Nigeria is a country with diverse cultures and tribes. Culture is a fabric that brings us together. Below are some cultural practices in Nigeria that are really fascinating.
1. The fattening room in Efik and Ibibio Land:
Among the Efik, domiciled in large parts of Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, beauty is not always in the eyes of the beholder; but as defined by the fattening room marriage rites of the people.
In this culture, the men are conditioned to have a preference for round, fat, overweight women which in their eyes is the epitome of beauty and symbol of desire, prosperity, wealth, homeliness, motherliness and virtue. Sometime easier pregnancy and fertility are associated with obese women, making the fattening room culture an important aspect of Efik culture and tradition.
The bride is subjected to seclusion for a long period – ranging from three months, six months to an entire year – and fed a large quantity of rich fatty food daily and allowed lots of sleep so she can gain excess weight and become obese. After the rites, your bride of just about 60kg will be well over twice that.
2. Kolanut breaking in igbo land :
The services involving kolanut is a cultural heritage of the Igbo which civilization cannot erase in Igbo land. It shows the happiness and love for another. This puts kola nut forward as the first thing, to be presented during occasions, settlement of disputes, etc. Kolanut shows good gesture over people and this makes the Igbo to say that “A child’s face is appreciated first before one accepts the yam he has in his hands”. “He who brings kola brings life” (Onye wetara oji wetara ndu), is a popular saying in Igbo land. Presentation and breaking of kolanut is something which cannot be dispensed with in Igboland. It marks a cordial welcome. Once present, it creates an avenue to appreciate the life God gave to the people, which is done before the kola is broken.
It is noteworthy that the Igbo believe that kola does not understand English or other languages in a traditional Igbo setting; hence every prayer to be said on the kola presented must be in Igbo language. In a gathering devoid of men, the eldest woman at that gathering may have the privilege to break the kola but loses the privilege if a boy is in their midst. During the presentation of kola, it is not shown to women and grand children to the particular kindred in which the kola is provided.
3. Sharo Ceremony in Fulani Land:
Sharo is the flogging of the potential groom before the actual marriage. The men usually have their arms akimbo and hold a stick while they dance to drumbeats with chants and incantations. This is done because most nomadic Fulanis are trained as warriors hence they believe the ability to withstand pain and torture are a sign of their strength and courage which are needed in their marriage. The ceremony is usually witnessed by so many people including tribes from other regions and may stretch for several days.
To make the ceremony a delight, the groom is usually accompanied by his friends and relatives who provide support to him during the flogging. Sometimes the groom could be assisted by another person known as a wing man if the groom is unable to withstand the flogging.
4. Traditional Baby Introduction in Yorubaland:
In some parts of the West, this very unique rite of passage is performed for their newborns. Water is sprinkled on the baby when it enters the world, and it is believed that no woman younger than the mother should be present in the room during the time of labour among others. Other activities carried out during this time include the burial of the placenta and shaking of the baby to make him strong.