Selected Festivals in Nigeria and other countries.

Selected Festivals in Nigeria and other countries.

One of the most fascinating things about going to any country and Nigeria as a tourist is to escape the ordinary and experience weird and mind-blowing festivals around the country. There are scores of fascinating and mind blowing cultures, traditional and customs which are colourfully expressed in festivals

This project is focused on researching on a few of the numerous note-worthy festivals in Nigeria and around the world:

The pupils and students carried were involved in this research on the selected festivals in Nigeria and other parts of the world. They came up with useful information write ups and images excerpts are shown below.

Eyo Festival
In the past, the Eyo Festival takes place when they want to escort the soul of any departed King or Chief in Lagos and also in welcoming another king. White clad Eyo masquerades are seen in their thousands with some as tall as a palm when they move around, this festival is celebrated in Tinubu Square Lagos and these masquerades can beat up people who are seen with bicycles, motorcycles, suku which is a popular hairstyle among the Yorubas, those who are putting on sandals and anyone who smokes during the festival.
Osun Sango Festival
Sango Festival is a celebration to honour an ancient hero, Sango – the god of thunder in Oyo State. In this festival the Sango faithful are decorated in a weird manner, all dressed in red while the Ifa priests are clothed in white regalia. Masquerades, drummers and hundreds of traditional dancers still give this festival one of the most respected and experienced by thousands of tourists around the world.
The Benin Festival
The Benin Festival is held every four years, at the end of raining season in Benin. Thousands of people gather together to witness this weird festival, where eligible men and women in the prime are put in this matchmaking festival as they become ritually acquainted. In the olden days, these young men come out nude, but nowadays, they are clothed and heavily painted. It is only the wealthy families in Benin who can afford this expensive ceremony. The ladies are beautiful dressed with heavy costumes.
 Leboku  Leboku New Yam Festival
If you want to experience the New Yam festival that would involve the celebration of the ancestral spirits and the earth goddess, you should visit Yakurr in Cross River State where Leboku New Yam Festival takes place. This annual festival has a lot of weird activities which take place within three weeks. Activities such as engaged maidens are paraded, exchange of visits to families, the ancestors are appeased and no one is permitted to do any intense farming. Women dressed in beautiful attires parade new harvested yams at the beginning of the festival.
Argungu Fishing Festival
This colourful fishing festival is witnessed in a village called Argungu in Kebbi State. This festival is a sort of extreme fishing that is held for four days and thousands of competitors are seen inside the Malan Fada River to catch the biggest fishes with either traditional fishing nets or with their bare hands. Imagine catching fishes that weighs more than a human with bare hands; this makes the festival very weird.
 Osun o Osun Festival
At the end of the raining season in August, the Osun Festival is held at the creepy Oshogbo Sacred Forest for seven days, the Osun devotees celebrates the river goddess, Oshun where the deity priests conduct rituals for protection of the locals. Barren women are believed to be blessed with children when they attend this festival.
 Olojo Festival
The Olojo Festival is held in Ife, Osun State where the Ooni ( The King of Ife) separates himself from the world for communion with the spirits to make him pure before the festival and rids his palace of evil forces. The King the lead his people to Okemogun shrine, where he renews his oath as an Ooni at the foot of Oketage hill by a priest.
Sharo Cultural Festival
The Sharo cultural festival is witnessed by the Fulani tribe of northern Nigeria, this festival is a traditional rite of passage for the young men who want to get married. There is no love story in this festival because these men are led into a ring without clothes, the man who endures the flogging from men armed with whips amid drumming, loud cheering from the crowd and singing without crying out wins the hand of the bride in question. This festival is so weird because it is believed that any man who can withstand the intense pain from flogging is a strong man, scars gotten are forever.
Ivbamen Festival
You may have attended some weird festivals in different parts of the world; a visit to Ozalla in Enugu State would present you to the Ivbamen Festival where boys are initiated in a ceremony that involves some spiritual rites and rituals.
 The Onitsha Ivory Festival
We have talked about the festivals that are mostly dominated by the men, but in Onitsha Ivories Festival, it is the women who indulge in weird activities, wives of wealthy men are seen collecting ivory and coral that would be used to design their own costumes. Any woman who has been able to acquired plenty coral and ivory to decorate her ivory costume will be given the prestigious title ‘Ozo’ – An Ivory holder. To be qualified, the participant is expected to have two large pieces of ivory, which weigh 25 kilos each.
Diwali is a five day festival that represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It’s known as the “Festival of Lights” for all the fireworks, small clay lamps, and candles that are lit during the celebrations. These lights are said to represent the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. The candlelight makes Diwali a very warm and atmospheric festival, and it’s observed with much joy and happiness.
 Holi Holi
Holi is a two day festival that also celebrates the victory of good over evil, as well as the abundance of the spring harvest season. It’s commonly referred to as the “Festival of Colors”. People exuberantly throw colored powder and water all over each other, have parties, and dance under water sprinklers. Bhang (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations. Holi is a very carefree festival that’s great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
Dragon Boat Festival
Also known as Duanwu Festival is a traditional and important celebration in China. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of Chinis nular calendar with boat racing, health-related customs, honouring Qu Yuan and others and sticky rice is popularly eaten during this festival.
 Ghost Hungry Ghost Festival
The Chinese have special customs regarding dead people and their ghosts that are thousands of years old.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. This day falls in July or August in our Western calendar. In southern China, the Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated by some on the 14th day of the seventh lunar month. The people there are said to have begun celebrating the festival a day earlier during a time of long warfare to avoid being attacked by enemies during the inauspicious day.
They perform special ceremonies to avoid the wrath of the ghosts such as putting the family’s ancestral tablets on a table, burning incense, and preparing food three times that day. The main ceremony is usually held at dusk. People put the family’s ancestral tablets and old paintings and photographs on a table and then burn incense near them. Plates of food are put out for the ghosts on the table, and the people may kowtow in front of the memorial tablets and report their behaviour to their ancestors to receive a blessing or punishment. People also feast on this night, and they might leave a place open at the table for a lost ancestor.
They want to feed the hungry ghosts who have been wandering the land since the beginning of Hungry Ghost Month. It is thought that after two weeks of activity, they must be very hungry.
Dipo (puberty rite)
Dipo is traditional festival celebrated by the people of Odumase in the Eastern region of Ghana. The festival is celebrated yearly in the month of April. The festival is used to usher into puberty, girls who are virgins and it signifies that a lady, who partakes in it, is of age to be married. Parents upon hearing announcement of the rites send their qualified girls to the chief priest. However these girls would have to go through rituals and tests to prove their chastity before they qualify to partake in the festival.
On the first day of the rites, the girls have their heads shaved and dressed with cloth around their waist to just their knee level. This is done by a special ritual mother and it signifies their transition from childhood to. They are paraded to the entire community as the initiates (dipo-yi).
Early the next morning, the chief priest gives the initiates a ritual bath. He pours libation to ask for blessings for the girls. He then washes their feet with the blood of goat which their parents presented. This is to drive away any spirit of barrenness. The crucial part of the rite is when the girls sit on the sacred stone. This is to prove their virginity. However, any girl found to be pregnant or not a virgin is detested by the community and does not entice a man from the tribe.
The girls are then housed for a week, where they are given training on cooking, housekeeping, child birth and nurture. The ritual mothers give them special lessons on seduction and how to treat their husbands right. They learn the Klama dance which will be performed on the final day of the rites.
After the one week schooling, they are finally released and the entire community gather to celebrate their transition into womanhood. They are beautifully dressed in rich kente cloth accessorised with beads around their waist, neck and arms. With singing and drumming, they perform the Klama dance. At this point, any man interested in any one of them can start investigating into her family. It is assumed that any lady who partakes in the rites not only brings honour to herself but to her family at large.


Dipo 2