NIGERIAN FESTIVALS AND OCCASIONS

Bayo Ajibola

NIGERIAN FESTIVALS. With a population of 180 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.

Nigeria has many local festivals that date back to the time before the arrival of the major religions, and which are still occasions for masquerade and dance. The local festivals cover an enormous range of events, from harvest festivals and betrothal festivals, to the investing of a new chief and funerals. It seems odd to Western ways of thinking to see a funeral as something to be celebrated. But for many of the tribes, death means joining the ancestors, and so the deceased must get a good send-off.

The dances that were once performed by members of each village have now been taken over by professional troupes, who tour villages performing at each local festival.

The Muslim year revolves around the three major festivals, Id Al Fitri, Id Al Kabir, and Id Al Maulud. The main event in the Islamic calendar is the festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month-long observation of fasting. During the hours of sunlight no one must eat or drink; some very religious people will not even swallow. Each evening at dusk is a celebration of sorts, as the family prepares to break the fast. In towns people do so by going out to one of the markets, where stallholders will be prepared for the hungry people. At the end of Ramadan there is a celebration, which varies in style among the different Muslim tribes.

The Christian calendar is also celebrated, mainly in the south of the country. Christian groups have moved closer to the rituals of their indigenous religions when celebrating Christian festivals.

Although there are over 200 cultural festivals in the Nigeria (every day is dedicated to a particular festival in Ile-Ife, Osun State), here are the major local festivals that you’d like to know about.

ABUJA/LAGOS FESTIVAL,ARGUNGU FISHING FESTIVAL,THE BENIN FESTIVAL,THE CALABAR FESTIVAL,EYO FESTIVAL,THE DURBAR FESTIVAL,THE EGUNGUN FESTIVAL,THE OFALA FESTIVAL,THE IRIJI-MMANWU FESTIVAL,THE OJUDE-OBA FESTIVAL,THE NEW YAM FESTIVAL,THE OSUN OSOGBO FESTIVAL,THE SANGO FESTIVAL,REVIFEST


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