Culture hard facts
As all African countries that incorporate members of cross-border nations, Niger hosts a multitude of different cultural practices. However, these practices have been greatly affected by the influence of the French and their domination of the land. Majorly four different customs can be observed:
The Hausa customs of Hausaland and in general of all the tribes that resisted the expansion and domination of the Sokoto Caliphate, which extends in a lot more countries than Niger and its customs are held over the years faithfully.
The Zarma customs mainly observed around Niger River and the southwestern regions.
The Kanouri and Toubou customs observed in the Eastern part of the country.
The Touareg customs who dominate the northern parts and brought there customs from the various lands that they occupied in their expansion. In a much similar fashion so did the Fula who organize the best known festival of Niger, the Guérewol festival during which the young men make their presence known to the women at the age of marriage. This festival has been a subject of a National Geographic film.
Another well know festival is the La Cure salée (salt cure) which is a 3-day festival held at the end of the rainy season featuring parades from Tuareg camel riders, camel and horse racing, singing, dancing and storytelling.
Ever since the country received its independence the central government has been trying to unify the customs of the inhabitants to a homogeneous tradition of Niger. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this attempt has been slow in producing results. This has been the case with all countries that host people from the same ethnic groups that extend to many countries. The Hausa for example prefer to go to Nigeria to maintain their customs instead of abiding by the central government’s directives for a common tradition.
This however does not include dancing and mingling in modern night clubs that can be found in all major cities lite the Boite of Niamey. Niger is still a Muslim country and despite the separation between the state and the religion some religious beliefs are very carefully handled to avoid any religious outbursts.