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One of my favourite things about Nigeria is how blessed she is with diverse tribes and culture. Take away all our mineral resources and abundant wealth – God forbid – and we would still stand strong, thanks to our rich cultural heritage and spirit of unity. Culture is such a unique thing because it is the fabric that holds every community together. Here are 6 cultural practices I find most fascinating in Nigeria: 1. The Fattening Room in Efik and Ibibio land: Usually, women dread the idea of getting fat, but ladies in the Efik, Ibibio and Kalabari clans of Nigeria gladly embrace it. In fact, the fatter the better. The people seclude their maidens – who have reached marriageable age – in what are called Fattening Rooms. The ladies who are usually fourteen to eighteen years of age engage in a range of pleasurable activities from sleeping to eating. These are women who prior to this were forced to carry out tiring household chores like washing their families’ clothes and fetching water from long distances. The temporary retreat is performed to broaden the pelvic region of a girl, making it wide enough to perform the functions of a woman at the time of marriage. 2. Traditional Baby Introduction in Yorubaland: In some parts of the West, this very unique rite of passage is performed for their newborns. Water is sprinkled on the baby when it enters the world, and it is believed that no woman younger than the mother should be present in the room during the time of labour among others. Other activities carried out during this time include the burial of the placenta and shaking of the baby to make him strong. 3. Coming of Age Ceremony in Igboland (Nsulu): Ladies, we all know fashion parades can be fun, but imagine parading to catch the eye of a worthy suitor. It’s called the Obada festival which showcases maidens aged fourteen to eighteen years – who are ready for marriage – in the village. The festival is celebrated every five years in October or November after the rainy season subsides. 4. Sharo Ceremony in Fulani land: To prove his worth as a good potential husband, a man in Fulani land will subject himself to public flogging in a ceremony called Sharo. His family is usually there for support and he has a wingman of sorts who shares in some of the whipping. 5. Kolanut Breaking Ceremony in Igboland: During a traditional event, the oldest man present is asked to bless the kolanuts when they are presented to guests at a traditional gathering. This is done with his right hand. He then appoints someone to break one with his hand, or does this himself. Read more of this interesting rite here.   Did I miss any of your favourites? Tell us in the comments section below.   Did you enjoy reading this article? If yes, then you will find these articles interesting too: 5 Things You Should Know About the Kanuris Fascinating Facts About the Efiks Interesting Facts About the Ancient Yoruba Culture Interesting Facts About Igalas

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This article was first published on 14th July 2015 and updated on March 2nd, 2016 at 9:06 pm


Ify Halim is a Writer and media enthusiast based in Lagos. She enjoys writing self-help/inspirational articles with published work in UYD Magazine, Edufrica, Our Stories Inc. and The Keele Concourse. She currently works at, Nigeria’s Information Portal. Follow her on Twitter @MissHalim or visit her online space at

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