Hausa culture and traditions in Nigeria: top facts to know

Hausa culture and traditions in Nigeria: top facts to know

There are several ethnic Nigeria, Hausa ethnic group is one of the largest and most popular. This ethnic group is well known in West Africa. It is one of the biggest communities here and it has some really unique traditions and cultural practices. Learn interesting facts about Hausa culture below.

Hausa culture and traditions in Nigeria

Tribes in Nigeria

There are hundreds of different ethnic groups in Nigeria. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Yoruba – about 36 million people (19-20 percent)
  • Igbo – approximately 32 million people (17-18 percent)
  • Hausa – about 24 million people (12-13 percent)
  • Ijaw – nearly 15 million people (8 percent)
  • Kanuri – about 6-7 million people (3-4 percent)

Hausa people

The wide-spread Hausa traditions are popular in the North of the country. This big ethnic group has about 24 million people in Nigeria and its traditions and culture are homogenized. In other words, all the Hausa people share similar beliefs and customs. Their main religion is Islam, although their believers of other religions among Hausas in Nigeria, they are considered to be minorities.

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Hausa people can also be found outside Nigeria. About 4 million Hausa people live in Niger, about 160,000 come from Chad, and about 140,000 live in Ghana. There are also many of them in Cameroon, Benin, Mali etc.

The group speaks the Hausa language that has many dialects. Some of the most popular dialects used are Kano, Hausa Ghana, Sokoto, Daura but there are many others too.

Many Hausa people live in Kano, Kebbi, Bornu, Sokoto, Bauchi, Yobe states and other areas totaling 14 Nigeria States.

Hausa food

Hausa culture

Since majority of Hausas are Muslims, they do nothing that Holy Quran forbids. Think of the following acts as of taboo when you are visiting Hausa tribes:

  • Pork food
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Gold and silk male clothes
  • Scanty clothing

These are some of the things you should never eat, wear or do when you are on Hausa land.

Traditionally the main occupation of this ethnic is agriculture and trade. Hausa people grow corn, millet, yams, different vegetables, cotton and peanuts, and breed horses, goats and cattle. The Men hunt and go fish, while women are mostly involved in pottery, baskets, mats, knitting, etc.

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Hausa food - Suya


Foods preferred by these tribes include vegetables (pumpkin, spinach, okra) with soup or porridge and fish.

Hausa people also like to eat rice, millet, and maize. Such grain-based meals are called tuwo in their native language. The most popular and well-known dish is called Suya. It is made of chicken, beef or ram in a style of spicy kebab.


The Hausa people who live in the rural areas are known as Maguzawa. They can be recognized by their facial scarification. This sub-group didn't accept the Islamic faith and still believes in the Gods.



The wedding traditions are very important to Hausa people. This significant ceremony has its own name. Hause females often marry at early ages, mostly as teenagers.

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Hausa bride

The bride always has beautiful Lali or Mendy henna-drawing on her hands. This is the tradition. Besides, the wedding style includes gold jewelry.

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Hausa cultural dressing

Hausa cultural dressing

All women usually dress up to cover all the main parts of the body. Females wear colorful wrapper called zani that looks cute with a head tie, matching blouse and scaves.

Hausa man

Hausa men traditionally wear shirts with narrow sleeves. You can often meet men in trousers and long shirt (robe called juanni) over the narrow-sleeve-shirt that has an embroidered collar. Their dress code is set by the strong religious belief so you can often meet men in flowing gown called Babban riga. Male head is covered with the hula cap or turban.

Hausa house

The culture of Hausa people is really interesting and fascinating. It is always amazing when you can see everything with your own eyes.

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