Hausa Tribe in Nigeria: Facts and All You Need To Know

The Hausas are one of West Africa’s major ethnic groupings, with a population of about 30 million people. They are a varied cultural group with comparable homogeneous beliefs and habits found only among their people. Everything you need to know about their variety is right here. Let’s dive in. 

The Hausas are primarily found in northern Nigeria and surrounding south-eastern Nigeria. They also inhabit areas of Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Togo, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, and Gabon.

The Hausa Tribe

History of the Hausa Tribe 

The Hausa states, also known as Hausaland, were separate governmental entities established by the Hausa people between the rivers Niger and Chad. It was an isolated political entity with no central power until the mid-14th century. 

They shared a language, rules, and practices regardless of their geography. Blacksmithing, fishing, hunting, agriculture, and salt mining were all specialties of the Hausas. 

By the 1500s, Kano had become the most powerful city, and it was a significant trading centre for ivory, gold, slave trade, salt, textiles, leather, and cereals.

They were seen as loose coalitions by neighbouring towns because of their lack of military skill and a central governing authority, making them vulnerable to external takeover. 

All of the nations remained independent until they were taken by Usman dan Fodio, a notable Islamic scholar, in a Holy Jihad (war) between 1804 and 1815, which established the Sokoto Caliphate. When the British destroyed the caliphate in 1903 and renamed the area Northern Nigeria, it was later disbanded.

Popular Beliefs About the Hausa People’s Origins

Bayajidda, the fabled ancestor of the Hausa people, was claimed to have gone from Baghdad to the Kanem-Bornu Empire in the 9th or 10th century, where he married a princess. 

Bayajidda was compelled to leave his house due to irreconcilable conflicts with his father-in-law, leaving behind his wife and their first kid. After a long and gruelling journey, he arrived in a city called Daura and asked an old woman for water.

The woman stated that she didn’t have any water and couldn’t get any at the community well because a snake was terrorising the residents. The snake is supposed to only allow the villagers to gather water once a week. 

Bayajidda grew enraged and hurried to the well, where he engaged in combat with the snake and killed it. As a reward, he married the Queen of Daura, who bore him a son named Bawo. 

Bawo created Biram and had six sons who became kings of various Hausa city-states which is regarded as the Hausa bakwai (Hausa seven).

Traditions and Cultures of the Hausa Tribe 

The Hausa people have distinct cultural practices that have withstood the passage of time, despite British colonization. Their political and spiritual leaders did not compromise the standards they were familiar with, which is why they still live their ways to this day.

Religion of The Hausa Tribe

A major proportion of the Hausa community is Muslim, following the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the commandments of the Holy Book, the Qur’an. 

Traders from North Africa, Mali, Borneo, and Guinea are reported to have brought the religion to them via commercial exchanges, and they swiftly adapted the religion. Muslims pray five times a day, fast throughout Ramadan, and aim to make the journey to Mecca, the holy place. 

However, there is a subset of Hausas known as Maguzaya who do not practice Islam and instead follow a cult that worships nature spirits known as bori or iskoki.

Marriage

When an Hausa man meets the woman he wants to marry, he goes to her parents to ask for her hand in marriage. The bride’s family then conduct an investigation to evaluate whether or not the man is fit for their daughter.

If he is authorised by her family, there must be no physical contact or wooing before the marriage, though he may meet her for a short period of time. The man sends his family for a formal introduction with the bride’s family; this is termed ‘Gaisuwa’. 

The bride’s family demands a bride price from the husband as well as money for the bride, commonly known as Sadaki. Following that, a wedding date is set, followed by a reception agreed upon by both parties.

Traditional Attire of the Hausa Tribe 

Hausa males are immediately recognised by their extravagant flowing gowns known as ‘Babban Riga’, coupled with a headgear called ‘Huluna’. The ladies dress in a wrap-around robe called  ‘Abaya,’ which is paired with a matching shirt, head knot and shawl, and they generally have henna drawings on their hands and feet. In general, their clothing is fairly conservative.

Language

Hausa is the most frequently spoken language in West Africa and the predominant language in all of Nigeria’s northern states. The Hausa language is written in Arabic characters, and Arabic makes up roughly one-quarter of Hausa words. Many Hausas can read and write Arabic since they are compelled to attend Arabic-language schools from an early age.

Important Holidays 

The Hausa follow the Islamic calendar’s holy days. Eid (Muslim feast days) mark the conclusion of Ramadan (the month of fasting), the completion of a hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca), and the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. Muslims slaughter an animal on Eid al-Adha to commemorate the moment when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to God. Families can even butcher an animal at home. It could be a male sheep or cow. People then gather with family and friends to rejoice and exchange gifts.

Rituals of Passage 

An Islamic naming ceremony takes place about a week after a kid is born. Boys are typically circumcised at the age of seven, although no special ceremony is linked with this.

Young men and women may become engaged in their mid- to late-teens. The wedding ceremony could last several days. As the bride prepares for marriage, she and her family and friends begin to celebrate. 

According to Islamic law, male representatives of the bride’s and groom’s families sign the marriage contract, generally at the mosque. The couple is brought together shortly after.

Islamic burial traditions are always observed after a death. The corpse is bathed, draped in a shroud, and buried facing east, towards Mecca. Prayers are said, and family members are consoled. For roughly three months, wives are meant to mourn the loss of their spouses.

The Hausa Tribe

Relationship According to the Hausa Tribe 

Hausa people are reserved and silent. They rarely express emotion when interacting with strangers. There are also some customs that control how people connect with their kin. 

It is regarded as a gesture of respect not to utter the name of one’s spouse or parents, for example. Certain relatives, such as younger siblings, grandparents, and cousins, have more casual, playful relationships.

Children form friendships with their neighbours at a young age that can last a lifetime. In certain towns, young people join associations in which they socialise until they marry.

Living Environment of the Hausas

Hausa typically live in large families (gidaje) that include a man, his wife, his sons, and their wives and children. In big towns like Kano and Katsina, Hausa dwell in either the ancient town or in newer quarters established for civil personnel. Hausa housing varies from traditional family compounds in rural areas to modern, single-family residences in new urban centres.

Family Life of the Hausa Tribe 

In rural areas, relatives work together on farming and trading, whereas in urban areas, relatives work together on business. Relatives aspire to live close to one another in order to socialize and support one another. 

Families plan marriages for their children. Marriages between relatives are preferred, such as cousins. A man may marry up to four wives under Islamic law

Most married Hausa women live in seclusion, as per Islamic norm. They stay at home and only leave for ceremonies or medical treatment. Women wear veils and are frequently led by their children when they leave their houses.

Varieties of Food Peculiar to the Hausa Tribe

Grains (sorghum, millet, or rice) and maize are staple crops that are crushed into flour for a range of cuisines. Porridge is a popular breakfast option. Cakes consisting of fried beans (kosai) or wheat flour (funkaso) are sometimes included. 

Lunch and dinner typically comprise of a heavy porridge (Fura). It is usually served with soup or stew (miya). The majority of soups have ground or chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Spices and additional vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin, and okra are added. Meat is consumed in little quantities. Protein is also found in beans, peanuts, and milk.

Education in the Hausa Tribe 

Hausa children start attending Qur-anik schools around the age of six, where they learn about the Islamic holy book, the Koran. They study the scriptures and learn about Islamic rituals, doctrines, and principles. Many achieve great levels of Islamic education by the time they reach maturity.

Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the government has constructed numerous schools and universities. The majority of Hausa youngsters, particularly those in urban areas, can now attend school, at least at the elementary level.

Cultural Heritage of the Hausas

Music and art are crucial in daily life. Hausa children participate in dances from a young age, which are held in public areas such as the market. Work songs frequently accompany activities in rural communities and markets. Praise singers sing about community history, leaders, and other notable people. Traditional forms of entertainment include storytelling, local theatre, and musical performances.

Employment Opportunities 

In Hausa society, there is a clear distribution of labour based on age and gender. The main activity in towns is trade, while agriculture is the principal activity in rural areas. Many Hausa males work in multiple fields. They may hold conventional employment in towns and cities, such as teaching or government work, and engage in trading on the side. 

They cultivate and also engage in trade or crafts in rural areas. Some Hausas work as full-time traders, operating shops or market booths. Many Hausa people work as full-time Islamic academics. 

Food processing, cooking, and selling are all ways for Hausa women to make money. Cloth scraps, pots, medicines, vegetable oils, and other little products are also available. 

Because women are often segregated under Islamic rule, their children or servants go to other people’s households or the market on their behalf.

Sports Activities of the Hausas 

Wrestling (kokowa) and boxing (dambe) are both popular traditional Hausa sports. Matches are held in arenas or markets, and are frequently held on religious holidays. The tournament is accompanied by music, mainly drumming. They wrestle until one of them is thrown to the ground. Boxers fight until one of them is brought to his knees or falls flat on his face.

Football is the most popular modern competitive sport, and it is considered Nigeria’s national sport.

Recreation

Musicians provide entertainment at weddings, naming rituals, and gatherings, as well as on Islamic holidays. Western types of entertainment are prominent today. Hausa people listen to Western music, including rap and reggae, and watch American and British television. Many people own stereos, televisions, and VCRs.

Crafts and Hobbies of the Hausa Tribe 

The Hausa are famous for their workmanship. There are leather tanners and leather workers, weavers, carvers, ironworkers and blacksmiths, silver workers, potters, dyers, tailors, and embroiderers, among others. Their products are distributed in markets across West Africa.

Social Problems Encountered By the Hausa Tribe

Poverty is common among the Hausas. Poverty leads to poor nutrition and diet, disease and insufficient health treatment, as well as a lack of educational possibilities. 

The majority of the Hausa region is prone to drought during severe weather. Some of them have relocated to cities in search of work since they are unable to earn a living in rural areas.

Conclusion

The Hausa tribe are a very hospitable set of people with a diverse culture. They cohabit with people very well, regardless of the state or tribe you come from. When next you visit Northern states, ensure you interact with them and you would never regret doing such.

Share this fact

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top