Nigeria is in West Africa, along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and just north of the equator. It is bordered on the west by Benin, on the north by Niger and Chad, and on the east by Cameroon. Nigeria covers an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometers).
Though there is archaeological evidence that societies have been living in Nigeria for more than twenty-five hundred years, the borders of modern Nigeria were not created until the British consolidated their colonial power over the area in 1914.
The name Nigeria was suggested by British journalist Flora Shaw in the 1890s. She referred to the area as Nigeria, after the Niger River, which dominates much of the country’s landscape. The word niger is Latin for black.
The country has 527 languages, and over 1150 dialects and ethnic groups call present-day Nigeria home. The three largest and most dominant ethnic groups are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo (pronounced ee-bo). Other smaller groups include the Fulani, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Edo. Prior to their conquest by Europeans, these ethnic groups had separate and independent histories. Their grouping together into a single entity known as Nigeria was a construct of their British colonizers.
Art is an essential part of Nigerian culture as you can see lots of artifacts in museums and historical places of Lagos, Nigeria. Ivory carving, grass weaving, wood carving, leather working, pottery and painting are prominent types of arts used in Nigerian culture. Arts and crafts often play important social and religious roles.
Dance and Music
Dance and music are two noticeable forms of Nigerian culture and both are defined by a strong beat and derived from religious ceremonies. Drum is essential element of every kind of Nigerian music.
Food is important part of any religious and social ceremony all around the world. Nigeria has its own specific food traditions according to its different ethnicity and tribes. At the end of each religious and social ceremony, participants share a good meal together. It is considered bad-manner to take meal without sharing it with your guests. Nigerian people use their right hand to eat food. Staple food items like yams, corn or onion and a stew are served in traditional and religious ceremonies.
Please refer to the Food culture and Cuisine in Nigeria by the Nigerian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary in our resources page
Languages of Nigeria
English is national language of Nigeria but 250 tribes of Nigeria have their own languages for communication with other tribe members. Half of the Nigerian population use English as mean of communication. Other people, who are unable to speak English, use Pidgin- English for the communication with the people of other tribes.
Extended families are still the norm and are in fact the backbone of the social system. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and in-laws all work as a unit through life.
Family relationships are guided by hierarchy and seniority. Social standing and recognition is achieved through extended families. Similarly a family’s honour is influenced by the actions of its members. Individuals turn to members of the extended family for financial aid and guidance, and the family is expected to provide for the welfare of every member. Although the role of the extended family is diminishing somewhat in urban areas, there remains a strong tradition of mutual caring and responsibility among the members.
Nigeria is a hierarchical society. Age and position earns, even demands, respect. Age is believed to confer wisdom so older people are granted respect. The oldest person in a group is revered and honoured. In a social situation, they are greeted and served first. In return the most senior person has the responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.