Culture of Nigeria: People, Language, Food, Clothing, Music

Filed in Culture, History by on February 8, 2021 0 Comments

Culture of Nigeria: People, Language, Food, Clothing, Music will be discussed in this article. This will guide you in knowing Nigeria better.

Nigerian culture is as old as the people of Nigeria dated as far back as 200 years ago with a rich cultural heritage, blessed with vast resources.

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Culture of Nigeria: History, People, Language, Food, Clothing

Culture of Nigeria – Photo Source:

Though the Nigerian people have diverse traditions and made up of multi-ethnic groups, they remain united and bonded in spite of their differences.

The Nigerian people are so proud of their cultural heritage, they hold it in high esteem and won’t hesitate to showcase its beauty whenever the need arises. The name Nigeria was coined by Flora Shaw from the Niger River running true the country.

What is Culture?

Culture in this context refers to the social behaviours, arts, customs and belief that are peculiar to a specific group of people or society.

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Culture of Nigeria

This refers to the social behaviours, customs and belief that are peculiar to the Nigerian people.

What You Should Know About the Culture of Nigeria

Here are what you should know about the Culture of Nigeria:

1. People

The people are made up of multi-ethnic groups and culture. The Hausa are found in the north, the Igbo occupies the south-east while the Yoruba are resident in the south-west.

The Tiv people are in the north-central, the Edo people are frequent in the south-south region while Ijaw of the Niger Delta, Efik, Ibibio and Annang are of coastal southern Nigeria.

The Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo are the major ethnic groups while the other groups are sometimes called ‘minorities’.

The Hausa/Fulani are mostly Muslims, the Igbo/Efik/Ibibio/Annang are predominantly Christians while the Yoruba are partly Muslims and Christians, though some other Nigerians still remain traditional worshippers.

2. Language

Nigeria is so heterogeneous in nature when it comes to language. The country has 527 languages and over 1150 dialects.

The major languages in Nigeria are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, others include; Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Tiv, Nupe, Igala, Idoma etc.

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3. Art/Crafts

Nigerian culture is also known for its diverse art and craft display. The culture promotes art and craft such as; wood carving, painting, metalwork, ivory carving, pottery, cloth weaving, glasswork, etc.

4. Music

Indigenous music in Nigeria is an essential component of the Nigerian culture, it’s an expression of their traditions, customs and belief.

Music to the Nigerian people is life, especially highlife, afrobeat and fuji music. It is used at coronations, marriages, burial ceremonies, naming ceremonies, even children use music to play and learn.

Late chief Iyang Nta Hanshaw was a popular Nigerian leading musician who played a key role in the development of Nigerian music especially in highlife.

Other top Nigerian musicians include the likes of; Chief Iyang Ete, Bobby Benson, Fela Kuti, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, Oliver De Coque, etc.

Recently, Nigerian music is recognized all over the world with talented musicians like 2baba, Psquare, Sunny Neji, Asa, Davido, Simi, Wizkid, Timaya, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Duncan Mighty, etc.

5. Masquerade

Masquerades are used to celebrate various events and usually accompanied by music and dance. Cultural expressions are found in different Nigerian masquerades.

Common masquerades in Nigeria include; the Gelede, Eyo, Egungun and Agemo masquerades of the Yoruba in Western Nigeria. The Ekpe, Ekpo, Ikut and Nnabo masquerades, of the Efik/Ibibio/Annang in the southern Nigeria, etc.

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6. Clothing

Nigerian local fabrics are made with Jacquard, lace, Adire and Ankara materials, these materials are very attractive and unique. It is typical for Nigerian women to wear long flowing robes and cover their heads with headscarves.

Some of the traditional attire includes; the Yoruba attire called Buba (complemented with gele and fila). The Efik women dress in ofong ukot anwan and onyonyo, while the men dress in usobo which is complemented by a piece of cloth called okpom pom.

The traditional attire in Hausa is babban riga commonly paired with jalabia and juanni robes while women wear colourful wrappers (abaya) with matching blouses and hijab to cover their hair.

Due to civilization and urbanization some Nigerians now prefer to dress in western style, (suits, shirts and trousers) the youths mainly opt for jean and T-shirts.

7. Food

Nigeria is known for a wide range of delicacies, the meals are usually very rich, spicy, and tasty and liked by many.

The Nigeria people cherish their dishes and normally display them during occasions like traditional marriages, burial ceremonies, etc.

Garri is the number one staple food in Nigeria, it is powdered cassava which can easily be served with a richly prepared vegetable soup.

The predominant delicacy in Yoruba is Amala and Ewedu, the Hausa are known for their delicious meal, Dan wake and Tuwo shinkafa complimented with miyan kuka, while the Efik/Ibibio/Annang delicacies are known across the entire country especially the popular Afang, Atama, Ukwoho, Editan, Ekpang Nkukwo, afia efere, etc.

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8. Literature

Nigeria is blessed with prolific writers whose novels/literature are epic and expresses the culture of the people. Chinua Achebe, a renowned Nigerian writer is famous for his literature titled, Things Fall Apart.

This literature has been translated into 50 languages making it the most translated book of all time and over eight million copies have been sold worldwide.

Nigeria also has Wole Soyinka, winner of the noble price for literature. His literature include; The Lion and the Jewel, Climate of Fear, The Interpreters, etc.

Other literature includes; The Palm-wine Drinkard (written in pidgin) by Amos Tutuola, Mutanda Oyom Namondo (written in Efik) by E.E Nkana, etc.

9. Dance

Dance cannot be taken away from the Nigerian people, as it is an integral part of the culture. It is used to express feelings, mood, events and it reflects the lifestyle of the Nigerian people.

It’s not limited to any age grade, both the elderly and the young enjoy dancing especially at joyous moments. Nigerian traditional dances are diverse and unique.

It is performed on different occasions, for example; marriage ceremony, worshipping god, burial ceremony, festival, religious gathering etc.

Some of the dances include Ekombi of the Efik tribe, Bata of the Yoruba tribe, Ikpirikpi-one of the Igbo tribe, Koroso of the Hausa/Fulani tribe, Swange of the Tiv tribe, etc.

Other popular dances in Nigeria include Etighi, Shaku-shaku, Suo, Alingo, Atlanta, Skelewu, Shoki, Sekem, etc.

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10. Values

The Nigerian people always try to maintain a good reputation, integrity and are known for their hospitality.

They cherish their traditional languages, dance, music and literature. They have so much value for Family, Religion, Marriage, Culture, Tradition, norms, etc.

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