Hausa Weddings

Hausa people mainly live in parts of Nigeria and Niger. Larger Hausa communities also exist in Ivory Cost, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Chad, Benin, Saudi Arabia, Burkina Faso and Sudan. Most Hausa people are Muslims.

If a groom-to-be falls in love with a certain woman he must ask her parents to approve the wedding. After the positive answer he can meet her for few minutes. That's all. Anything more is not allowed.

What follows is the formal proposal. Groom's parents and some cousins visit the bride's family. They bring various presents like for example kola nuts. This fruit contains high level of caffeine. At this family meeting the bride's family formally approves the wedding. This is known as "gaisuwais".

This event also means the negotiations on the dowry ("sadaki"). Everything starts with the minimum amount of the dowry. The Hausa call it "rabu dinar" which in Arabic means "0.25 kg of gold". Then the groom says which is the amount he wants to pay. The goal is to pay the lowest possible dowry as there is a belief according to which the lower dowry means more blessing in the future life.

The couple gets married on the wedding day or "fatihah". On that day or on the day before the groom's family brings presents or "kayan lefe" as they are known. The "kayan lefe" includes clothes, shoes, perfumes, the Holy Qur'an and the praying carpet.

Local women prepare the bride. Everything is known as "kunshi". Henna ("lalei") tattoos are applied on bride's arms and feet. The wedding ceremony is held in the bride's home or in the local mosque.

After the wedding ceremony there is a wedding reception ("walimah"). Everyone enjoys in the abundance of food and drink.

When the walimah is over the couple goes to the house provided by the groom. All things inside the house are provided by the bride's family.


Hausa people

Oke Efagene, Traditional Marriage Rites, How it's done in Hausa

Hausa Traditional Marriage

Josfyn Uba, Marrying off traditionally, the Hausa way


Hausa newlyweds (photo by talatu-carmen, flickr)