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Five Nigerian Festivals To Look Forward To

Nigeria has a population of over 186 million people and more than 300 tribes. Each tribe has its peculiar cultural elements, but the beauty and the heritage are synonymous to all. This rich cultural diversity cuts across the tribes and is evident in the various traditional festivals put on display.

While some of them have occurred in the first half of the year, here are a few you should be looking forward to for the rest of the year.

1. Durbar Festival

Durbar Festival is an annual festival celebrated in Kano and other cities in the northern part of Nigeria. The festival marks the end of Ramadan and is shared with the Eid-al-Fitr holiday. At this festival, there are prayers and a display led by the Emir. This is closely followed by a procession of horsemen, acrobats and musicians clad in colourful attire.

Durbar Festival. Photo: Nowo Blog

2. Calabar Carnival

The Calabar Carnival held in Cross River State starts from the first to the 31st of December every year. Dubbed ‘Africa’s Biggest Street Party’, it originated out of a need to increase the tourism potential of the state and the country at large. Since 2014, it has become one of the most attended festivals, hosting both locals and foreigners.

Calabar Carnival. Photo: Hotels Ng

3. Igogo Festival

The Igogo Festival is held in Owo in Ondo State between the months of September and October. It honours Queen Oronsen, one of the early queens of the land. During the festival, the Olowo of Owo and his high chiefs dress like women with coral beads, beaded gowns and plaited hair. It features a lot of side attractions like the dance of the bare-chested men, the celebration of new yam and the procession and dancing in the market.

Igogo Festival. Photo: Taiwo’s Blog

4. Ofala Festival

The Ofala Festival held annually in October is a memorial ceremony for the remembrance of the date that the Obi of Onitsha was coronated. It is widely revered by indigenes who travel back home to join in the dancing and singing and connect with their peers. The highlight of the activities is the emergence of the Obi in his royal regalia after which he dances in the arena, an act which is rarely seen. Individuals are honoured with chieftaincy titles and homage is paid to the Obi.

Ofala Festival. Photo: Guardian Nigeria

5. Igue Festival

The Igue Festival is peculiar to the Benin people and is held once a year in December. It is forbidden to hold any burial or funeral ceremonies in the Benin kingdom during this period. This is because this festival is seen as a period of joy and should not be interrupted by any form of public mourning. There is a purification of the land by the Oba and, afterwards, he is taken for his purification.

Igue Festival. Photo: Hotels Ng

If you are looking to soak yourself in culture and tradition on your holiday this year, you should try out one of these festivals.

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