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Yoruba Festivals

Eyo Festival

















The Eyo festival also known as the Adamu Orisha Play takes place in Lagos Island.


Having existed for over 3 centuries ago, this masquerade first started in February 20th, 1854 as a tribute to Oba Akintoye to commemorate his life as a king. It was originally meant to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king.


Nowadays, this spectacular celebration attracts tourists from all over the country. Participants wear white clothing, and the main attraction of the festival is the Eyo masquerades who perform in white regalia. The costumed dancers represent the spirits of the dead and are also referred as 'tall Eyo". 

They lead a colourful procession through the city celebrating the traditional values of the people of Lagos State and pay homage to their reigning king, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.  

Osun Osogbo Festival 

The most spectacular celebration of Osun State is the Osun Osogbo festival that takes place annually in Osogbo. 


The Osun Osogbo festival is a celebration dedicated to the Osun river goddess, and during the celebrations people come from all walks of life to offer sacrifice to the river goddess and to make supplications.


It is a 2 week-long celebration taking place every August in the sacred forest groves of Osun river.

As per traditions, the first cycle is the cleansing of the town called "Iwopopo". 3 days later,  it is then followed by the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point sacred lamp called 'Ina Olojumerindinlogun'.

And then finally comes the 'Ibroriade', an assemblage of the crowns of the past ruler, Ataojas of Osogbo, for blessings. 

Ojude-Oba Festival


The Ojude-Oba festival takes place annually on the third day after Eid al-Kabir in Ijebu-Ode of Ogun State. It is a Yoruba cultural event that began over a 100 years ago. Although it started as a gathering of Islam followers, it has since attracted people of all faith as well as tourists from within and outside of Nigeria. As of now, over 250,000 people attend this festival to pay homage to their king, the Awujale of Ijebuland.


With an incredible display of cultural and heritage, it features horse shows, local song renditions, dane-gun salutes, dance competitions, etc. This festival rides on the ancient diversity, legend, history, and conquest of the old Ijebu peoples. 

Sango Festival

















Held in August, the Sango festival is an annual event celebrating Sango, a thunder and fire deity, also known as a warlord and the third king of the Oyo Kingdom after succeeding to Ajaka his elder brother.

Celebrations run for about a week and showcase Sango worshippers, eating and breathing fire from their mouths and nostrils, and invoking thunder to strike across the land in the spirit of the fiery, ancient ruler of the Old Oyo peoples.

This festival has been recognised by UNESCO.



Igbo Festivals

New Yam Festival

The New Yam Festival is celebrated by almost every communities in Nigeria but is mostly practiced by the people in the Middle belt ,South and East of Nigeria.

Usually taking place after the rainy seasons between August and October, farmers do not eat any newly harvested yam until the king proclaims that the new yam is open to all.

A goat is initially being sacrificed by a high-priest, its blood is then poured over a symbol representing the god of the harvest. Its carcass is then cooked into a soup, whereas the yam is being boiled and pounded into foofoo. Once the food has been blessed by the priest praying for a better harvest, he then declares the feast open to the people by eating the new yam and soup first.                                                            


Celebrations are followed by masquerade performances, cultural dances, acrobatic displays and fetish activities...                                                                                                          


Ofala Festival

The Ofala festival dates back to around 700 years ago. It is an annual ceremony that takes place in Anambra, South Eastern Nigeria. It is being celebrated by the indigenes of Onitsha but also by neighbouring Igbo communities such as Nnewi in Anambra State, SouthEastern Nigeria and Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area. 

This ceremony is usually celebrated by the Obi within 2 days and takes place in October. It is rite of renewal of the king or Obi of Onitcha and sees the king and his traditional rulers emerge in full cultural regalia and royal staffs to display bravery, war conquest, affluence, and power among others. 

This festivity showcases the rich culture of the Igbo community and attracts Nigerians from all over the country. 



Hausa Festivals

Durbar Festival

The Durbar Festival is mostly celebrated in Northern parts of Nigeria such as Kano, Bida, Maiduguri, Zaria and Katsina. 

It was first introduced in 1911 as a ceremonial assembly by colonial administrators and subsequently took place in 1924, 1925, 1948, 1960 and 1972.  

Over the years, this ceremony has gradually erased traces of colonialism and has now become one of the most popular festivals in Northern Nigeria as well as a major tourist attraction.


It's a week long festivity that is being celebrat ed at the culmination of Muslim festivals Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The Durbar Festival is an annual event that first begins with prayers, followed by the Emir and his entourage parading on their horses with musicians playing alongside till they arrive at the Emir's palace.

Argungu Fishing Festival

The Argungu Fishing Festival is an annual event organised by the Government and indigenes of Kebbi State in North West Nigeria. 

It first started in 1934 to end hostilities between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom. It has since then evolved into a main touristic attraction where locals and globetrotters come to Argungu to witness the whole event. 

The celebrations last a week long and culminates in a fishing competition at the Argungu river where athletic men jump in the river at the sound of a gunshot. Equipped with only traditional fishing equipments such as their calabash used as fishing gourds and nets, the fishermen competes for the largest fish of the year. The winner can gain up to $7,500 amongst other prizes. 

The main purpose of the Argungu fishing festival is for fishing and unity and has been a very popular event every single year.





Benin Festivals



The Igue festival traces its origin to the Benin Empire. There are two versions as to how it all started.


One tradition was about how the festival date coinceded with the wedding of Oba Ewuare to one of his favorite wife Ewere, dedicating the Igue Festival to her. 

The other tradition was that the festival was being celebrated to renew Oba Ewuare's magical powers. 

Nowadays, the festival is more of the Oba blessing the land and his people and being celebrated between Christmas and New Year. The 7 day event is held every year by the Oba of Benin. During the ritual season, the Oba is not allowed to be in the presence of non-native people. 



Other Festivals

Calabar Carnival

Also known as Africa's Biggest Street Party, this carnival has thousands of performers wearing colourful costumes that capture the spirit of the  season.


It first started back in 2004 as an idea to make Cross River State a hub for tourism and hospitality in a bid to attract not only Nigerians but also Africans.

This great festival has since attracted people from all over the world,  to witness the rich cultural displays of the Calabar people. It lasts for about one week and takes to heart different themes varying from Impact and Improvement to Climate Change.


  • Are there other festivals you know different from the cultural festivals ?

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