Features of Culture
Some ways of looking at culture include:
- Language: This is one of the most important ways of identifying a group of people. It is a means of transmitting our culture from one generation to another. There are over 250 indigenous languages in Nigeria. People of the same culture use the same language to communicate. Proverbs are an important aspect of speech in Nigeria.
- Religion:This is an important aspect of culture. Each cultural group has its own traditional way of relating with the supernatural before the advent of Christianity and Islam.
- Mode of Dressing: The way a group of people dress is another feature of culture. For example, Hausa-Fulanis wrap their heads with a piece of cloth; wear ‘danshiki’ while their women often wear clothes that cover all parts of their bodies.
- Legends: the belief and story of each ethnic group about the origin of man and the world is another feature of culture.
- Folklores: These are stories about man and animals such as tortoise and elephant. It serves as a means of entertainment and a form of moral education.
- Arts and crafts: Each cultural group has its unique art and craft in form of carvings, metal works, painting, sculptures, wood work, etc. arts and crafts are products of our physical environment.
- Games and Entertainment: Each cultural group has its own game such as ‘Ayo and Okoto’ in Yorubaland. Entertainment is in form of singing. The Yorubas play musical instrument such as ‘gangan’, ‘bata’ and ‘dundun’ while ‘shantu’ and ‘samban’ sets of drums are popular among the Hausa-Fulanis.
- Food and Drinks: In the Nigeria traditional societies, only solid food is recognized as real food while liquid is regarded as mere refreshment. Palm wine is popular among the Yorubas and the Igbos. ‘Burukutu’ and ‘sekete’ are popular in Hausaland. Pounded yam and yam flour are common solid food in Yorubaland while ‘Tuwo’ and ‘Danwake’ are popular among Hausa-Fulanis.
- Skills and Tools (Technology): Before the arrival of the Europeans in Nigeria, there were small industries made up of small workshops. Making of ivory and brass wares were the preoccupation of the Binis. The Ijaws and the Itsekiris were noted for salt-making while the Akoko-Edos and the Iseyins produced clothes, etc.
Characteristics of Culture
The following are some of the characteristics of culture:
- Culture defines a group of people. It differs from place to place.
- Culture is dynamic, flexible and changes with time as technology changes and as people come in contact with other cultures.
- It is a collective experience of a community or a group of people. It is not restricted to a person.
- It is a continuous process that is passed from one generation to another. There can be no people without culture. It is an enduring characteristic of human society.
- An individual learns the culture of his society through the agents of socialization such as family, the school, peer group, the community, mass media, etc.
- No culture is bad or inferior. Each group has its own definite culture as a result of its environment. This is called cultural relativity.
- Culture is learnt – it is neither inborn nor a biological feature. It is created by a community in order to ensure harmonious and progressive living of its members.
- List five features of culture.
- Mention five characteristics of culture
- Write short notes on any two of the stated features.
- Give 4 examples each of material and non-material aspects of culture.
- State five features of culture.
- Discuss some reasons why some cultures are different from others.
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