10. New Yam Festivals
One competition that’s celebrated round the country is that 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. Hundreds of masquerades, dancers in beautiful attires, acrobatic displays and fetish activities make it one festival that you should not miss.
So, with these vibrant festivals in their full swings, it feels like a decent time to pack your luggage and visit Nigeria to expertise a number of these cultural festivals. Let us know what your favourite festivals are.
9. Argungu Fishing Festival
You may have full-fledged some fascinated water activities round the world however if you’ve got not been to Argungu fishing competition, your list might not be complete. The enticing dynamics of the competition, the exciting spectators, and the anxious competitors who are ready to jump inside the river to begin their search for the biggest fish make this fishing festival extraordinary and beautiful.
8. Lagos Carnival
This is just so colourful. Like the Calabar Carnival however slightly completely different, Lagos Carnival is one in all the foremost vivacious parties in the African nation. You can feel the joy within the air even before the carnival kicks off yearly. Revelers are seen travel from completely different elements of the planet to expertise this carnival. You can join in the fun of the Carnival. Make new friends and share those memorable moments with family and friends.
7. Osun Festival
We leave the comfort of the active town life to expertise one among the foremost regarded cultural festivals in Nigeria. It usually takes place within the month of July and August once a year. Off to the Sacred Forest of Osun, in a one-week colourful festival to honour and reverence the river goddess, Oshun of Osun State, people come here to get their solutions to their problems.
The Osun Osogbo Festival 2017 is ongoing, below are interesting facts about the one-week long festival;
The story behind the Osun Osogbofestival has it that the festival began over half a century ago when a group of settlers led by Olutimehin settled in the Osogbo area. A version of the story has it that the goddess revealed herself to them after their activities disturbed her and in other to appease her, they promised to offer an annual sacrifice to her and in return, she promised to make their women fruitful. Thus far, the Yoruba people of Igbo Ora have the highest twin birth rate in the world.
The festival is held to celebrate Osun who is the Yoruba goddess of fertility. The annual festival lasts for 2 weeks and it starts with the Iwopopo. The iwopopo refers to the traditional cleansing of the town from evil.
After the iwopopo comes to the lighting of the 600-year-old 16 point lamp (Inaolujumerindinlogun), three days after the iwopopo has been done.
Next is the Iboriade which is one special moment for the Ataoja of Osogbo. During the Iboriade, the crowns of the past Ataoja’s (Kings) of Osogbo are assembled and the sitting Ataoja in the company of Osun priestesses, the Arugba and the Yeye Osun.
The Arugba is an essential figure in the whole ceremony. The Arugba (calabash carrier) is a votary virgin who bears the calabash containing the sacrifice materials for the festival on her head as she leads the people to the Osun River. As she passes, people pray and cast their problems to her. She isn’t just regarded as a virgin, she’s the goddess they see. The current Arugba is the daughter of the sitting Ataoja. She took over the position from the previous Arugba who had done the work for 10 years.
The history and story of the Osun Osogbo Festival isn’t going to be complete without mentioning Susan Wenger, an Austrian who dedicated her life starting from the early 1950’s till today to ensure that the Osun Osogbo Festival became what it is today. It’s not surprising that her efforts paid off when UNESCO designated the Osun Osogbo Groove a world heritage site in 2005. As she continues to rest in peace, she would forever remain in the hearts of the people.
6. Sango Festival
Sango Festival is an annual festival held among the Yoruba people in honour of Sango, a thunder and fire deity who was a warrior and the third king of the Oyo Empire after succeeding Ajaka his elder brother.
The Sango Festival celebrations can be traced back to 1,000 years ago following the departure of Sango, a popular Yoruba Òrìşà who is widely regarded as the founding father of present-day Oyo State.
Sango was a notable strong ruler and magician who became king of the Oyo Empire after succeeding his elder brother who was perceived to be a “weak ruler”. Believed to bring prosperity to the people of the Oyo Empire during his reign, Sango’s death has been linked to different mythical stories. It is believed that Sango committed suicide by hanging himself in order to avoid humiliation from one of his powerful chiefs who ordered Sango to vacate his throne or face war.
5. Ojude Oba Festival
Ojude Oba is a Yoruba festival held in Ijebu Ode, a town in Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria. It is held annually the third day after Eid al-Kabir. The festival began over 100 years ago. Today, the festival is usually attended by over 250000 people across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
Ojude Oba competition could be a cultural heritage that’s woven from threads of diversity, history, legend and conquest. ‘The King’s front year’ is the literal meaning of Ojuda Oba. The folks of Ijebu lyric come back as a group to pay their respect to the king, the Awujale of Ijebuland. This takes place on the third day of the Ileya competition, (Eid-el-Kabir). This competition includes parades, traditional songs, equestrian skill display and lots more.
The Carniriv is an annual festival, held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Carnival starts a few weeks before Christmas and lasts for seven days. During this time several ceremonial events are held, most of which hold some cultural and or sacred significance.
3. Ofala Festival
The Ofala Festival, is an annual ceremony practiced by the indigenes of Onitsha, and of recent years by other neighboring Igbo communities such as Nnewi in Anambra State, SouthEastern Nigeria and Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area. It serves as a rites of renewal of the king or Obi and it is similar to the Igue festival in Benin and the Ine , Osi or Ogbanigbe Festival in many mid-West Igbo communities of Nigeria. The term ofala, is derived from two Igbo words – ofo (English: authority) and ala. The festival is celebrated within two days mostly in October by the Obi
2. Eyo Festival
The Eyo Festival, otherwise known as the Adamu Orisha Play, is a Yoruba festival unique to Lagos, Nigeria. In modern times, it is presented by the people of Lagos as a tourist event and due to its history, is traditionally performed on Lagos Island. It is forbidden to tie scarfs, smoke, ride cycles, use an umbrella or even wear footwear around an EYO.
The word “Eyo” also refers to the costumed dancers, known as the masquerades that come out during the festival. The origins of this observance are found in the inner workings of the secret societies of Lagos. Back in the days, The Eyo festival is held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king. It is widely believed that the play is one of the manifestations of the customary African revelry that serves as the forerunner of the modern carnival in Brazil. On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to the Iga Idunganran palace. The white-clad Eyo masquerades represent the spirits of the dead and are referred to in Yoruba as “agogoro Eyo” (literally: “tall Eyo”)
The first procession in Lagos was on the 20th of February, 1854, to commemorate the life of the Oba Akintoye. Here, the participants all pay homage to the reigning Oba of Lagos. The festival takes place whenever occasion and tradition demand, though it is usually held as part of the final burial rites of a highly regarded chief in the king’s court.
Among the Yorubas, the indigenous religions have largely lost the greater majority of their traditional followers to Christianity and Islam. Be that as it may, the old festivals are still almost universally observed as tourist attractions which generate a lot of revenue for government and small businesses around the Lagos Island venue of the Eyo festival. It is during these occasions that their traditional monarchs and nobles exercise the most of their residual power.
1. Calabar Carnival
Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria, also tagged ” Africa’s Biggest Street Party”, was created as part of the vision of making the Cross River State, Nigeria, the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourists all over the world. The carnival which begins every 1 December and lasts until 31 December has boosted the cultural mosaic of Nigeria people while entertaining millions of spectators within and outside the State, and boosting industry for all stakeholders.
The Calabar Carnival has come a long way. It started in 2004, when the governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, had a vision of making the state a hub for tourism and hospitality in Nigeria and Africa. The Carnival presents a perfect platform from brand visibility for consumer and market awareness. “According to Osima-Dokubo, the carnival aimed to include more aspects of local heritage and culture and at the same time strengthen the capacity of the locals to participate in an economically beneficial way.” Recently, Cross River State has become the pride of Nigeria in the areas of tourism, carnivals and hospitality.
The programme of the event at the carnival are drafted each year by the committee in charge of tourism and cultural activities and new initiatives are introduced every year. In December 2009, Carnival Committee organized “Carnival Cup 2009”, a football competition amongst the five competing carnival bands – Seagull, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Bayside and Freedom. The Festival also included music performance from both local and international artists, the annual Calabar Carnival, Boat regatta, Fashion shows, Christmas Village, traditional dances and the annual Ekpe Festival is a yearly events that brings in thousands of tourists.
Other activities lined up for the year according to their work plan, include the second edition of Essay Writing Competition which will involve both secondary school and tertiary students, and this will commence in a few weeks. These competitions are aimed at resuscitating the reading culture amongst the youths of the State as well as inculcating the carnival culture.
The event has hosted top Nigerian musicians, Nollywood Actors, Politicians and international artists. Over the last 4 years international artists like, the late Lucky Dube, Akon, Fat Joe, Young Jeezy, Nelly, Kirk Franklin, and many more has thrilled the large crowd of Nigerians and tourist from outside the country. Due to large crowd and fans that Nigerians artist carries, 2013 Calabar Carnival was focused on Nigerian artist.
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