Nigeria: 10 Colourful Festivals You Should Never Miss



There are so many things that make Nigeria a very beautiful country. Festivals is one of them. Across the country, every state has one festival or the other that gives colourful experience to tourists – a pleasant way to explore the rich cultural heritage. Below is a list of some of these festivals across states.

1. Ojude Oba Festival

Ojude Oba festival is a cultural heritage that is woven from threads of diversity, history, legend and conquest. ‘The King’s front year’ is the literal meaning of Ojude Oba. Visitors and Ijebu Ode descendants from all over the world return en masse to pay their homage to the king, the Awujale of Ijebuland. This takes place on the third day of the Ileya Festival, (Eid-el-Kabir). The festival highlights skilful horse riding, gunshots, parade by different age grades (regbe regbe), food and music.

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2. Calabar Carnival

Tagged as Africa’s biggest street party, the Calabar carnival is one to watch out for. The festival is adorned with amazing performances, celebration of creativity an culture. It holds every December.The long feathered headdresses, the colourful costumes, the mesmerizing dancers and dance steps, the street parades and the bands attract thousands of people to it.

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3. Ofala festival

The Ofala festival is held across South-East Nigeria but most celebrated in Onitsha, Anambra state. The festival is aimed at preserving the culture and traditions of the Igbos. The event takes place at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha – Igwe Nnayelugo Nnaemeka Achebe for two days as rites cleansing the land are performed amidst music and dance. Interestingly, this is the only time of the year the people can mingle with their Igwe.

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4. Argungu Fishing Festival

Argungu fishing festival has its origin traced to the visit of the late Sultan Dan Mu’azu in 1934 who was honored with a similar celebration, The fishing festival has been around for decades. The festival, widely popular in Kebbi and Sokoto state, is a competitive feast that aims to weigh the fishing skills of the locals. It is usually celebrated between the months of February and March and also marks the end of a farming season. As music, drums and dance envelops the air, anxious participants try to outdo each other in a bid to net the biggest catch. Other activities, including swimming competitions, bare-hand fishing, canoe racing and wild duck hunting serve as side attractions.

5. Osun-Osogbo festival

Osun state is also a home of culture. The state harbours the sacred Osun-Osogbo grove, a UNESCO world heritage site and the acclaimed Osun-Osogbo festival. The festival is held in August for two weeks and a high point of the celebration is marked on the final day when a virgin called the 'Arugba' appears bearing the sacred calabash for rituals from the palace of Ata-Oja to the Osun-Osogbo river.
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6. New Yam Festival:

The New Yam Festival is a popular annual festival among indigenes of south-eastern Nigeria. It is locally referred to as Iriji-Mmanwu, Iwa ji, or Ike ji, by the Igbo speaking areas in the region. Ripe with masquerades, colorful costumes, cultural dances and displays, the event symbolizes the end of a harvest and the commencement of the next farming cycle. This celebration is a highly cultural occasion and unifies different Igbo communities as they are essentially agrarian and dependent on yam for the production of local delicacies.
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Credits: Travelstart

7. Eyo Festival
The Eyo festival in Lagos Island is a very spectacular celebration that attracts tourists from all over the country. Participants are clad in white clothing, and the main attraction of the festival is the Eyo masquerades who perform in white regalia. They lead a colourful procession through the city, and it is a fabulous celebration to be witnessed to experience the traditional values of the people of Lagos.

Credit: Epoch images

8. Carniriv, Port Harcourt

For seven days, few weeks before Christmas in the city of Port Harcourt, The Port Harcourt Carnival which combines two carnivals; a contemporary Caribbean style carnival and a cultural carnival changes the ‘Garden City to become very colourful. Carniriv is Rivers State’s biggest tourism export.


9. Sango Festival:

Sango is reputed to be the all-powerful god in yoruba land. Sango festival is held in honour of the god. This festival has facilitated an annual home-coming avenue for Yoruba descents in the Diaspora as a form of pilgrimage. It brings back the past history and celebrates the culture and tradition of the people, while creating wealth and employment for the people.

10. Durbar Festival:
Kano State Durbar or Hawan Sallah as is locally called is a royal parade of thousands of men on horses adorned with garments and regalia. It is a colourful display of culture full of pomp and pageantry. A spectacular traditional concert of and bazaar of African music.
Which among these festivals would be your next stop?