26 Nov Top Ten Nigerian Cultural Festivals That you Cannot Afford to Miss
Nigeria is rich in ethnicity and culture. So, when planning a trip to Nigeria, you may want to target the time for the best Nigerian Cultural Festivals.
Significance of Top Ten Nigerian Cultural Festivals That you Cannot Afford to Miss
Nigeria is a land that has a very rich culture, and the only way to truly experience this culture is to join in its celebration. They could be many reasons for the celebration of this cultural festival. Some could be to honour a god, some could be just a party, and some could be to fulfil certain cultural rites.
Nevertheless, there is a purpose for each of these cultural celebrations, and we will be indulging you in the ten most beautiful cultural festivals celebrated in Nigeria. Here we have discussed ten Nigerian cultural festivals you will want to experience.
1. Eyo Festival:
This is one of the most popular cultural festivals in the country. It is celebrated mainly to honour a leader. It could be in honour of an Oba who died to usher in a newly crowned Oba or a chief from a ruling family. It is a Yoruba cultural celebration peculiar to Lagos, Nigeria. Eyo is not an annual event; in fact, there was a time the Eyo festival was not celebrated for 20 years. The features of this grand cultural event include a masquerade display and various local dancing art.
2. The New Yam Festival:
This could as well be called a Thanksgiving cultural celebration. The event is mostly celebrated in the southern and eastern parts of Nigeria. During the new yam festival, people come together to give thanks to their gods, especially the god of harvest. They thank the gods for a successful farming season and pray for a better year ahead. The new yam festival holds towards the end of the rainy season (between July and October). The new yarm festival is an annual event. Some tribes, especially the Igbo, mark the celebration with other cultural displays like the masquerade, and special foods. The main meals served during this occasion are variants of food types made of yam. The new yam festival lasts for four (4) market days – eke, orie, afor, nkwo. The first day, which marks the main celebration, is the first market day – eke.
3. The Calabar Carnival:
The purpose of this cultural festival is not really clear, but most scholars have said that it’s just to showcase the beautiful features of Cross River State and to continuously prove
to Nigerians that it is one of the best tourist hubs in Nigeria. The cultural festival is marked by amazing street performances. The celebration kick starts in early December. It is an annual carnival. The cultural displays include – assorted foods, masquerade dances, and so much more, showcasing the richness of the culture of the Calabar people and Nigeria as a whole.
4. Osun-Osogbo Festival:
The cultural festival is both enjoyable and problem-solving as people usually come here to get solutions to their problems. The festival is to honour a deity known as the Osun river goddess. It begins in August and lasts for two weeks. During the festival, traditional rites, which include sacrifices, are made. Despite the core rites, the festival also encourages the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria, which makes the event totally worthwhile.
5. Ojude Oba Festival:
This is a cultural festival done to pay homage to the traditional ruler of the Ijebu land. The heritage of the event can be traced back to 1982 when the traditional ruler of Ijebu land signed a treaty with the British Queen, allowing their missionaries to spread the good news of Christianity in Ijebu land. He went as far as giving out land and allowing them to build a cathedral there. He also allowed the children to be baptized. He also gave the Muslims land to build their Mosque, so on the third day of the Ileya Festival (Eid-el-Kabir), the people pay homage to the traditional ruler for his benevolence.
This is another event that holds some cultural significance. It is celebrated to bring attention to the beautiful city of Port Harcourt. The festival combines two carnivals – a purely cultural carnival and a contemporary Caribbean-style carnival. The cultural festival lasts seven days; it starts a few days before Christmas.
7. Lagos Carnival:
The purpose of this festival is simply to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of various cultures from Nigeria to Liberia and even Brazil. It is held during the black heritage festival. Lagos carnival is done this way because it started hundreds of years ago when slaves came back from different cultures like Brazil, Cuba, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Their meeting point was the city of Lagos; for this, the Lagos carnival was born. Lagos carnival takes place in May. It features a colourful display of cultures and traditions from different cultures that represents it.
8. Ofala Festival:
This is one of the oldest cultural festivals in the Igbo land, and its purpose is to honour the authority of the traditional ruler of the land. It also marks the end of the thirteenth month in the Igbo calendar and the beginning of the new Igbo year. During this period, the Obi of Onitsha is adorned with colorful caps and traditional wear, and he and his chiefs paint the town red. Ofala is celebrated in Anambra state. It holds at the end of the year with traditional and cultural dance and the giving of chieftaincy titles to deserving candidates.
9. The Argungu Fishing Festival:
The purpose of this cultural festival is to encourage healthy and fun competition between fishermen. It is celebrated in February; it makes fishermen across the state of Kebbi come together and catch the biggest fish in a competition using only traditional nets. The citizens of Kebbi have fun religious rites making that to be more colourful.
10. The Egungun Festival:
Unfortunately, this is a cultural festival that is celebrated to mark the death of important personalities in the Yoruba Kingdom. The name Egungun refers to masquerades, which are in one way or the other connected to the ancestors of Egbas, Egbados, Oyo, and the Southwestern part of Nigeria. During this cultural festival, masquerades are made to dance and sing and the
festival usually takes place in November and April when the rain is not likely to fall. This is because the people believe that the spirits of their ancestors are in the masquerade. Their function is to cleanse the land. For this reason, they try to ensure that they don’t battle with the rain while doing that.
Nigeria is truly rich in its culture. Usually, during the festival periods, many more fun activities take place, and the town is packed to the brim. You might want to book accommodation a few days before the cultural festivals commence.
Share your views about Nigerian cultural festivals in the comment section below. Which of the ten Nigerian cultural festivals discussed here have you witnessed?