6 Most Colourful Festivals in Nigeria

Nigeria is famous for the beauty of its many tribes, their rich culture and history around the world. One very admirable trait common among the people is their respect and honour for their past. Every tribe, in its own way, celebrates their culture, rulers and fascinating deities through folktales and legends, songs, and of course, festivals. These festivals are no small matter as the people set apart time to meticulously plan for them, making sure that each event is always one to remember.

As there are many tribes in Nigeria so there are many festivals, but we have picked out six of the most colourful, vibrant and popular events that you do not want to miss on your next trip to the beautiful country.

1. The Calabar Festival

The Calabar Festival

One cannot mention the festivals in Nigeria without putting the Calabar Festival at the top of the list. It is no doubt one of the most exciting festivals in Africa, internationally referred to as ‘Africa’s Biggest Street Party’, and does a lot more than just celebrate the history of the lovely city of Calabar, Cross River State. With different themes each year, the carnival aims to not only commemorate the past but also to address matters in the modern age. This makes it not just a festival that Nigerians can enjoy, but one the whole world can relate to.

2. The Lagos Carnival

The Lagos Carnival

Also known as the Caretta or Fanti Carnival, this carnival is usually held in the middle of the Black Heritage Week festivities, where people from all over the world gather for the celebration. The festival dates back to the late 19th century, when Brazilian former slave returnees came and resided in Lagos. The carnival was re-established in 2010. It has since then served as an annual gathering of the coloured and is considered the most prominent festival in all of West Africa.

3. The Eyo Festival

The Eyo Festival

Lagos is known far and wide for its diversity and many festivals, with one of the most enthralling ones being the Eyo Masquerade Festival. The festival was brought to Lagos from Iperu in Ogun State and was first celebrated in the region on the 20th of February, 1854. Usually held in honour of the death of a chief or nobleman or to welcome notable personalities to the area, it has no fixed date and is only held on Saturdays. During that period, the entire region is painted all white as the masquerades parade the streets and different activities bring the city to life.

4. The Durbar Festival

The Durbar Festival

Durbar is a century-old festival held in most parts of Northern Nigeria every year and marks the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset celebrated by Muslims worldwide) and the beginning of the Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha holidays. The festival dates back to the 14th century in Kano, the largest city in Northern Nigeria, and attracts people from around the world. Most of the visitors are spectators of the Jahi race which is possibly the most exciting event in the entire festival. Originally organized as a way for the noblemen to pay homage to the Emir and show their horsemanship and readiness for war, it has gradually evolved throughout the years into an event that embodies the culture of the people of Kano, with the natives inviting many other tribes and nations to join in the celebration.

5. The Argungu Fishing Festival

The Argungu Fishing Festival

The Argungu Fishing Festival is an annual four-day festival celebrated in the state of Kebbi and other states in the northwestern region of Northern Nigeria. The festival began in the year 1934 as a mark of the end of the centuries-old hostility between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom. It has contributed largely to the progress and development of the state as a whole. Many activities are carried out during this carnival but the main attraction is the grand fishing contest, where men jump into the river at the sound of a gunshot and strive to catch the biggest fish. The top three winners stand a chance to win cash prizes and other handsome rewards.

6. The New Yam Festival

The New Yam Festival

Last but most certainly not least, we have the New Yam Festival commonly celebrated by the Igbo people of Nigeria, though many other tribes are known to observe the festivals well. It is considered a celebration of life in the various Igbo communities, marking the end of the old farming season and the beginning of a new one. One of the most highly regarded events in the communities that celebrate them, the festival begins with discarding the yam of the previous years. They dedicate the new yam to their various deities, and many people gather together to usher in the new farming season and enjoy their new yam.

If you’re looking for the perfect place to experience culture, history and just fun-filled excitement, then Nigeria is the number one spot for you. Plan your next trip to the rich country and encounter these wonderful festivals yourself. And we assure you, you will not regret it.

Also Read: 5 Most Interesting Cultural Monuments in Nigeria