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Popular Nigerian Childhood Myths

In Nigeria, there are many things that our parents told us as children to scare us or to teach us a lesson. These Nigerian childhood myths basically address our views concerning the world and nation.

What are myths?

Myths are folklore genres comprising narratives that play a fundamental role.

In a typical Nigerian home, there are things parents tell their children that live with them through time and would probably be passed on to their children. These myths are ridiculous but guess who are the ones who believed every word about it?

Nigerian parents are one of a kind as they adopt different means to train their children while growing up.

SEE: Childhood Insults That Hurt Worse Than Koboko

Examples of Nigerian Childhood Myths

When someone walks over your sleeping body, it means you are a corpse

Popular Nigerian Childhood Myths - battabox.com

This Nigerian childhood myth was a classic, and the fear of death has remained with us for a very long time. Most of us won’t even cross someone’s legs because we are scared of dying. 

When someone walks over a pregnant woman, there is a high possibility the child may resemble such a woman

In Nigeria, there is a heavy obsession with walking over someone and this could probably explain why someone looks like us at the other end of the country.

Just joking.

READ: Idioms and Proverbs You Should Know

When it rains while the sun is shining, a lion has given birth

Popular Nigerian Childhood Myths - battabox.com

This was the weirdest because how did we know that a lion gives birth in the sun shower? It’s something unbelievable, and no, this myth did not give us a glimpse of jungle activities.

If a boy touches a girl, she will get pregnant

Yes, every parent told their girl children this as a way to keep them away from boys. We know what they wanted to say but couldn’t say the exact words.

READ: Things to Know About Polygamy in Nigeria

When your hand itches you, it means money

To date, people still believe this. There is also a fear that if you itch too much, it means the money will never come as well as another that the more you itch, the higher the amount. Which one should we believe?

Reincarnation is real

One of the most popular Nigerian childhood myths is the one told about the Yorubas (the most extra people in Nigeria).

This says that the dead are expected to return to their family in the form of a newborn baby. That’s why you see people named Babatunde (the father has come back), Babajide (the father has reawakened), Yetunde (the mother has come back), Iyabo (the mother returns), etc.

SEE: Easy Steps To Become A Good Parent

Whistling at night invites snakes

Popular Nigerian Childhood Myths - battabox.com

Parents will caution you if you whistle at night because they think that it would invite snakes. To date, I still believe this myth.

READ: Mental Illness: Causes and Perception in Nigeria

You don’t leave clothes out overnight

Popular Nigerian Childhood Myths - battabox.com

It’s a taboo in Nigerian homes to leave clothes out overnight. Nigerian parents tell how evil spirits could invade the clothes and live in them. 

I mean, come on!

But as a child, we believed this because we didn’t want to give access to evil spirits.


We all look back at these gullible times when we believed anything and everything and look ahead with a smile on our faces because we know we would tell our children the same thing.

Oluwatoyin Odunuyi
Oluwatoyin Odunuyihttps://linktr.ee/ToyinAjua
Oluwatoyin Eria-Ajua Odunuyi resides in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria. In 2020, she received a BSc in Mass communication from Caleb University and specialized in print journalism. Toyin loves to write romance novels because she is obsessed with living in a never-ever-land and often lives through her books. She presently owns a 5-year blog called "An Inclusive Kind world" where she speaks on Autism and society's role in pushing for awareness and inclusion.