Various Types of culture in Nigeria


Various Types of culture in Nigeria

The culture of Nigeria is shaped by Nigeria's multiple ethnic groups. The country has 527 languages, seven of which are extinct. Nigeria also has over 1150 dialects and ethnic groups. The three largest ethnic groups are the Hausas that are predominantly in the north, the Yorubas who predominate in the southwest, and the Igbos in the southeast. There are many other ethnic groups with sizeable populations across the different parts of the country. The Kanuri people are located in the northeast part of Nigeria, the Tiv people of north central and the Efik-Ibibio are in the south south. The Bini people are most frequent in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland.

The types of culture in Nigeria are incredibly diverse. Anybody who is a little bit acquainted with Nigeria knows that there are different ethnic and cultural groups in the country.

Different types of culture in Nigeria

A lot of cultures mixed in Nigeria and being a multi-cultural country, Nigeria still preserves authentic national elements.

1. Bini/Edo culture

The indigenes of Bini culture are situated in their majority in Edo State and are spread across the Delta, Ondo, and Rivers states of Nigeria. They also have their language that is called Edo. Among preferable foods of Bini (or Edo) culture are soups: melon or okra soups cooked with bush meat or fish; pounded yam and rice.

Bini/Edo culture

People of this culture are religious and believe in the existence of two worlds: the visible world called ‘agbon’ and the spiritual world called ‘erinmwin.’ Their religion is quite interesting and very philosophical. 

They believe that the creator of these worlds is Osanobua (God Almighty). The people of this culture also believe in the series of fourteen reincarnations. After the fourteenth reincarnation, each soul has to tell Osanubua his or her life plan to define his or her destiny.


2. Efik-Ibibio culture

Efik-Ibibio culture has significant influence on the Southern Part of Nigeria. The representatives of this culture speak their language, as well as English. The culture is associated with the lion that is the symbol of this culture.

There is a secret society, called the Ekpe (translated into English as “Lion”) that protects the culture. This society elaborated the system of symbols called Nsibidi. The system was transferred to contemporary generation ancient knowledge, and many of the symbols are even taught at school to children.

Efik-Ibibio culture
People of Efik-Ibibio culture eat such dishes as AfaƱg soup, Edikang Ikong soup, pepper soup, Ukwoho, Atama, Eritan, etc. Many recipes are made of vegetables. Such preference is explained by the geographic position of the culture location.


3. Igbo culture

Igbo cultural notable trait is melodic music that was developed in the process of iron forging. The musical instruments of Igbo are opi, igbs, and ichaka. In the whole, the culture takes its origins from West Nigeria, and the Igbo music in the form of jazz mixed with traditional Igbo tunes was spread all around the world and was particularly popular in the 20th century. Traditional Nigerian art is represented in Igbo culture in abstract, colorful forms.

Igbo culture
The traditional Igbo religion is called Odinani, but nowadays the majority of Igbos is Christians. Harvesting of the yam is an essential tradition for Igbo culture; they organize fest and masquerades to celebrate different festivals, the most popular are the New Yam festival.


4. Hausa-Fulani culture

Hausa-Fulani Culture is spread on the West and North of the country. The Muslim religion became the factor that united two similar (but still a bit different) cultures into one Hausa-Fulani Culture. Polygamy in the marriage in the culture is allowed as well as divorce.

Music is a significant part of this culture and the people have a great heritage of work songs; they organize festivities in the centers of the towns and come to dance there.

Hausa-Fulani culture
Religious belief is a significant part of the notion of the culture of any country as well as Nigerian culture and traditions. It is counted that 50 percent of Nigerians are Muslim, 40 percent are Christian, and 10 percent still practice traditional religions and rituals. Relations between Christians and Muslims and relationship between the ethic groups in Nigeria are quite tense.


5. Yoruba culture

Yoruba culture is in the West of Nigeria. It is famous for its works of bronze and sculptures. In Yoruba culture, particular attention is given to names. For example, the name of a new born child strictly depends on the history of the family and ancestors, so family traditions are strictly preserved. People of this culture eat moin-moin (steamed bean pudding), soups like ewedu, gbegiri, okra, egusi, and efo riro. The women can boast the full range of textile not only for festivities but also for everyday life.

Yoruba culture
Yoruba people believe in reincarnation and pray for the essential goods in life, majorly, wealth, children, and immortality.

6. Ijaw culture

Ijaw culture
The Ijaw culture of the South South has been influenced greatly by its location on the coast and the interaction with foreigners that it necessitated. Its members amassed great wealth while serving as middlemen, and the preponderance of English names among them today is a testament to the trade names adopted by their ancestors at this time.


Nigerian upper class

Ever since the country's earliest centralization - under the Nokites at a time contemporaneous to the birth of Jesus Christ - Nigeria has been ruled by a class of titled potentates that are known as chiefs. Led by the Nigerian traditional rulers (i.e. monarchs who have received definite authority from the official government and are recognized by the laws of Nigeria), the chiefs come in various ranks and are of varied kinds - some monarchs are so powerful that they influence political and religious life outside their immediate domains (the Sultan of Sokoto and the Ooni of Ife, for example), while in contrast many local families around the country install their eldest members as titled chiefs in order for them to provide them with what is an essentially titular leadership.

Although chiefs have few official powers today, they are widely respected, and prominent monarchs are often courted to endorse politicians during elections in the hopes of them conferring legitimacy to their campaigns by way of doing so. Successful Nigerians, such as businessmen and the said politicians, typically themselves aspire to the holding of chieftaincies, and the monarchs' control of the honours system that provides them to them serves as an important royal asset.


Nigerian literature

Nigeria is famous for its English language literature. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, is an important book in African literature. With over eight million copies sold worldwide, it has been translated into 50 languages, making Achebe the most translated African writer of all time. Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka described the work as "the first novel in English which spoke from the interior of the African character, rather than portraying the African as an exotic, as the white man would see him.

Nigeria has other notable writers of English language literature. These include Femi Osofisan, whose first published novel, Kolera Kolej, was produced in 1975; Ben Okri, whose first work, The Famished Road, was published in 1991, and Buchi Emecheta, who wrote stories drawn from her personal experiences of gender inequity that promote viewing women through a single prism of the ability to marry and have children. Helon Habila, Sefi Atta , Flora Nwapa, Iquo DianaAbasi Eke, Zaynab Alkali and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, among others, are notable Nigerian authors whose works are read widely within and outside the country.

Apart from the speakers of Standard English, a large portion of the population, roughly a third, speaks Nigerian pidgin, which has a primarily English lexicon. It has become a common lingua franca as a result. Pidgin English is a creolized form of the language. For instance, "How you dey" means "How are you". The Palm Wine Drinkard, a popular novel by Amos Tutuola, was written in it.


Influence of Europeans in cultural heritage of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria

It is supposed by scientists that people have been living in Nigeria for more than twenty-five hundred years; only in 1914, the British colonials formed the borders of the modern country. Even the name of the country was given to it by the British. The journalist Flora Shaw suggested naming of the country after the Niger River.

Maybe these are the most positive consequences of the colonization because it is extremely difficult for a country to develop one’s own culture under the influence of another powerful, destructive and imposed culture. We are going to tell you the essential traits of changes brought by Europeans in the five major ethnic groups in the whole.


1. Europeans brought Christianity to Nigeria.

2. Colonization stopped the existence of many traditions. Sacrifices and rituals were called off. The importance of a woman`s pride before marriage was also canceled by the behavior of the colonists.

3. The Europeans took away many talented artists, sculptors, and musicians. They also carted away many pieces of art, and only a few original artworks remained.

4. Dressing habits were also changed by the Europeans. They brought their “fashion” to Nigeria.

5. The family unit as the basis for the culture-forming process was also influenced. Though polygamous marriage was reduced, the divorce rate increased. The families were not dependent anymore on the opinion of the tribe, and many families were split up.

6. Colonizers killed many moral rules of the settlements of that time.



It is considered by different Nigerian people differently. Age is greatly respected in Nigeria, particularly in Yoruba culture. Senior people have special rights of respect and admiration. Shaking hands, eating, or passing things with the left hand is unacceptable in many Nigerian cultures. The left hand is considered the hand for personal toiletries and is regarded as a dirty one.

Rituals take an essential part in the life of Nigerian people. Nowadays rituals are more festivals than “rituals” in their authentic meaning. For example, Igbo people think it bad luck to eat yams from the new harvest until after the annual Yam Festival. A Festival is held in honor of the Igbo earth goddess called Ani.

In many other cultures, there are festivals too. They are also consecrated to natural powers and can also be held in honor of ancestors.

One important trait of other Nigerian people is that they believe in reincarnation and have different names for gods, sometimes even denoting Heavenly bodies or natural powers.

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