticeship) aka "Nwaboy"
This method of apprenticeship is prominent among Nigeria’s Igbo people. The Igbos see it as a way to spread the wealth among kinsmen. It requires that a young boy leaves his family with an older, rich relative or sometimes family friend who is an established businessperson for “training”. The apprentice is entrusted with different responsibility, ranging from errands to coordination and supervision, by so doing they are exposed to the world of business transactions. At the end of his training, he is given the “freedom” to go start up his own business with a reasonable amount of money.
Sunday rice is a weekly ritual in many Nigerian homes. The anticipation of this dish after church services makes Sunday complete for most, the joy of preparing the delicacy and sharing with family or neighbours does the magic. This Sunday special dish is usually plain-white rice and tomato stew with chicken, fish or beef.
There are many beautiful unique traditions in the various parts of Nigeria.