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Glavda which also known as Ametsa, Guelebda, Galvaxdaxa is a spoken language among the dwellers of Bokko, Nghoze, Amuda, Agapalawa, Nghoze Sama, Attagara, Agajara, Arboko etc, in Gwoza, Borno state. The Guelebda people rejected the Fulani jihad of Usman Dan Fodio of 1804-1808 by fleeing to the mountains and held to their own customs and traditions. After the Fulani jihad war some return to the land while others continue to dwell in the mountain. They have their own unique culture which is entirely different from that of the Northern Muslims.



Nigeria is a diverse country with various cultures, and as a result, there are different marriage customs and traditionspractised across the nation. These customs can vary significantly among the numerous ethnic groups in Nigeria. Here are some notable examples of diverse marriage practices in the country:

1. Traditional/Customary Marriages: Traditional marriages hold great significance in Nigerian culture. These ceremonies are often elaborate and involve rituals, ceremonies, and negotiations between the families of the bride and groom. The specific customs and traditions vary across ethnic groups, but they generally involve the payment of a bride price or dowry, exchange of gifts, and ceremonial blessings.

2. Islamic Marriages: Islamic marriages are prevalent among Nigerian Muslims. These marriages are conducted according to Islamic customs and typically involve a contract between the groom and the bride’s family. The ceremony is usually held in a mosque and includes the recitation of prayers, exchange of vows, and a reception or Walima afterwards.

3. Christian Weddings: Christian weddings are common among the Christian population in Nigeria. The ceremony takes place in a church and is conducted by a pastor or priest. It involves the exchange of vows, rings, and the pronouncement of the couple as husband and wife. Christian weddings may also include cultural elements and a reception with music, dance, and feasting.

4. Court/Registry Weddings: Civil or court weddings are legally recognized unions conducted in a registry office. They are typically a requirement for the legal validation of marriages in Nigeria. While these weddings may be simple and devoid of elaborate customs, they serve as a formal registration of the marriage under Nigerian law.

5. Interethnic Marriages: Nigeria’s diverse cultural landscape often leads to interethnic marriages, where individuals from different ethnic groups come together in matrimony. These unions bring together various customs, traditions, and practices from both sides, creating a fusion of cultures.

It is however erroneous to classify northern customs as Hausacustom or Muslims custom because we have multiple customs and tribes in the Northeast only which one of them is Glavda. They are not Hausa nor Muslims. They rejected the Fulani Jihad by fleeing to the mountain. I am going to discuss their customary marriage.


MARRIAGE: The term marriage is difficult to define however, according to the marriage Act: Marriage is the Union between a man and a woman coming together as a husband and wife. However, in Africa society we polygamy is predominant the marriage Act definition may not be applicable as a man can have two, three, four, five and ten wives etc.

CUSTOMARY: The term “customary” refers to something that is based on or in accordance with customs, traditions, or established practices within a particular culture, community, or group. Customary practices can vary widely between different societies and can encompass a range of aspects, including social norms, behaviours, rituals, laws, and traditions.

GLAVDA: The Glavda also known as, the Guelebda, Galvaxdaxa) is an  Afro-Asiat  language spoken in Gwoza, Borno Stae and  . It is one among  the divers ethnic groups in the North.

The Glavda people live in northeastern Nigeria. Historically they are hill-dwellers, who resisted the Fulani Islamic holy wars. Today, some have become Muslim and wear traditional Islamic dress. However, the majority are split between traditional religious beliefs they have held for centuries and Christianity which has come through missionary efforts in the last 70 years. Most of the Glavda are farmers who raise peanuts, maize, and millet on hillside terraces. A man’s work includes farming, crafting leather, making baskets, spinning, weaving, and building. Women make clay objects, train the small children, prepare the meals, and do other household activities.


Glavda customary marriage encapsulated different stages. These stages are: Betrothal, tunkunghaya, Proposal, langaakwatiyaha, payment of bride price, matrimony, Mbakrdi and Consummation


The marriage custom among the Glavda tribe in the ancient time was first through Betrothal where the parents of the manwill put a ring on the hand of a pregnant woman indicating the interest in the unborn child. If it is girl she will marry the man’s son and if it is a boy it becomes invalid.

However, this betrothal was not binding on the parties involved as they can choose whoever they want to marry in attaining the age of maturity. However, it was seen as for their good if they marry the marry the person chosen by their parents as it was based on the good character of the mother and of a belief she will beget good character as well.


It is a taboo for a girl to visit a man in his house or even his parents house among the glavadas. The man who shows interest in marrying a woman will come to the girl’s parent’s house, he will pull out his shoes outside the gate of the house and will kneel down before the parents. The parents will then call for the girl and she will spray a mat in a place called Zdawzdawa where such visitors are received, she will then pick his shoes and give him water preferably beniseed juice. By performing that, she has agreed to the man’s interest in marrying her. But if she decline to pick the shoes or refuse to give him water it shows that she has no interest in the man.


Kathana Barka is the introduction. The man may come once or three times before he send some group of women with a token of colanut, native chocolate and some drinks packaged in a box to ask the girl of her hand in marriage as well as the parents. If she accept it she has accepted the man if she reject it she has rejected the man.


Langa kathana means “taking the things”. This is the act of bringing about 5-12 boxes preferable luggage or suitcase filled with things for the bride and the bride mother. From the biggest size to the smallest size. The biggest sizes contain about 10-13 rappers. One of the Luggage will contain clothes and a shoe for the mother of the bride, the other ones are full of the bride, clothes, shoes Jewelleries, soap, cream and others which she will open every suitcase with her friends if any thing is missing will be noted and the bridegroom will buy it


Langa thlaha means “taking the cows” The bride price was never accepted monetary. It was in the witness of the two families, the community elders, the grooms friends and the noble men. The family of the bridegroom will bring two cows, two goats, drinks, clothes for the father, money for sewing the bride parents’ clothes etc. The quality of the cows will depend on the quality of the girl.The cows are most time collected by a male child which the bride is next to except if she is the first female child.The man who collected the cows will either sell the cows to buy things for the bride or give out a money to buy those things. The term THINGS refers to everything she need in her house from bed room, kitchen living room, dining room etc. The groom build a house and give it to the bride empty while the bride on the other hand cometo the house and fill/ arrange the house. The bride will come to her husband house with everything she need to be there.


The matrimony is done few months after the  payment of the bride price.

The later will presented with a turning stick and be encourage to feed her husband well. She will then be accompanied with friends and woman who is known to be a bedroom mother. They will stay with her for three days to one week it depends on the time they finish fixing things in the house. She will also be accompany with her brother who carry goat that will be killed to feed the groom’s family on the second day after wedding.

The bridegroom sponsor everything on the wedding day, from the food, drinks, chin chin, kunu zaki etc.


Dughaksha means the “ daughters of the soil” it is thefeeding of the family of the bridegroom by the bride with the help of her friends and her bedroom mother on the second to third day after wedding. After cooking, they will go house by house of the bridegroom family to share the food.


If the woman was found virgin, it will be reported to the parents and this will be rewarded the bride by giving her goat or anything of values. Virginity was identify through the use of white cloth during consummation which the stained white cloth will be presented to the both families


The diversity of cultures in Nigeria is reflected in the range of marriage customs and practices observed throughout the country. These customs play a vital role in preserving cultural heritage, strengthening familial bonds, and celebrating the union of two individuals.

It’s important to note that within each ethnic group, there may be further variations in marriage customs based on regional, familial, or individual preferences. Furthermore, globalization and urbanization have also influenced contemporary Nigerian weddings, with many couples incorporating modern elements, such as white wedding gowns, suits, and destination weddings, into their ceremonies.


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