Major Ethnic Groups in Nigeria Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1121 Words
Date:  2022-08-15


Ethnicity is the state of belonging to a particular social group that has common traditions, beliefs, and practices. Ethnicity brings the feeling of togetherness, similarity, and belonging to a social group (Eriksen 1). Nigerian ethnicity comprises three ethnic groups; the Hausa, Yoruba, and the Igbo. Nigerian parents disciplined the children through various methods like caning and chores at home. Caning was out of love since the parents wanted the children to be responsible adults when grow up. The children were also taken to schools, and the boys were initiated into manhood when the reached puberty, and the girls were given chores at home to make them responsible as they approached marriage and motherhood.

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Fairy Tales and Stories

The three ethnic groups in Nigeria had stories, poems, and fairy tales, which facilitated a robust ethnic bond. The literature was used to teach children, instill morals, and improve relationships with others. For example, the fairy tale that explains why bats are only seen at dusk.

The fairy tale involved two animals; the rat and the bat, who were great friends. The bat used to prepare good soup, and the rat was curious to know how to make the soup. Despite being friends, the bat was jealous and deceived the rat instead of sharing the recipe for preparing the soup. The rat boiled himself thinking that his friend does it too while making the soup. As a result, the rat boiled to death. The rat's wife reported the bat to their king. The king declared punishment, and from that day henceforth the bat changed from eating during the day to avoid punishment. (Elphinstone 45).

Additionally, ethnicity in Nigeria plays a significant role in elections. For instance, a presidential candidate from the Igbo community cannot win in an election without the support of other ethnicities since they fall under the category of minority groups regarding population. In 2015 elections in Nigeria broke the records, transferring power from the then sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan to the current president, Muhammadu Buhari. Ethnicity played a significant role in determining the voting pattern. The strong ethnicity displayed by the Yoruba led to the mobilization of votes towards the opposition and only a few people representing the Igbo voted for the party that lost. President Goodluck Jonathan Conceded defeat in the most honorable manner since the voting process was free and fair.

Songs and Prayer

The Nigerian culture is enriched with songs, prayers, poems, fairytales and even legends. There are various songs sung by children as a form of entertainment. Children formed a circle as they sang "my name, my name my name" song, which involves mentioning your name three times (Eugene 52). Besides, almost half of Nigerian communities are Christians. Lord 's Prayer is widely used among Nigerian ethnic groups. The prayer starts by professing that God is a strong heavenly Father.

Traditional Clothing and Costumes

The Igbo community had little clothing traditionally made from wool basically to cover the private parts. However, the elders were fully dressed. The women wore hanging beads and necklaces to conceal the chest zone. Children did not wear clothes until puberty (Jannah)

The Hausa men wore a robe which was called a babban riga and a round cap known as fula. The gown had wide long sleeves. The Hausa women wore colorful wrappers known as abaya together with matching blouses.

Traditional Yoruba men wore a four-piece outfit that comprises Sokoto, Buba, Agbada, and Fila. Yoruba female attire consists of three pieces; Iro, Buba, and Gele (Fidelis). The garments were fabricated from indigenous cotton. The women wore a square top cloth (buba) and wrapped a skirt called iro around the hips in different patterns to drape towards one side. The women also wore a headgear which was tied around the head known as the gele.

Yoruba Greetings

The greetings are based on the time, place, and occasion. The greetings in the morning are as follows; E ku owuro or E kaaro. The afternoon greeting: E ku osan or E kaasan, and the evening greeting are; E ku irole or E kurole. The greetings on occasions included: E ku isimi during vacation and E ku o dun during celebrations. Finally, the Christmas greetings are E ku o dun keresimesi and E ku o dun ileya on Id-el-Fitir celebrations. (Fakinlede, 52)

Native Languages

The Nigerians have four native languages, namely: Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, and English. The Yoruba is among the edekiri languages. it emerged from trade and military expeditions between the Oyo and Benin. Approximately 40 million people use the Yoruba language. The Igbo people living in southeastern Nigeria speak the Igbo language. The Hausa language is spoken by Hausa people commonly found in northern Nigeria. Most people who use the Hausa language have adopted a lingua franca to facilitate trade. Finally English is the fourth language in Nigeria, which emerged during the colonial period. The missionaries in Nigeria were the first speakers of English.

Christmas and New Year Celebrations

Translation of Merry Christmas in the Hausa language is to Baraka da kirsimati. Christmas is portrayed as a family event where those living in towns travel to the villages to visit their grandparents and old relatives. The families hold parties and enjoy together. They make and decorate a Christmas tree on the eve of Christmas. The church choirs and congregations meet at churches during the Christmas ceremonies and sing Christmas hymns together. Sharing of Christmas cards is also common among the Nigerians.

Foods and Recipes

Nigerian foods include the jollof rice, fried plantain, Moin-moin, vegetable and egusi soup, and pounded yam. To prepare jollof rice, you require tomatoes, one large onion, two teaspoons of Nigerian curry powder, salt, pepper, chicken drumsticks, three royco or knorr cubes and 3 cups long grain rice.


Dice the onions and fry till they are golden yellow in a sizable sufuria. Pour the chicken drumsticks and tomato stew into the sufuria. Add the boiled rice into the sufuria and stir. Add curry powder and salt to taste. Add a pinch of pepper and stir. Then add water and ensure it is at the same level as the rice. Cover the sufuria and leave to cook on medium heat. When the water dries completely, the jollof rice should be ready. Taste to confirm whether it is ready, if not add little amount of water and wait for it to dry. Serve with Fried Plantains, or with Salad.

Works Cited

Dayrell, Elphinstone. Folk Stories from Southern Nigeria, West Africa. Longmans, Green and Company, 1910.

Fakinlede, Kayode J. Beginner's Yoruba. Hippocrene Books, 2005.

Fidelis, Abigail. "Yoruba Traditional Dress: Fashion Roots Of Africa." Naija.Ng - Nigeria News., 2018, Accessed 1 Oct 2018.

Jannah, Manuel. "Igbo Traditional Attires Of The Past." Obindigbo, 2014, Accessed 1 Oct 2018.

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Major Ethnic Groups in Nigeria Essay. (2022, Aug 15). Retrieved from

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