List of Top Festivals & Carnivals in Nigeria

List of Top Festivals & Carnivals in Nigeria

1. Lagos Games Festival

The Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos State was the location of the first edition of the annual Lagos Games Festival, which took place on the 19th and 20th of April. The festival is known as the Lagos Games Festival. The festival is a celebration of the growing games culture in Nigeria, a country whose people are known for having a fun-loving and entrepreneurial spirit.

2. Eyo Festival

Eyo Festival represents a facet of the Yoruba community that is distinct and full of pride. It is only appropriate that the Eyo Festival be devoted to the people who are initially from the Lagos area. The indigenous people, also known as “Isale Eko,” celebrate “Eyo,” a cultural and traditional masquerade display, which emerges from the Iga (palace) of the Oba or any of his cabinet members. “Eyo” is also known as “Isale Eko.” Since the ceremony or festival has become increasingly well-known over time, it doubles as a popular tourist destination worldwide. Despite this, you must know a few essential details about the festival.

3. Argungu Fishing Festival

Although it is said that the festival began in 1934, some people believe that it was recently introduced to the rest of the country and the international community. Before the reign of Surame Gungu of the Kebbi Kingdom, the Argungu festival was initially comprised of four distinct religious rites performed as a communal event. The Argungu festival offers the chance for the various tribes that live in the north to come together and engage in friendly competition while having a good time.

4. Calabar Carnival

The Calabar Carnival is an event packed with tons of fun and excitement. People come from all over the country and even further afield to participate in the one-of-a-kind event known as the state-wide carnival, which has been dubbed the largest street party in Africa this century and has successfully evolved into a one-of-a-kind occasion. The Calabar Carnival has propelled the state of Cross Rivers to the forefront of the tourism industry export package for the country. The carnival has, up to this point, served not only as a venue for unwinding and having a good time but also as a means of highlighting additional aspects of the indigenous heritage and culture of the area while simultaneously enhancing the capacity of the indigenous people to participate in an economically beneficial manner.

5. Ojude Oba Festival

It was in 1892 when Oba Adesumbo Tunwase, who had signed a treaty of relationship with the British Queen, gave land to the Muslims so they could build their Central Mosque. This marked the beginning of everything. While this was going on, he agreed with the British missionaries that Christianity should be preached in Ijebu Land, and he even went so far as to permit some of his children to be baptised into the faith. To put the cherry on top of it all, he donated the land on which the first church in Ijebu Land, Saint Saviours Italupe, was constructed. The Muslims began the Ojude Oba Festival, which, when translated, means “Festival in the King’s Court,” using it as an opportunity to pay homage to the reigning Monarch and express their gratitude to him for his favouritism toward them.

6. Osun Festival

August in Osun State, Nigeria, sees a significant influx of visitors worldwide attending and participating in the renowned Osun-Osogbo Festival, which lasts for two weeks. The event is held in the revered Osun Grove, known for its beauty and history. Undoubtedly, the Osun-Osogbo festival comprises much more than simply offering sacrifices in honour of the Osun River goddess. During the two-week-long celebration, there are a variety of activities that are going to take place in and around the festival. Tourists and visitors from all over the world will be there.

7. New Yam Festival

Igbo people celebrate their culture once a year with a celebration known as the New Yam Festival (also known as Orureshi in the Idoma area, Iwa ji, Iri ji, or Ike ji, depending on the dialect). It takes place at the end of the wet season, at the beginning of August. They are mainly practised by the people living in the Middle belt and those in the South and East of Nigeria. It is a symbolic gesture that denotes the completion of a harvest and the start of the subsequent work cycle. It is the thread that holds the Igbo communities in Igboland together. The harvest is a metaphor for the abundance of food available. On the other hand, rituals are carried out to show appreciation to the community’s gods for ensuring the harvest’s success.

8. Ofala Festival

The historical Ofala Festival is held in Igboland towards the end of every conventional year as an event that marks the end of the 13th month in the Igbo calendar and the beginning of another Igbo year. This event is usually celebrated towards the end of every conventional year (Igu Aro). The festival is also celebrated as a sign of authority and legitimacy bestowed on the traditional ruler in the land to guide the people toward truth and wisdom. This aspect of the festival is an integral part of the celebration. As a result, we gave it the name “Ofo (Authority) Ala.” (Land). As a result of the age-old social practice’s recent rise to prominence on the international stage, Igboland now features it as one of its most popular draws for visitors. Ofala festival celebrated to keep the heritage of Igboland alive, is also an occasion for the traditional ruler to honour deserving individuals with chieftaincy titles. The festival is named after the Ofala river, which runs through Igboland.

9. CarniRiv

CarniRiv takes its place at the helm of carnival affairs by hosting various events and activities, such as cultural displays, an international Aquatic Fiesta, Street Parties, Heritage Parades, Praise Jam, and a Beauty Pageant, among many other things. The carnival begins a few weeks before Christmas and continues for a total of seven days in the city of Port Harcourt. During this time, several ceremonial events take place, the majority of which hold some cultural or religious significance in some capacity. CarniRiv is one of a kind because it combines two carnivals: a traditional cultural carnival and a modern carnival in the style of the Caribbean. In addition, it will feature musical performances by various artists from all over the world. This gives it an advantage over all other regional and continental carnivals and provides it with the primary benefit that must be utilised to its full potential.

10. Egungun Festival

The Yoruba traditional religion includes celebrations such as the Egungun festival. Egungun is the name of any Yoruba masquerade or masked figure associated with the ancestors as a group force. It is a typical festival among the Egbas, Egbados, Oyo, and other people from different parts of southwestern Nigeria. It is performed to mark the death of influential personalities. The festival is typically held annually between November and April when there is no chance of precipitation. This is because the festival participants believe that their ancestors should not have to suffer through the rain. The Egungun masqueraders (dancers) are distinguished by their ornate costumes. Through the process of drumming and dancing, these dancers become possessed by the spirits of their ancestors. The Egungun then spiritually clean the community and demonstrate ethical and amoral behaviour since their last visit through exaggerated acting and miming. This exposes the strengths and weaknesses of a community in the hopes of encouraging behaviour that is more befitting of their descendants.

11. Durbar Festival

The Hawan Sallah, also known as Hawan Daushe in the region, is a royal parade that features thousands of men on horses decked out in various garments and regalia. It is a fantastic show of culture, with colourful costumes and elaborate pageantry—a spectacular traditional concert and market featuring African music and dance. It is the culmination of the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, celebrated at the end of those holidays. It begins with prayers, then continues with a parade of the Emir and his entourage of horses, which music players accompany, and finally ends at the Emir’s palace. The festival is full of vibrant processions led by the Emir, and it also features a competition between the Royal Calvary, drummers, trumpeters, praise singers, and wrestlers. As a result, the festival is a highly attended event in Northern Nigeria. The festival also highlights the entire procession of village residents as they gather in the public square or in front of the Emir’s palace, where the final parade takes place.

12. Lagos Carnival

Lagos Carnival is a celebration of the city’s ancestry and the many different identities that make up the city. It has been held annually for over a century and takes place during the Black Heritage Festival. Slave returnees and their descendants from Brazil, Cuba, Sierra Leone, and Liberia were the first to celebrate freedom by holding street carnivals. These people brought with them a vibrant culture that is still practised today. One of these cultures has been transformed into the pulsating and exciting event, the Lagos Carnival. The event is typically centred on Lagos Island and is filled with displays of beautiful costumes and various forms of entertainment, including music and dancing. The British Council, a cultural organisation based in the United Kingdom, was the driving force behind the conception and 2013 launch of the festival as a fringe festival. The festival was created in response to the British Council’s inspiration to provide a platform for theatre makers in Nigeria to develop audiences for theatre productions and to produce theatre works for unconventional settings.