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Thrills, booms as Kano celebrates Takutaha

The thrills of the vast Kano State’s cultural activities have been feeding the state’s preserved cultural tourism and entertainment sector in Nigeria.  Every year the…

The thrills of the vast Kano State’s cultural activities have been feeding the state’s preserved cultural tourism and entertainment sector in Nigeria. 

Every year the people of the ancient city of Kano gather to celebrate a feast in a beautiful colourful manner tagged as ‘Takutaha’. 

Takutaha, is a historical celebration marked as the seventh day of the birth of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW). It has become a tradition already adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to mark the 12th day of Rabi’u Awwal as a national public day, it is the third month of the Islamic calendar, which also served as the birthday of the holy Prophet (SAW), among most Muslims. 

However, despite contradictory beliefs, the people of Kano State have reserved the 19th day of the month of Islam as the day of the naming ceremony of the prophet and that day has been tagged and celebrated every year as the day of Takutaha. 

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Nasir Wada Khalil, a Kano-based researcher and expert in Hausa culture said though there are disagreements as to its genesis, however, many historians believe that it dates back to the time of Sheikh Usman Danfodio. 

He said the event is even considered as more bustling than even Islamic Eidul-Kabir and Eidul-Fitr in Kano City.

He said, “The day is celebrated to commemorate the naming ceremony of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him), that is on 19th of Rabiul Auwal every year. It is very popular in Kano and many other Hausa cities. 

The word Takutaha is believed to be from the Hausa/Sokoto accent of “Taku ta hwa”, meaning it is yours. Danfodio used to say it is yours to refer to the charity people get that day, meaning it is yours and not for the treasury. 

“People sew new clothes, prepare food and share to family and relatives and women and children do stroll and hike the twin hills of Dala and Goron Dutse in Kano as a way of showing their appreciation with the naming ceremony of the holy prophet,” he said. 

The researcher, however, said contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the hiking of the two mountains in Kano is just tradition as there is no religious rite that is observed there. 

“It has nothing to do with religious rites or worshipping. People just climb the mountain to have an aerial view of the city in appreciation of the day. 

“Before the coming of Islam to Kano, traditional worshippers used Dala mountain to worship. But after Islam came, they started using it for a different purpose so as to differentiate themselves from those worshipers. But there is nothing beyond that,” he explained. 

However, various Hausa oral literatures have revealed that Takutaha celebrations started in the year 1565-75. It was reported that prior to the advent of Islamic religion in the then Kano, the people’s religion was ‘Maguzanci’ and the followers are referred to as ‘Maguzawa’ and they worshiped a spirit called Tsumburbura. 

According to the Hausa myths, the Tsumburbura that they worshiped used to be cared for by a strong man called Bargushe who also served as a leader of the clan and he alone related to Tsumburbura and only from him Tsumburbura would accept any offering.

It was revealed Tsumburbura accepted offerings every year after the harvesting period and on such days, the people gathered under the historic Dala hill in celebration to make such offerings. The people of Kano believe in Tsumburbura as their symbol of spiritual support, guidance and protection. 

According to history, during the reign of Kano Hausa King Yaji Dan Tsamiya, the Tsumburbura shrine was attacked on the instruction of the Emir and it was demolished. It was reported that the King had wanted a complete loyalty of his people. During the attack, Tsumburbura was said to have escaped through Kofar Ruwa, which is one of the ancient city gates of Kano. 

King Yaji was said to have embraced Islam later in his life and established Islamic law in the land. However, there were still remnants of the Maguzawas existing in his kingdom. 

To have control of his people, the King didn’t totally abolish the practice of the rituals and as such he allowed a renewed version to annually celebrate the birthday of the Prophet on the 19th of Rabiu Awwal of the Islamic calendar, though some of the rituals are still in practice. 

How Kano people celebrate Takutaha

Every year people from far and near in the state, colourfully dressed, come in groups, chanting eulogies and praises of the Holy Prophet (SAW). People wear new dresses and colourful regalia, some riding horses and going round the ancient city of Kano making a stop at the Dala hill where they climb it to feast and share happy moments with their loved ones. 

However, the most exciting moment during the celebration is the assembling of hundreds of people on top of the Dala hill. They bring along with them all sorts of food and get entertained by various religious performances while taking a clear view of the entire Kano city from the hill. 

Interestingly, there is no fear of falling from the hill nor do they show any sign of tiredness as both the old and young move up and down the Dala hill.  

Speaking to Daily Trust on top of Dala hill, Hajara Umar Abdullahi from Gidan Kara area of Bridget Gama B, Nassarawa Local Government Area, said this is her first time of participating in the Takutaha celebrations, adding that she was extremely happy.

“I am extremely happy, equally, I am excited the way I see others also happily celebrating. May we live to see more of it, it is one moment that we always cherish,” she said. 

Also speaking, Ukasha Rimin Kebe said, it is a special day he cherishes and has grown up celebrating it.

“We are here to celebrate an important day. It is like Eid (sallah day). We sew clothes and slaughter animals just to celebrate this day. We grew up seeing this tradition of celebrating Takutaha, especially the aspect of climbing the Dala hill. We started when we could not come by ourselves, our parents then used to bring us and now, we bring ourselves. If a day like this passes and I do not climb the Dala hill, I can fall sick,” said Ukasha.

For Mukhtar Sheik Mallam Halliru from Kurna Tudun Fulani area, the Takutaha period has always been a good day that he looked forward to every year.

“We are here on top of Dala Hill to celebrate Takutaha. It is indeed a good day for us and for Muslim brothers and sisters. This is a day that reminds us about the virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) where we pray and wish each other,” he said.


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