Hausa Traditional Marriage


The Hausa population resides mostly in the northern parts of Nigeria.  They are predominantly muslims but some are Christians.  Hausas are about half of Nigeria population and speaks Hausa language though different tribes among the Hausa have local languages.  They are not monolithic.  Hausa traditional marriage is based mostly on Islam.  Their marriage ceremony is not time consuming and mostly less expensive compared to Igbo and Yoruba traditional marriage.


When a man sees the girl he wants to marry, he will first seek permission from her parents.  The family of the future bride will then conduct investigation on the man to ascertain his religious believes, moral, ethics and other issues related to his background.  His is allowed to see the girl only if he meets their expectations.  The man is not allowed to spend a lot of time when seeing the girl according to Hausa tradition.  Physical contacts, romance and courtship before marriage are highly discouraged.


Once the girl accepts the marriage offer, the man sends his parents or guardians to formally seek the permission of the girl’s parents in marriage.  The Hausa’s are not monolithic so steps in seeking the girl’s hand in marriages varies among different groups within Hausa communities.  However, the most common method used in seeking the girl’s hand in marriage includes the grooms parents or guardians visiting the bride’s parents with some gifts items such as Kolanuts, chocolates, candies and in some cases bags of salt.  The groom’s parents makes their intention known during the visit.    Gaisuwais a formal form of approval from the family of the bride to the groom’s.  The bargain for bride’s dowry price begins right there.  The price starts from the minimum amount called “Rubu Dinar” in Hausa, an Arabic phrase translated as “quarter kilogram of gold piece” to the highest amount the man can afford to pay.  The preference is for the bride price to be as low as possible because Islamic teaching teaches that less amount paid as bride dowry price produces the most blessed marriage.


The wedding date are set during the visit by the families of the groom and the bride.  The settinf of the date is called Sarana.  It is part of the Hausa tradition for the groom to provide a house for the couple while furnishing the house is the full responsibility of the bride’s family.  The wedding date is called Fatihah.  It is the day of Solemnization of the two families and payment of the dowry referred to as sadaki.  Women are not expected at the wedding Fatihah rather they are indoors, busy preparing the bride for her final moment as a single lady and beginning of life as wife referred as kunshi.  Kunshi is similar to bridal shower.


Wedding reception called Walimah depends on the families involved.  It is usually held after Fatihah and is a whole day ceremony with food and drinks and enjoyment for families, friends and well wishers.  After the merriments, the bride is taken to her husband’s house after series of advise from both parents, aunts, uncles, parents-in-law.




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