Friday, 7 August 2015

Nigeria's Diverse Culture

The culture of Nigeria is shaped by Nigeria's multiple ethnic groups. The country has over 521 languages and over 250 dialects and ethnic groups.

The four largest ethnic groups are the Hausa and Fulani who are predominant in the north, the Igbo who are predominant in the southeast, and the Yoruba who are predominant in the southwest.

The Edo people are predominant in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland. Much of the Edo tend to be Christian. This group is followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik people of the coastal south southern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Niger Delta.


The rest of Nigeria's ethnic groups (sometimes called 'minorities') are found all over the country but especially in the middle belt and north. The Fulani, who are traditionally nomadic, are spread all over West and Central Africa and are predominantly Muslim. 

The Hausa are also predominantly Muslim while the Igbo are predominantly Christian. The Efik, Ibibio, Annang people are mainly Christian. The Yoruba have a balance of members that are adherent to both Islam and Christianity. Indigenous religious practices remain important in all of Nigeria's ethnic groups, these beliefs are often blended with Christian beliefs.

Nigeria is famous for its English language literature, apart from the 'pure' English speaking population, Nigerian pidgin (which uses a primary English lexicon) is also a common lingua franca. Roughly a third of Nigeria's population speak Pidgin English which is a simplified form of the language, for instance "How you dey" would be substituted for "How are you". Since the 1990s the Nigerian movie industry called "Nollywood" has emerged as a fast-growing cultural force all over the continent.

Soccer is extremely popular throughout the country and especially among the youth, both field soccer and professional international soccer, has developed into a cult of unity and division. Supporters of English football clubs Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea often segregate beyond the traditional tribal and even religious divide to share their common cause in Premier League teams. The Nigerian national football team, nicknamed the "Super Eagles", is the national team of Nigeria and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Nigerian food embellishes a rich blend of traditionally African carbohydrates such as Yam and Cassava as well as vegetable soups made from native green leaves. maize is another common crop that is grown in Nigeria. Praised by Nigerians for the strength it gives, Garri is a powdered Cassava Grain that can be readily eaten as a meal and is quite cheap. Yam is either fried in oil or pounded to make a Mashed Potato like Yam pottage. Nigerian beans, quite different from green peas, is widely popular. Meat is also popular and Nigerian Suya, a barbecue-like method of roasting meat, is a well-known delicacy. Bush meat, meat from wild game like antelope and giraffes, is also popular. Fermented palm products are used to make a traditional liquor, Palm Wine, as is fermented Cassava. Nigerian foods are spicy mostly in the western and southern part of the country even than Indian cuisine, but since culture is dynamic some Nigerians do not like spicy food. Some more examples of their traditional dishes are eba, pounded yam, iyan, fufu etc. with soups like okra, ogbono, egusi and so on.

Other traditional cultural expressions are found in the various masquerades of Nigeria, such as the Eyo masquerades, the Ekpe and Ekpo Masquerades of the Efik/Ibibio/Annang/Igbo peoples of coastal southeastern Nigeria, and the Northern Edo Masquerades. The most popular Yoruba wooden masks are the Gelede masquerades.

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