The Fulani people are one of the most widely spread tribes in the world. They are predominantly found in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa. Some of these countries include; Nigeria, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroun and Senegal. The Fulani people of Nigeria are mainly pastoral; they move across vast areas of land and come across different cultures.
They speak Hausa, French, English and Fulfulde or Fula language. They are mostly Muslims and they follow Islamic laws like the Hausas. The Fulani traditional marriage ceremony is one of the best traditions that have been preserved in Nigeria.
Although marriages in Nigerian tribes are sacred, the Fulani traditional marriage is highly exceptional as a lot of spirituality and traditional values are accorded to marriage. The Fulani people practice a kind of marriage system that can be best described as ‘endogamy’ (marriage within an ethnic group), a tradition that is gradually going into extinction as inter-tribal marriages are now common among the tribe. However, there are three important things you must know if you must marry their lady.
Take a closer look at Fulani Marriage
These three things are what makes the marriage to be sacred:
#1 Kowgal (payment of dowry)
Like other tribes in Nigerian culture, the payment of dowry is very important to the Fulani people as the bride will not be allowed to move in with the groom without the payment. The dowry is usually paid in form of herds of cattle to the bride’s father while the bride price which is gift items are given to the bride herself.
#2 Sharo (flogging)
This is the most interesting and difficult part of the marriage ceremony as the groom-to-be will have to be flogged before he can marry the lady.
I know by now you will be wondering why the groom has to be flogged before marrying the bride. This is because the Fulani people cherish their females and they always do everything possible to protect them. They believe that if a man can withstand the flogging definitely he will be able to protect their daughter. Guy, if you must marry a Fulani lady abeg rethink am now before is too late. But once you can endure the flogging, the babe becomes yours.
#3 Kabbal (Celebration)
This is just a wedding ceremony and this usually takes place after the dowry and other marriage rites have been completed.
8 Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Fulani
The community is a crucial nomadic ethnic group in the African continent, and it is safe to say that every each of them has its particularities and traditions. You might have already read the famous “Pulaaku”, or code of behaviour of the Fulani; however, you might find yourself a little confused. As important as the British Royal Etiquette, it is better to prepare before arriving at your host community to avoid any misunderstanding or embarrassing moments! In this article, we will discover more in-depth the Fulani community of Senegal that you can visit with Nomadic Tribe, and adhere to the “Fulani Way” even before taking off!
Many indigenous communities all over the globe have developed their code of behaviour to ensure a peaceful life and a standard for etiquette.
The Fulani are very proud of their own code which varies from nation to nation, and is central to their lives. It is called “Pulaaku”, and it can be considered to be the decorum, chivalry and good manners of a Fulani person. It is so intricate that sometimes it makes it hard for some people to enact “Pulaaku” all day, but the rules are followed for the majority of public interactions.
The Fulani are excellent hosts.
They deeply believe in giving hospitality and helping others, while keeping total control of their emotions and impulses at all times. If a Fulani person is feeling physical or emotional pain or general discomfort, it is imperative not to show it in public at all cost.
Pulaaku, the Fulani code of behaviour.
Smoking, drinking, killing, or committing adultery are not “Pulaaku”. If someone breaks the Code of Behaviour (s), they are judged by the community based on a scale of violation of the “Pulaaku”. Although violence is not contemplated in the “Pulaaku”, self-defence is somehow acceptable.
Virtues are essentials for a Fulani person.
Prudence, respect, self-control, mental discipline and modesty are a lifestyle. The “Fulani way” also includes four essential character traits that every Fulani should have: “munyal” (patience, self-control, discipline), “hakkiilo” (wisdom, forethought), “semteende” (modesty, respect), “sagata” (courage, hard work).
The Fulani Art, symbol of social status.
Fulani art is represented in a variety of ways such as decorated gourds and textiles with geometric shapes as motifs with many details. The use of black, red, yellow and white predominates. Painted gourds are an important part of a woman’s social and economic status. Women’s hairstyles, to which they add silver picks and other accessories, are also an artistic form that also allows them to carry objects on their heads.
Cattle are part of the Fulani families.
They provide wealth and food to the family. They tend to have a very close relationship with the animals and some of them are given names. The cattle provide to Fulani members a chance to show that they have “Pulaaku” because they believe that the animals enhance the interaction among families.
Not asking for help is honorable to them.
“Semteende” is the quality of being “shy” or “humble”. Asking for anything should be embarrassing and therefore the Fulani are always self-sufficient. Asking a favor or asking to share food would be a great shame in front of the rest of the community. But in the event that a courteous favor has to be accepted, the Fulani must show immense gratitude.
Religion is vital.
The Fulani religion is largely Islamic and most adhere to at least some of its basic requirements. The union between religion and code of conduct makes it even more important to follow all the rules of behavior to be accepted in the community. It is important to know the basic codes of Islam before enjoying a few days with the Fulani. When visiting you should be dressed accordingly to avoid as well breaking the “Pulaaku” and offending anyone.
Personal adornment to attract the future wife.
If you see Fulani men with red ocher on their faces, white ostrich feathers on their headdresses and white beaded necklaces on their chests, you are attending the gerewol, the Fulani beauty pageant where the girls choose the most handsome Fulani man. To attract women, men dance by exaggerating their facial expressions. Both men and women paint their lips and the rims of the eyes black to highlight the whiteness of their teeth and eyes.