With a population of 177 million people, Nigeria is obviously the largest black nation on Earth; and very rich in cultural heritages that cut across over 250 ethnic tribes and 420 languages. The peoples of Nigeria are aware of their rich cultural diversity, and this is evident in the various traditional festivals put on display across various communities and regions in the country.
Italy and Brazil may be known as the flagship countries that popularized festivals all over the world, but with time, other countries and societies, including Nigeria are now rising up and boosting their local festivals so much that they now even stand a chance at competing with the later festival giants.
Here are the lists of festivals in Nigeria enriched with loads of ancient culture and heritage of the Nigerian people.
The most ancient and prominent festival in the northern regions of Nigeria, the Durbar festival is popular in Maiduguri, Kano, Katsina and Zaria. Originally intended to mark the advent of a war between ancient kingdoms or regarded as a form of military parade to the emirs and their councils to showcase the fighters who defended the territories, the festival is now performed and considered a ceremonial parade. The parades are filed with aesthetics, colors and it serves to reveal the loyalty of the paraders to the emir as well as reveals their strength and readiness for war. The ceremony is major part of the Id el Kabir celebrations as well as the Id el Fitri marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan and it attracts visitors and tourists year after year.
A regional festival that is unique to the city of Lagos, Eyo festival stems from ancient Yoruba history. famously called it the Adamu Orisha Play, a Yoruba festival that transforms the commercial Lagos Island to be stunning white. It attracts thousands of tourists from around the world who come to see costumed dancers or masquerades called ‘Eyo’ who perform during the festival. The processions are colourful and a lot of major roads are closed. It is strongly believed that Eyo Festival is a forerunner of the world biggest carnival in the world, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.
One of the major objectives of the festival is to pay homage to the Oba of Lagos as well as. The 24-day event sweeps through the entire city with focus on the Lagos Island and attracts a large number of tourists from around the world.
Calabar Carnival in Nigeria, furthermore tagged ” Africa’s Biggest Street Part. No festival can ever beat this Calabar Festival when it comes to amazing performances. This is the celebration of creativity and culture that blends with both the traditional and modern lifestyle of the people of Cross River State. The long feathered headdresses, the colorful costumes, the mesmerizing dancers and dance steps, the street parades and the bands attract thousands of people to it.
A highly cultural and spiritual festival held annually in Osun State, the Osun-Oshogbo festival is held between the months of July and August and sees thousands of Osun worshippers, observers as well as tourists from all over the world who come to join in on the festivities. Celebrated at the Sacred Osun grove in honour of the river goddess, Oshun of Osun State, the event spans for two weeks. The first stage features the ‘Iwopopo’ – a traditional cleansing of the land- at the initial stage, ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’ – the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp- three days later and finally the ‘Ibroriade’, an assemblage of the crowns of past rulers, and a committee of priestesses. While the colorful parades and parties across the city suggest light-hearted merriment, the Festival is a strong aspect of the Oshogbo culture.
ARGUNGU FISHING FESTIVAL
With an origin traced to the visit of the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu in 1934 who was honored with an akin festival, the Argungu fishing festival has been around for quite some time. The festival, widely popular in Kebbi and Sokoto state areas, is a competitive feast that aims to weigh the fishing skills of the locals. It is usually celebrated between the months of February and March and also marks the end of a farming season. As music, drums and dance envelops the air, anxious participants try to outdo each other in a bid to gain the biggest catch. Other activities, including swimming competitions, bare-hand fishing, canoe racing and wild duck hunting serve as side attractions. At the end of the festival, the winner is hugely celebrated, there is merriment across the towns and the river is sheltered to ensure it yields fishes for the next festival.
THE NEW YAM FESTIVAL
An extremely popular festival that everyone indigenous to the south-eastern regions of Nigeria look forward to very year,One festival that is celebrated around the country is the New Yam Festival; from the Leboku in Ugep, Cross River State to the Iriji-Mmanwu festival in Enugu State, the festival is celebrated in pomp and cultural display also locally referred to as Iriji-Mmanwu, Iwa ji, Iri ji or Ike ji, by the Igbo speaking areas in the region. Ripe with masquerades, colorful costumes, cultural dances and displays, the event symbolizes the end of a harvest and the commencement of the next work cycle. The celebration is a highly cultural occasion and unifies the different Igbo communities together as they are essentially agrarian and dependent on yam.
This is just so colorful. Like the Calabar Carnival but slightly different, Lagos Carnival is one of the most vibrant parties in Nigeria. You can feel the excitement in the air even before the carnival kicks off yearly. Tourists are seen travelling from different parts of the world to experience this carnival. You can join in the fun of the Carnival. Make new friends and share those memorable moments with family and friends.