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Places to Visit for Cultural Tourism in Nigeria

By Caleb Olorunmaiye
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If there is anything that Nigerians and foreigners can agree on about the country, that will be that Nigeria has a wide spectrum of cultures and the uniqueness of it all cannot go without being mentioned.

Centuries of preserving its ways and languages has meant that several of the ethnic groups in Nigeria, big and small, carry on their cultural heritage, encompassing every way of life, from family and marital ceremonies, to communal and religious celebrations.

But when you want to experience the cultural diversity that Nigeria has to offer, where do you go? Where can you see it all? We share with you amazing insights on some of these places, across the different regions of the country. You would want to bookmark this and plan your trip around Nigeria accordingly. Heads up, forget about Lagos, but don’t forget to remember Lagos.

Kano Durbar
The Durbar Festival was introduced in colonial times and was celebrated in the major empires of the Hausa city states of Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zaria and Bida. The festival is celebrated three days after the Muslim Eid-El-Fitr holiday and is marked by a parade of beautifully adorned horses and riders who make their way through the city from the city square and unto the Emir’s Palace. Of all the cities who hold the Durbar Festival, that of Kano is the most colourful and biggest.

Argungun Fishing Festival
To mark the end of a 100 year long period of hostility and bad blood between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kingdom of Kebbi, the Argungun Fishing Festival was initiated to commemorate a period of peace in the waters of the town of Argungun in Kebbi. The festival lasts for four days and sees thousands of fishermen descend on the Argungun River aiming to make the biggest catch from the river. The festival includes music, dance, exhibition of locally made art and craft works as well as water sports competitions.

Calabar FestivalOjude Oba Festival
The Ojude Oba Festival is celebrated in Ijebu Ode three days after the celebration of the Muslim celebration of Eid-El-Kabir. The festival attracts indigenes of Ijebu Ode from all over the world for a period of music, dancing, eating recognition of notable sons and daughters of Ijebu Ode who are installed with one title or the other.

Birthed in 2006, the Calabar festival has transformed the face of tourism in Cross River state. Hotels in Calabar are always reported to be fully booked during this period. The festival features troupe parades in colourful and very creative costumes, music performances, stage plays and several other events lasting through the entire month of December. It has been called Africa’s biggest street party and always strives to live up to that tag at every year’s event.

New Yam festival
The New Yam Festival marks the beginning of the new harvest season which happens around the month of August. The New Yam festival is observed by several cultural groups in West Africa, but is chiefly celebrated by the Igbo’s of Eastern Nigeria and the Idoma’s and Tiv’s of the middle belt region of the country. Activities to celebrate the festival, which may last from one day to an entire week, depending on the community includes yam eating, traditional rites by the king of the community, cultural dances, and masquerade display.

Osun Festival
Held in August every year at the Osun Oshogbo Sacred Groove, the Osun Festival is a two-week long period of festivity in honour of the river goddess Osun who is the deity of fertility, love and sexuality. Participants come from all over the world even as far as South America and the Carribeans where the goddess Osun is worshipped and revered. Activities in the festival includes drumming, dancing, musical performing, wearing of elaborate costumes, speaking of the Yoruba language, and recitation of praise poetry. The festival is not just spiritual but also cultural as it serves to bring together every ardent of the religion together.

Eyo Festival
Eyo Festival is celebrated in Lagos and is also referred to as the Adamu Orisha Play. The Eyo Festival sees the emergence of the Eyo Masquerade who are all dressed in white and are said to represent spirits of the dead. The masquerades make a procession through the heart of Lagos, from Idumota to the Iga Idunganran, the official residence of the Oba of Lagos where they pay homage to the King.

If you want to watch the festival book a hotel in Lagos Island , get a suite with a good view and you can watch the entire length of the procession from your hotel room.