Top 6 Cultural Festivals In Nigeria
Nigeria is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Its large population of 180 million is made up of people with different cultural heritage spanning across over 250 tribes and 420 different languages.
Nigeria is deeply rooted in culture and tradition which it proudly showcases to the world through various cultural festivals. Some of these festivals have received attention from people from other parts of the world so much that tourists and culture lovers from around the world visit the country annually for some of these festivals.
In this article, we will be taking a look at the top 6 cultural festivals in Nigeria.
- Osun – Oshogbo Festival
The osun-oshogbo festival takes place in the month of August every year at the osun Oshogbo groove in Osun state. The Osun-Osogbo Grove is among the last of the sacred forests which usually adjoined the edges of most Yoruba cities before the infiltration of massive urbanization. In recognition of its global significance and its cultural value, the Sacred Grove was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.[source]
Major activities at the osun-oshogbo festival includes ‘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. [source]
- Eyo Festival
Eyo festival is an annual festival that is held in Lagos. The festival features a major parade with participants (masquerades referred to as “Eyo”) dressed in white flowing robes that cover their entire body, top hats, and sticks.
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 the focus on the Lagos Island and attracts a large number of tourists from around the world. [source]
- Argungu Festival
The argungu festival is an annual event that happens in the Northern part of Nigeria around February and March. The festival is popularly known for its fishing competition. The festival takes place in Kebbi state.
Major activities at the festival include; bare hand fishing, canoe racing, and a competitive feast.
The major objective of the festival is to assess the fishing skills of the locals. The participant who catches the biggest fish is always declared as the Argungu fishing champion.
- New Yam Festival
The new yam festival takes place in the eastern part of Nigeria by the Igbo natives. The New Yam Festival is locally referred to as Iriji-Mmanwu, Iwa ji, Iri ji or Ike ji, in Igbo language.
The festival is a celebration depicting the prominence of yam in the social-cultural life of Igbo people.
The evening prior to the day of the festival, all old yams (from the previous year’s crop) are consumed or discarded. This is because it is believed that the New Year must begin with tasty, fresh yams instead of the old dried-up crops of the previous year.
- Durbar Festival
Durbar festival is an annual festival celebrated in several northern cities of Nigeria. It is celebrated at the culmination of Muslim festivals Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Major activities at the Durbar includes; prayers, followed by a parade of the Emir and his entourage on horses, accompanied by music players, and ending at the Emir’s palace.
Durbar festivals are organized in cities such as Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zaria and Bida.
- Ojude Oba Festival
Ojude oba is an annual festival that takes place in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state the southern part of Nigeria. The festival takes place 2days after festivals Muslim festivals Eid al- Adha. Major activities includes; The outing of the Awujale of Ijebu land, dancing and merriment starting from the palace down to every house in the city.