12 Popular Cultural Festivals in Nigeria
Cultural festivals in Nigeria are very well celebrated. It’s one major thing that is unique about the Nigerian people.
Therefore, if you are looking for a way to learn so much about the Nigerian peoples, try attending one of our cultural festivals.
This post identifies some of the top popular cultural festivals in Nigeria.
1. Eyo Festival
The Yoruba people particular based in Lagos are known to celebrate the Eyo festival. It has become so popular over the years that other tribes and foreigners often join in to celebrate the epic event in Lagos, Nigeria.
The indigenes also known as “Isale Eko”, celebrate ‘Eyo’, a cultural and traditional masquerade display, which emerges from the Iga (palace) of the Oba (king) or any of his cabinet members.
Many visitors have testified to the fun activities showcased on this special occasion. Hence, it has been described as one of the most popular cultural festivals in Nigeria today.
2. New Yam Festival
The New Yam Festival is one of the major cultural festivals in Nigeria. This annual cultural festival is common among tribes in Nigeria (Idoma, Igbo, Yoruba, etc.)
It usually takes place at the end of the rainy season in early August and keenly observed mostly by the people of the Middle belt, South and East of Nigeria.
It is a bonding factor among the Igbo communities and also symbolizes abundance of produce. It is usually a period where the indigenes celebrate nature and show gratitude to their creator for providence.
3. Ojude Oba Festival
This is another major festival celebrated in Ijebu. It is one that is used to show appreciation to the ruling
monarch by the indegenes.
This tradition goes as far back as 1892 where the then reigning king allowed foreign religions such as Islam and
Christianity in the land and also allowed them to build places of worship.
Hence, this period is used to show appreciation and to promote their cultural values.
4. Egungun Festival
Another popular cultural festival in Nigeria is Egungun festival. This is common among south-western states of Nigeria.
The Egungun festival is a part of the Yoruba traditional religion. It is performed to mark the death of important personalities, the festival is common among the Egbas, Egbados, Oyo and other parts of southwestern Nigeria. The festival is usually an annual celebration performed within the months of November to April when there is no rain, with the belief that their ancestor should not have to suffer in the rain.
It is equally regarded as one of the major cultural festivals in Nigeria.
5. Ofala Festival
This historical Festival is celebrated among the Igbo people as a sign of authority and legitimacy of the ruler in the land to guide the people on the path of truth and wisdom.
The festival got its name from Ofo (Authority) and Ala (Land). Today, the age-long social tradition has gained global recognition, therefore, it has become a major tourist attraction in Igboland.
People are often honored with chieftain titles as a way of marking the famous event.
Because this cultural event is recognized globally, it’s regarded as one of the major cultural festivals in Nigeria.
6. Argungu Fishing Festival
The exciting spectators and the anxious competitors at this cultural is one thing that makes Argungu Fishing Festival an epic one.
The festival presents an opportunity for the different tribes in the north to unite and compete healthily for fun.
These exciting competitors are known to swim the river in search of the biggest fishes. The ecstasy at this festival makes it a famous festival.
7. Osun Festival
The Osun Festival is acclaimed as one of the most popular cultural festivals in Nigeria today.
People from all walks of life make their ways to Osun State each year to witness this great event. There are several activities planned around the festival, as tourists and visitors all come to witness, interact and partake in the two-week long celebration.
The Osun Festival is also acclaimed to provide solutions to people’s problems when they pay visit to the Oshun River.
8. Calabar Carnival
The Calabar Carnival is acclaimed the biggest street party in Africa . The state-wide carnival has successfully become a unique event where people from all over the country and beyond go to have crazy fun and experience amazing hospitality.
This festival is known for extremely amazing performances. The colorful costumes, outstanding performances and dancing, street parades and many others make Calabar Carnival a very special event.
9. Lagos Carnival
The Lagos Carnival is one of the most celebrated cultural festivals in Nigeria. The event is fully packed with attractive activities. Visitors from around the world and within make new friends at the event.
Usually centred on the Lagos Island, the event is filled with troop displays of beautiful costumes and various forms of entertainment including music and dancing.
10. Durbar Festival
The Durbur Festival is also known as Hawan Daushe and it is a royal parade of thousands of men on horses adorned with garments and regalia.
Villagers gather at the public square or in front of the Emir’s palace where the final parade holds to celebrate.
The festival often begins with prayers, followed by a parade of the Emir and his entourage of horses, accompanied by music players, and ending at the Emir’s palace.
It is a colourful display of culture full of pomp and pageantry. A spectacular traditional concert of and bazaar of African music. It is celebrated at the culmination of Muslim festivals Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
11. Sango Festival
This is an event very popular among the Yoruba people. Sango was known to be a supernatural being with exceptional powers.
Because of his divine prowess and awesome deeds, the Yorubas celebrate him and worship him as a deity.
The Sango Festival attracts visitors from all walks of life.
This Port Harcourt Carnival combines a contemporary Caribbean style carnival and a cultural carnival changes.
The Carnival starts a few weeks before Christmas and lasts for seven days. During this time several ceremonial events are held, most of which hold some cultural and or sacred significance.
The Carnival also features musical performances from both local and international artists.
Although the above mentioned are major events, there are several other cultural festivals in Nigeria. Perhaps we have left out some of the top cultural festivals. Tell us about other cultural festivals you know or have witnessed.