The Nigerian Festival and Cultural Tours

Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic in West Africa. The rich historic traditions and culture of the country made a mark as one of the popular tours of travelers from other countries. The extensive history of the Nigerian people continues to evolve in their festivals and cultural celebrations. Many people from all walks of life enjoyed the cultural hotspots matched with scenic beauty of Nigeria.

The cultural and festival tours in Nigeria offer a wide variety of cultural hotspots from luxury to budgeted trips. The two major hotspots are the cities of Abuja and Lagos. These are the two important places and major centers of sightseeing in Nigeria. Some of the popular festivals of the Festival and Cultural Tours of Nigeria are:

Argungu Fishing Festival

The Argungu Festival marks the end of the fishing period and the old opposition between the Kebbi Kingdom and the Sokoto Caliphate . It is held annually from March 12 to 15 in the northwestern state of Arugungu, Kebbi. The festival began in August 1934 when Sultan Dan Mu’azu visited the place.

The festival is one of the major cultural celebrations in Nigeria. A grand fishing festival was organized and joined by hundreds of local men armed with fishnets to harvest fish. There are also canoes filled with drummers. People rattle large seed-filled gourds so as to take the fish towards shallow waters.

Argungu Fishing Festival offers many fish competitions as well as canoe racing, bare handed fishing, wild duck hunting, swimming and diving competitions. The final day of the festival showcases a competition of hunting the largest fish. Winners can take home as mush as $7,500. There were also singing, dancing and drinking after the event.

Benin Festival

The Benin Festival is held at the end of every rainy season after harvesting. It is also called a harvest festival but it focuses mainly on the acquaintance of the men and women of the village. The matchmaking ceremony occurs once every four years of the wealthy families. Girls are adorned with heavy armlets and ornaments and coral beads on their hair. Boys take part in the tug-of-war game to demonstrate their strengths. Both girls and boys have paints on their bodies.

Durbar Festival

Durbar (military parade) Festival is a parade of horsemen dated back hundred of year ago. This is the time when the Emirate uses horses and invited regiments in the north during warfare. The festival is held in Katsina and Kano. It was organized in honor of Emir.

A parade showcases their horsemanship as a tribute to their loyalty to the Emirate and the preparedness for war. Now, it is being celebrated as an honor for the heads of State and the end of the two Muslim festivals such as Ide-el Kabir (sacrificing a ram instead of Prophet Ibrahim’s son) and the Id-el Fitri (end of Ramadan month).

The celebration has many performances of drummers, singers, royal cavalry and wrestlers. Id-el-Kabir or Sallah Day begins with a prayer followed by a horse procession to the public square. Each district and village group takes their assigned place racing across at full gallop and swords sparkling up. Emir was the last to arrive wherein the people passes and stop to salute him raising their swords. There were lots of dancing, singing and drumming after the event with small bands performing shadi.

Eyo Festival

The Eyo Festival is held as the final burial rites for a chief by the Lagos people. It is the pioneer of the present day Brazil carnival. There is a procession from Idumota towards Iga Idunganran. People who take part on the festival will pay homage onto Oba of Lagos.

Igue Festival

Igue Festival is a thanksgiving festival that takes place at Benim City. It is one of the oldest cultural festivals held every year for peace and prosperity.

Sharo or Shadi Festival

Shadi (flogging meeting) Festival is about age-old initiations originated among the Jaful Fulani culture. There are bare-chested unmarried men who enter the center of the ring escorted with beautiful girls trying to frighten his opponent. Cheers and drumming are present as the challenger comes out handling a whip (belt) to flog his opponent without showing pain.

Other festivals in Nigeria are the Shango Festival (celebrates the god of thunder), Yam Festival in the south, Ikwerre, Kalabari and the Okrika festivals by the Niger Delta tribe.

Nigerian festivals were the origin of the traditional religious and cultural heritage of Nigeria. The Festival and Cultural Tours offers great celebrations and fun filled experiences of singing and dancing as well as information on the past history of Nigeria’s culture.