Analysis of Nigerian Culture in Terms of Food, Language, Religion, Marriage and Occupation

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Table of Contents

  • Food
  • Language
  • Religion
  • Marriage
  • Occupation


One of the most popular aspects of Nigerian culture is her food. With over five hundred indigenous tribes, Nigeria boosts of numerous native delicacies unique to her localized menu. The Igbos known for their spicy and colorful soups have many other food forms as starters or dessert like ‘abacha’ and ‘isi-ewu’ - a local small chop consisting of cassava fillings and goat head meat in peppered sauce. The Yoruba’s are renowned for their creativity with rice, giving variations of ‘jollof’ and peppery stew with ‘efo-rito’ and ‘ewedu’ soups as their specials. In recent times, Nigerians have opted for more foreign type foods like cereal and canned foods, claiming that Nigerian foods are ‘heavy’ and unhealthy.

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A quick survey however suggests that modern Nigerians are more concerned with the artistic presentation of food for creating the perfect ‘food porn’ album on Instagram that involves taking photographs of exotic and delicately looking foods which many Nigerian delicacies don’t exactly portray.


Nigeria has nearly 527 indigenous languages, seven of them are extinct with three major tribes dominating the majority of the remaining native speakers – Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa. In recent times, the total number of native speakers has dwindled largely to the fact that modern Nigerians are reaching to learn French, Spanish, Mandarin and other popular foreign languages. Learning these new languages have since been simplified by advancements in technology with the help of Googles’ translator and other online web translating tools offering opportunities for multi lingual assimilation.


African Traditional Religions referred to in modern terms as “black magic” - a sort of mumbo jumbo, defines African gods always with a small ‘g’. Traditional worship is fast phasing out if not already declared dead and buried. Islam on the other hand is now despised as “the harbinger of violence and terrorism” since the recent activities that associated some terrorist groups with the religion surfaced making Islam a ‘from a distance ‘religious practice.

Christianity, the religion brought in by colonization is therefore acknowledged as the “world religion” and practiced fiercely in Nigeria with many variations in the doctrine spreading rapidly. However, many Nigerians who claim to profess Christianity also resort to some traditional methods of worship and may attend Church services in the morning and consult with native doctors at night. This resolve is to maintain the status of civilization in the present day modern Nigeria where traditional worship is no longer openly practiced.


Indigenous marriage practice in Nigeria took the forms of a standard Nuclear family up to the polygamous family forms, particularly in the Yorubaland where royalty allows for multiples wives to cater to a king. Marriage was considered honorable and dignified but further changes in family structure and the willingness of Nigerians to marry has been hit by the wave of globalization that now cajoles Nigerians into embracing modern family forms through same sex marriage, the resolve to divorce or remain unmarried, which many Nigerians would have considered abhorrent in the past. Traditional marriage rites have also been abandoned for more modernized ‘wedding parties’ with infusions of foreign dressing, music and dance.


In the time past, traditional means of providing family income were the indigenous farming, fishing, hunting, wrestling and palm wine tapping practices. Other popular occupational forms that prevailed in Nigeria were dressmaking, storytelling and art. It is evident that modern Nigerians are opting for more white-collar type occupations like engineering, medicine, law, business consulting and entrepreneurship. This has changed the face of the nation especially in the areas of agriculture and rural development with more focus in the development of urban areas like in the building of modern infrastructure to house the sophistication of advanced technology like heavy duty equipment and wired or wireless networks. This is also to promote foreign investment and tourism at the expense of subjecting traditional communities to poverty and rejection. Violence and agitation is very common in these areas as many locals fight to preserve the natural land resources which urban dwellers are exploiting for the betterment of these urban areas.

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