Even though Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, kids still find a way to make it fun, especially through the practice of Tashe among the Hausa.
Tashe is a traditional pantomime performance carried out from the 10th, 15th, or 20th day of the month. Adults sometimes partake in it but often solitarily.
Its name comes from the word “Tashi,” which means “wake up.” Originally, it was done to wake people up to eat the pre-dawn meal known as Sahur. But the practice has evolved to being done for entertainment purposes, after the breaking of the fast.
Kids dress up in comical costumes, with fake beards and donning Babban Riga, moving in groups from house to house to perform dances, drama, and songs, all the while soliciting for gifts or money.
There is usually a central character, leading the traditional songs being sung by the rest of the team. The central character usually has an assistant who collects gifts on his behalf.
Tashe is also used to distract people from political and social problems. In an interview with Daily Trust, Kano State History and Culture Bureau executive secretary Alhaji Ibrahim Mu’azu revealed: “After the civil war, a new performance, called ‘Ngozi Uwar Ojukwu’ was introduced, to make people forget the difficulties they faced during the war.”
In places like Katsina, adult Tashe sets have been practicing for over 50 years.