Inside This Article
- 0.1 1. Approaching the girl
- 0.2 2. Asking For Her Parents’ Permission (Na gani ina so)
- 0.3 3. The Investigation (Bincike)
- 0.4 4. Involving the Man’s Parents/Guardians (Gaisuwa)
- 0.5 5. The Dowry Bargain/Setting of Wedding Date (Sa rana)
- 0.6 6. Arranging the boxes & house furniture (Lefe/Kayan daki)
- 1 The wedding events
Are you dating or warming up the idea of dating or even marrying a Hausa Girl? Then this is the ultimate guide for you. Here is how you will go about it.
1. Approaching the girl
This is more difficult than solving calculus! Women are never straightforward. You might approach her and she will snob you or if you’re lucky she’ll exchange numbers with you but refuse to pick your calls. Getting her to be with you could be be harder than a 5 credit course or as easy as ABC. Just pray for luck to be on your side.
2. Asking For Her Parents’ Permission (Na gani ina so)
After you’re sure she is ready to marry you. Then you can go seek permission from her parents. This is where it all begins. You will present yourself in front of her father or guardians and introduce yourself as her suitor.
3. The Investigation (Bincike)
This phase is where parents/Guardians act as the CIA. The family of the bride-to-be will conduct an investigation on the background of the man to determine his religious beliefs, ethics, moral and family customs, as well as every important detail concerning his upbringing. This is a very important process, no one wants his daughter to end up with a potential psychopath.
4. Involving the Man’s Parents/Guardians (Gaisuwa)
Once the woman accepts the marriage offer, the man sends his parents or guardians as well as elderly relatives to formally ask for her hand in marriage. However, this may not be the same for all the tribes in the Hausa communities, as each of them has different customs regarding marriage rites, though the process mentioned above is the most common method.
5. The Dowry Bargain/Setting of Wedding Date (Sa rana)
On their trip to the bride’s family home to seek her parent’s consent, the groom’s family take along items such as kola nuts, bags of salt, sweets, etc. It is during this visit that the groom’s parents will make their intentions known. Gaisuwa is a kind of formal approval from the bride’s family to the groom’s. This is where the bargain for the bride’s dowry begins.
Usually, the bride price starts from a minimum amount known as ‘Rubu Dinar’ in Hausa, an Arabic phrase which means ‘quarter kilogram of a gold piece’, to the highest amount the groom can afford to pay. It is most preferred for the bride price to be as low as possible because according to Islamic teachings, the lesser the amount paid as the bride’s dowry, the more blessings that will come to the marriage. Payment of the dowry is known as Sadaki. Also, the wedding date is fixed during this visit, by both families. The process of setting the date is called Sa rana.
6. Arranging the boxes & house furniture (Lefe/Kayan daki)
As part of Hausa tradition, it is the duty of the groom-to-be to provide the bride with clothes and other accessories. This is called the lefe and you can how much an average lefe costs in Northern Nigeria here. Accommodation for the couple is also the duty of the groom-to-be. While furnishing the house is the full responsibility of the bride’s family..
The wedding events
Now, this is where everything goes down! Parte after Parte! Sometimes Hausa people might also opt for more than one event. These celebrations could be days or even weeks apart. You will also notice a drastic change in makeup and accessories when the bride wears the traditional Nigerian attire. Because we are avid lovers of colour, the makeup and accessories with the traditional attire would most likely be far from subtle.
1. Sa Lalle
This event is strictly for the ladies! This is when the bride gets to spend the last bit of free time with her friends and female family members of her family (before she get’s all busy. If you know what I mean!). A mixture of henna is made and used to make beautiful designs on the bride’s hands, palms and legs. Her friends and family also get henna designs on their hands but not as elaborate as the bride.
2. Mother’s Day/Kamun Amarya
Kamu means “catch the bride” and it is one of the oldest and most interesting events in the Hausa wedding tradition. To get the bride, the groom’s family negotiates with the bride’s friends for her release her to them. This is a really fun event and negotiation may take up to 30 minutes followed by a fun reception.
3. The Wedding Fatiha
The Fatiha is the most significant event of the entire wedding ceremony. As opposed to what obtains in many other cultures, in the Hausa culture it is a representative from the groom and bride’s family usually does the exchange of vows and not the bride and groom. They do this in the presence of a religious priest and wedding guests. Prayers are then offered to the newly wedded couple and the celebration continues.
4. Reception/Dinner (Walimah)
The wedding reception is known as Walimah, and it is carried out according to the taste of the families involved. It is usually held after the Fatihah.
Don’t be shocked when the reception begins and you can’t find the big white wedding dress or the tuxedo. It’s all gone!
As a guest new to a Hausa Wedding, you may not know any of the songs played during the reception. The DJ might throw in a few pop songs, but you will definitely hear the likes of Ali Jita, Shatta, Buzu, Ado Gwanja and many more.
Hausa people also love to have “group” dances where everyone participates. So don’t freak out when you see a group of people dancing to what seems to be choreographed steps like they’d practised at home before they came.
So the dancing begins and you start seeing dollar bills all over the place. Fear not! Unlike the American “Dollar Dance” spraying money is not mandatory or meant to put pressure on the guest. At Hausa weddings, the guests spray money of their own free will to show happiness to the couple.
Many times it is the older guests that do this, like the couple’s uncles, aunties and other older family friends.
There is no particular time on the program allocated to spray money, whenever the couple gets on the dance floor it’s almost guaranteed that the couple will be sprayed – those rich uncles and aunts always like to show themselves!
Okay maybe a little bit exaggerated, but being totally honest with you, the struggle to handle a guest list at a Hausa Wedding is just too real. Hausa People come to wedding in numbers, large numbers!
Keeping this in mind, the wedding hosts usually prepare for what is estimated to be the “maximum possible number” in regards to favours, food, chairs and other aspects. It’s common to hear that a couple confirms a guest list of 250, but about 1000 guest were actually present.
5. Conveyance of the bride ( kai amarya)
This is when family and friends escort the bride to her matrimonial home to be well received by the groom’s family. This ritual is usually preceded by prayers and advises from her family. Far from the end of events in the Hausa cultural marriage. Depending on how well to do the families are, there is usually a grand reception to end the entire wedding ceremony. This includes food, music and entertainment.
6. Sayan Baki
In some parts of the north, this ceremony takes place to add more colour and glamour to the wedding ceremony. The Sayan Baki is a negotiation between the groom’s men and the bridesmaids, debating on the amount to be paid before the bride is allowed to speak to her groom.
7. Shiga Daki (Za Oza Room)
This is the time for the bride and groom to go into their room. Everyone kindly leaves the couple alone. (silently exit the room).
We hope you enjoyed learning about Hausa Weddings.