One thing you cannot take away from Nigeria is her affluently diverse cultural outlook. Saying its rich and highly-varied would be saying the least. From East to West, North to South, Nigeria’s rich heritage speak volumes of the versatility and industry of her people. Let us introduce you to the breath-taking beauty of a motley of Nigerian cultural festivals. Nigeria indeed, is a paradise on earth!
The Arugungu fishing festival
Call it the Fishing-Frenzy Festival. It’s one of the most famous cultural festivals in Nigeria, and is celebrated to mark the beginning of the fishing season in Arugungu, a river-side town in Kebbi state. Celebrated between February and March every year, AFF sees most local men and boys entering the Argungun river, armed with large fishnet sccops. They are joined by canoes filled with drummers, plus men rattling huge seed-filled gourds to drive the fish to shallow waters. Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish is harvested. This is followed by Canoe racing, wild duck hunting, bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and swimming. There is drinking, singing and dancing into the night afterwards. A fun time indeed you would say!
Eyo is not just unique, but central to the city of Lagos, Africa’s largest Metropolis. It’s widely believed that Eyo is the forerunner of a modern day carnival in Brazil. How Interesting! On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of Nigeria’s traditional capital and Africa is closed. That establishes the importance of this festival to the people of Lagos!
The Shango festival celebrates the god of thunder, an ancestor who is said to have hanged himself. Sacrifices are made at the shrine of the god for 20 days, right at the compound of the hereditary priest. On the final day, the priest becomes possessed by the god and gains magical powers. He ‘spits’ fire and swallows gunpowder. Interesting, you would say!The procession goes off to the Oba’s palace and the feast begins, accompanied by palm wine, roasted meat, and more dancing.
In the past, the priest of this cult would have been a very rich and powerful man. With the decline in power of the Obas, and the large numbers of people who no longer profess to believe in the old pantheon of gods, the priests of such cults are now much poorer and less powerful than they once were.
The Benin festival
Benin Festival is held at the end of every rainy season after harvest has been gathered. This festival also serves to get eligible young men and women acquainted, mostly in the village square. Both boys and girls have elaborate markings painted on their bodies. The boys also take part in a tug-of -war contest, a test of their strength.
The new yam festival
New Yam Festival (a.k.a. Iri-ji) – is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by the Igbos. It is celebrated in the month of August every year. Each Igbo community has a specific day in the month of August for this occasion. The day symbolizes the conclusion of a work cycle [farming season] and the beginning of another. Invitation to the new yam festival is usually open to everyone that is, there is abundant food not only for the harvesters, but also for friends and well-wishers. Cultural dances and a host of other festivities mark the eating of new yam.
Thanks to 5 points Magazine Moscow.