Every nation and tribe has its peculiar traditions. However, some weird traditions in Nigeria will shock you. The country has over 250 ethnic groups with different tongues, cultures and traditions.

As you already know, culture is the people’s way of life. It is what identifies people in a given area. As much as culture and tradition are the normal way of life, some weird ones are not just shocking but also funny and lame. Some shouldn’t even exist, especially in this time and age when humans are more evolved and wiser.

Let’s look at Nigeria’s weird traditions and their implications.

What are weird traditions?

Weird traditions can be defined as strange or bizarre customs and beliefs of a people that have been passed down from generation to generation. These weird traditions often come from the backdrop of culture and religion. They can be scary, deadly, funny and even lame. Every country or tribe has had a weird tradition at some point in history. While some have discarded these traditions due to the influence of times and religion, others still retain their traditions even though most are irrelevant now.

Top 10 weird traditions in Nigeria

Although Nigerians are gradually shedding off these weird traditions that their ancestors have practised for centuries, some traditions refuse to go away.  Below are the top 10 weird traditions in Nigeria.

1. Magun

If you have watched Tunde Kelani’s popular movie, THUNDERBOLT: Magun, you’ll understand how strange the tradition, which originates from the Yoruba tribe in South-West Nigeria, is. Magun is a mysterious and fatal chastity control charm inserted inside a woman. Any man, other than her husband, who sleeps with her is met with a horrible death or remains stuck while in the act. Most women who were inserted with magun are unaware, and the unfaithful among them have suffered humiliation and other terrible consequences.

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2. Widowhood

Widowhood

In some Nigerian cultures, especially among the Igbos of the South-East, the widowhood practice is downright weird and wicked. First, a widow is forced to shave off her hair to mourn her late husband. She is forced to drink the water used in bathing his corpse as proof of her innocence.

As if that’s not enough, she has to carry calabash on her shaved hair and walk barefooted through the village square to the shrine to swear to the gods that she has no hand in her husband’s death. This one is an exceptional case where the woman is strongly suspected of having killed her husband. She is then forced to sleep by her husband’s corpse throughout the burial rites. Talk about man’s inhumanity to man.

3. Inheriting women and properties

Inheriting women and properties

This is also a common practice in the South-East where a man is expected to inherit his late brother’s wife and properties. In Igbo culture, a woman does not have a right to inheritance. All properties go to the male members of the family, particularly the eldest, known as the okpara/okpala. Hence, a woman whose husband is late cannot inherit his property. It either goes to her son by her husband or if she doesn’t have a son, her husband’s brother, who is the next of kin inherits everything, including her.

3. Witchhunting

Witchhunting

This is another weird tradition in the South, particularly the South-South. When an individual is suspected to be a witch, such a person is forced to the village shrine to swear and confess through torturing. Children are not left out of this wicked practice as they are forced on the streets to fend for themselves after being accused of witchcraft. Some are infants and toddlers who succumb to death due to their inability to take care of themselves after being exposed to harsh street life at such tender ages.

5. Female circumcision

Female circumcision

This is a scary tradition that many tribes in Nigeria follow. In modern terms, this practice is called female genital mutilation. There are several reasons for this practice, and the chief among them is to suppress a woman’s sexual urges. It is widely believed in most tribes that an uncircumcised woman is a potential prostitute.

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6. Sharo

Sharo

The Fulani tribe in Northern Nigeria practice sharo as part of their wedding rites. Sharo is a tradition where a groom is beaten by the older members of the community to earn a wife and respect. If he flinches or is not strong enough to bear the pain, the wedding is cancelled. Again, Sharo involves flogging, where a young man receives cane lashes from another challenger for the same bride. He must show no signs of pain to show he’s man enough to care for his wife and become a respectable member of his community.

7. Fattening room

Fattening room

The fattening room is a tradition mostly practised in the South-South, particularly the Efiks of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states. Young women are kept exclusively in a room and fed to make them fat and ready for marriage. Being fat in those days meant being healthy and wealthy. It was considered proof of the good life.

8. Right hand only

handshake

In some Nigerian traditions, using your left hand for any reason is taboo. This includes handshakes, eating, drinking, writing or collecting things from people. Left-handed people always have a difficult time due to this weird tradition which shouldn’t exist today. It’s especially considered rude when you extend your left hand to greet, serve or collect something from an older person.

9. Women not coming out at night

Women not coming out at night

Nigerian festivals are usually colourful, lively and interesting. However, some traditions don’t allow women to witness some of these special events at night, especially when the night masquerade is patrolling the streets. This practice is common in the South, particularly the South-West, South-South and South-East. It’s taboo for a woman to be seen outside at night and failure to adhere to the tradition often incurs the wrath of the “gods” and masquerades.

10. Women not allowed to climb trees

Women not allowed to climb trees

In Igboland, it is taboo for a woman to climb trees, particularly palm trees and iroko. Climbing is reserved for men, and any woman caught going against the tradition has committed sacrilege against the gods and ancestors. No one knows why women are not allowed to climb trees apart from it is a taboo.

Finally, it’s important to note that some of these weird traditions in Nigeria are gradually phasing out. Thanks to feminism and technology, people have become enlightened enough to know that these weird traditions are irrelevant, causing more harm than good for the people.

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