Culture is generally known as the total way of life, the ideas, customs and expected behavior of people in a society. Culture encompasses all aspect of an individual’s life such as the dressing, value, music, art, artifact, language, food, attitude, experience, knowledge, belief, norm, moral. religion that are shared by members of a society. The word “culture” was coined by an Anthropologist named E.B Taylor and he defined it as “a complex whole which include knowledge, belief, art, morals, customs and all other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of the society”.
Culture & Tradition
Tradition is the passing down of the elements of culture such as beliefs and customs, from one generation to another which could be either through oral or written means. A tradition is something that was practiced by forefathers in the past which is now being transferred or handed down to the new generation. People of this present generation will pass on the tradition to those of the future generation. Traditions carry symbols with different meanings that are sacred to people of a particular origin. There is a misconception that traditions are fetish activities or beliefs. This is not true because not all traditions are.
A taboo is an act, action, custom or behaviour that is highly forbidden, prohibited on the basis of sacred social or religious meaning attached to it. Taboo is a Polynesian term ‘tapu’ which means forbidden. It is a universal phenomenon present in all societies. Some are gender-based; some have religious affiliation while some are cultural. In the society, taboos are usually dreaded by people. Some practices are set aside for spiritual or religious leaders and on the other hand, are highly forbidden by other members of the society. Many of these taboos have been eroded with the coming of Europeans and Christianity.
Marriage is seen as an important culture among the Yoruba people. A woman who is single at a marriageable age is seen as a crownless woman. Husbands are seen as crowns and a single lady is seen as incomplete without her crown. Another reason why marriage is seen as an essential practice is because Nigerians love and cherish children. Mothers are fond of pestering their children (bachelors and spinsters) to get married so that they can see their grand-children before going to their graves.
The traditional marriage is known as “Igba Nkwu” in Igbo land. In the eastern part of Nigeria, marriage is not seen only as the union between the intending couple but also an affair between the parents, extended families and the members of the society. This is why divorce is difficult among them. After a man has found his prospective wife, the first thing is for him to inform his parents. The introduction process among the Igbo people is in stages.
The Hausas dominate the Northern Part of Nigeria and the most populous inhabitants in the Country. They are mostly Muslims and they speak the Hausa Dialect. Traditional marriage in Hausa land is less expensive than that of the Igbos and Yoruba cultures. The processes are also not stressful compared to the two other regions in Nigeria. Their marriage system is based on the Islamic or Sharia law.
The Fulani people are found in West Africa with high population in Nigeria, Chad, Niger. They speak Hausa, French, English and Fulfulde or Fula language. The Fulani people are Muslims and they follow Islamic laws like the Hausa’s. Cattle are an important factor to them and they are used for every ceremony rites, including marriage rites. There are names,traditions and taboos concerning cattle and the number of cattle owned is a sign of wealth. They fight to preserve their cattle and the major conflict that arises are linked with their cattle. The men are nomadic and pastoral herdsmen as they move amount with their cattle. They are known to be brave, courageous and hard-working.