10 Most Popular Colourful Cultural Festivals in Nigeria

Filed in Articles by on October 9, 2020

There are lots of festivals in Nigeria, some of which have been in existence before the coming of the major religions in this ethnically and culturally different society.

Cultural Festivals

The major Muslim and Christian festivals are mostly celebrated in ways that are unique and amazing to Nigeria or unique to other people.

The discourse explains 10 out of the numerous popular, interesting, and colorful cultural festivals in the country, and where they are being originated.

Popular Cultural Festivals in Nigeria

Below is the list of the best colorful festivals held in Nigeria.

1. The Calabar Carnival

The Calabar Carnival

The Calabar Carnival started in 2004 and was the idea of the then  Cross River State Governor Mr. Donald Duke who had an idea of making the state a center for tourism and hospitality in Nigeria and Africa at large.

The Carnival comes with an amazing platform for brand visibility for consumer and market awareness.

The aim of the carnival according to Osima-Dokubo includes more aspects of local heritage and culture and at the same time boosts the capacity of the locals to partake and to benefit them economically.

Of recent, Cross River State has become the pride of Nigeria in the sphere of tourism, carnivals, and hospitality.

The Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria. It was made as a major aspect of the vision of making the Cross River State, Nigeria, the main traveling goal for Nigerians and tourists everywhere throughout the world.

The jubilee which starts each 1 December and goes on until 31 December has helped the social mosaic of Nigerian individuals while engaging a great many observers inside and outside the State, and boosting industry for all partners.

2. The Eyo Festival

The Eyo Festival

The origin of this unique festival is found in the inner workings of the secret societies of Lagos. In ancient times, The Eyo festival was conducted to match the spirit of a deceased Lagos King or Chief and to usher in another king.

It is believed that the festival is among the manifestations of the customary African festivities that serve as the forerunner of the present carnival in Brazil.

On Eyo Day, the major highway in the center of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, permitting for March from Idumota to the Iga Idunganran palace.

The white-clad Eyo masquerades signify the spirits of the dead and are called in Yoruba as “ogogoro Eyo” (Meaning: “tall Eyo”)

The Eyo festival is very significant, especially to the Yoruba tribe. In present times, it is celebrated by the people of Lagos as a tourist event and due to its history, is traditionally celebrated on Lagos Island in Lagos state Nigeria.

3. The Lagos Carnival

The Lagos Carnival

The Lagos carnival festival also known as the Fanti or Caretta Carnival of Lagos is among the most prominent in West Africa.

The carnival is held during the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, a colorful folk festival that is held per annum in Lagos. The origins of the carnival go as far back as the Lagos colonial era when the Brazilian slave returnees came back to live in Lagos in the 19th century.

The carnival was re-instated in 2010. The carnival is held on Lagos Island and it is filled with troop views of good-looking costumes and numerous forms of entertainment plus music and dancing.

The carnival depicts an eclectic combination of the Nigerian, Brazilian, and Cuban heritage of the city.

4. Osun Festival

Osun Festival

The origin of the Osun festival began over 700 years ago when a group of immigrants headed by the great hunter, Olutimehin settled on the bank of the river to run from the famine in their previous dwelling place.

The water goddess, Osun was said to have appeared to Olutimehin and demanded him and his group to move up a little to higher ground – the current Osogbo town.

Osun promised to guard the group and make their women fertile if they would offer a yearly sacrifice to her in return. The group approved, vowing to sacrifice yearly to the goddess believing that she would honor her promise.

Currently, the yearly sacrifice isn’t just limited to offering sacrifices to a river goddess; it is now an international festival of cultural events drawing people from all over the world.

5. Sango Festival

Sango Festival

Sango Festival is a year-to-year celebration done by the Yoruba people in honor of Sango, the thunder and fire god who was a warrior and the third king of the Oyo Empire after following Ajaka his elder brother.

The name was changed in 2013 to the World Sango Festival by the government of Oyo State; the festival is commonly held in August at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo and is also celebrated in over forty countries in the world.

6. Ojude Oba

Ojude Oba

Ojude Oba festival is being held in  Ijebu Ode, a small town in Ogun State, Southwestern Nigeria. The festival is held yearly on the third day after Eid al-Kabir. The festival started over 100 years ago.

Now, the festival is mostly attended by about   250000 people all across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

The festival is mostly supported by the incumbent Awujale, the people of Ijebu-Ode, individuals, and corporate groups.

7. The Carniriv

The Carniriv

The Carniriv is a yearly festival held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Carnival begins a few weeks before Christmas and continues for seven days. Throughout this time lots of ceremonial events are held, most of which hold some cultural and or sacred importance.

The Port Harcourt Carnival holds a certain distinctiveness as it combines two carnivals – an entirely cultural carnival and a modern Caribbean-style carnival- in one. There are also musical performances from both local and international artists.

The Government of Rivers State knows Carniriv as its major tourism export. With economic interests progressively identifying tourism as a viable substitute to the fossil fuel economy- particularly in these parts.

8. Ofala Festival

Ofala Festival

The Ofala Festival is held by the Igbo people, mostly the indigenes of Onitsha, Umuoji, and other neighboring communities like Aguleri, Nnewi, and Ukpo in Dunukofia people.

The festival is a rite of renewal of the king or Igwe or Obi and it is like the Igue festival held in  Benin and the Ine, Osi or Ogbanigbe Festival in several mid-West Igbo communities of Nigeria.

The term ofala is derived from two Igbo words – ofo which means authority in English and ala means land in English.

The festival is done within two days normally in October by the Obi, which is the king, and is a customary duty that must be done every couple of years without fail.

9. Argungu Fishing Festival

Argungu Fishing Festival

You may have encountered some captivating water exercises far and wide yet on the off chance that you have not been to the Argungu fishing festival, your rundown may not be finished.

The charming elements of the festival, the energizing onlookers, and the on-edge contenders who are prepared to jump inside the river to start their search for the greatest fish make this fishing festival unprecedented and lovely.

10. New Yam Festivals

New Yam Festivals

One festival that is popular and celebrated around the country is the New Yam Festival which is held in Leboku in Ugep, Cross River State to the Iriji-Mmanwu festival in Enugu, the festival is been celebrated in pomp and cultural ways.

Lots of masquerades, dancers in beautiful ware, acrobatic displays, and fetish practice. The festival is amazing

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