The country Nigeria is one of the most densely-populated countries in Africa. The most significant of its great number of tribes are ethnic groups of Hausa-Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo. Every ethnic group is characterized by its own style of traditional attire as well as traditional caps in Nigeria worn every day. In some part of the country traditional garments are worn only for festivals, weddings or other important events.

In this article we are going to look closely at the main types and peculiar variations of Nigerian traditional cap 

1. Fila (Yoruba cap)

The Fila (“a cap” in translation) is an essential component of every yoruba man’s garb. It is made of hand-woven Aso Oke fabric, cotton, velvet, or damask. Filas come in variety of colors but the rule is that they must match other items of your clothing. They are often worn with agbada, (a long formal top).


The Yoruba cap comes in different designs. While some of them are out of fashion already, others are brand-new and trendy and the prevailing majority of them are classical and always appropriate:

  • Gobi style Fila has a front-facing upturned design.
  • Kufi style is very common with royalty and Muslim Yorubas. It is normally worn with men’s dashiki lace suit.
  • The Abeti Aja style (“like dog’s ears” in translation) is a Yoruba hat, looking like a triangle. This hat is wildly popular both among young men and the elders.
  • One more variant is the classy Awolowo cap named after the great Awolowo who used to wear this style on a regular basis.

2.   Igbo traditional cap

This oval woolen red cap is worn mostly by high-ranking Igbo men in the Eastern Nigeria.

The red color of the Igbo cap is a symbol of fire, Agbala (the “holy spirit”). This cap is sacred in Anambra and not everybody can wear it in the street. However, in many parts of Igboland it has lost its sacred significance and value and simply represents the “king” since Igbo red cap chief symbolizes power, tradition, and culture. Asides the chieftancy red cap, there is also another traditionally worn red, white and black mixed cap that can be worn culturally.



Igbo traditional cap

3. Kufi (Hausa cap)

The Kufi hat is not only an important cultural attire, it is also a significant social marker since any person’s religion or status can be calculated by the type of Kufi they normally wear. Hausa caps come in different types: children’s, politician’s (like Awolowo) or just caps to cover you head or to be worn with Turban.   The caps mostly come in white color with vibrant ethnic embroidery.  The kufi hats are of such traditional fabrics as cotton, Mud Cloth, Kente, Aso Oke, African Print, Linen, Hayes, Damask, Velvet, Leather, etc.

Kufi hats became very popular during Black heritage celebrations such as Black History Month,and Kwanzaa. There are a lot of modern styles of Kufi caps that are worn by both women and men while some of them suit both genders.


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