The Average Cost of Kayan Lefe

Published: March 5, 2021
Ummu-Salma Ahmad is a bookworm. She sometimes writes when school is not trying to kill her. She does a lot of eating and thinking and is working towards becoming a lawyer. She is also passionate about helping people with their mental health issues, which mostly involves getting them to open up and see a therapist.
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For most Hausa men, the most terrifying part of getting married is the lefe or akwatin aure. The literal meaning of the word “lefe” is “basket” or ‘akwatin aure.’ However, it is now referred to as the clothing and accessories a fiancé sends to his fiancée a couple of weeks before their wedding. Making lefe in Hausa culture is an obligation that rests on the shoulders of every Hausa man that wishes to get married. It is the last thing taken to the bride’s home before the wedding, Fatiha.

Before the end of this article, I will give you an idea of how much an average lefe costs and a sample of a kayan lefe list. But before that, know that the average lefe in 2023 costs between 3 to 5 million naira in Nigeria.

Read: Why Hausa Men Are Not Romantic

Origin of Kayan Lefe

Before the invention of luggage sets, Hausa people used Lefen Kaba to deliver the clothing; they then graduated to using Kwalla – a vertically long container with a cover, to Pantimoti – a wooden box, and then Kumbo – another kind of container for clothing. In the olden days, one or two lefen kwaba/Kwalla/Kumbo/Pantimoti would be taken to the bride, but now a luggage set of six known as ‘Akwatin aure’ is usually what is given to the bride.

What is Found in Modern Lefe?

The wealth of the fiancé determines the quantity and quality of the clothing and accessories. The cost of an average lefe depends on the groom. If he’s wealthy, he and his family will go out and make two luggage sets for his fiancée.

Inside this luggage, items of clothing like Ankara, laces, shadda, fabrics, abaya, sleepwear, veils, and innerwear are put, as well as jewelry, shoes, bags, and cosmetics.

Average people, however,fill one luggage set with those items. And nowadays, it costs between 2.5 to 3 million for an average person to make lefe.

Average Kayan Lefe List

ItemsNumberCost in naira
Box6-piece luggage set200,000
Ankara, lace, shadda90 pieces1,000,000
Materials10 pieces250,000
Abaya7 pieces250,000
Inner wears, lingerie, and sleepwearAccording to need.460, 000
Veils15 pieces120,000
Shoes and bags12 pieces each.400,000
Pieces of JewelleryAccording to need400,000
Hair and skincare products According to need300,000
English wearsAccording to need200,000
Hijab and Jilbab8 pieces80,000
After dress5 pieces100,000
Sewing of clothes150,000
Bride conveyance gift
(bag of rice, rugs or others, depending on location)
60,000
 TOTAL3.8 milllion naira

What Next After Lefe?

After bringing the lefe to the bride’s home, the next is the display it to family and friends to assess it. One’s future spouse’s reputation skyrockets or plummets after that.

The lefe is used to determine the wealth and taste of the fiancé. If the lefe is abundant, people will talk about it endlessly and praise the fiancé for a well-done job. If it isn’t, they’ll still talk about it, but in low tones.

The next set of traditions, including Kamu and kunshi, followed.

Conclusion

Despite mostly being Muslims, Hausa people have cultures of their own that they practice. They tend to mix cultural obligations with Islam. One such cultural obligation is the making of lefe. It is not a requirement for getting married in Islam, yet these people have held on to that culture strongly even as it hinders many young men from getting married early as it is costly. The Kayan lefe list is simply scary.

Also, the constant dollar hike in Nigeria keeps causing an unreasonable rise in the prices of things. This puts the average person in a difficult position should they decide to get married. Many youths have been calling for the scrapping of this cultural obligation. They wish to start small, and lefe is what hinders them from marrying.

Some people, however, argue that it is important that this culture is upheld because it is the backbone of Hausa marriage culture. Still, in Hausa culture, lefe or akwatin aure remains the biggest obstacle to many regarding marriage and is the only one preventing some from marrying a Hausa lady in 4 weeks.

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