The 5 Most Iconic Cultural Festivals in Nigeria

Festivals are essential and special events which are being celebrated by a community with in a particular village which focuses on a particular characteristic occurrence in the community such as the new yam festival, Eid, Sango festival, Eyo festival, Argungu festival, and many others. Our main focus is on the major festivals being celebrated within Nigeria. Looking for local things to do in Nigeria? Here are 5 most iconic cultural festivals in Nigeria.

Eyo Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Eyo festival
Eyo Festival – © kunle ogunfuyi/flickr

This festival is know and being celebrated by the people of Lagos island popularly known as “Eko” which means Hinterland of Lagos. The Eyo festival is held to escort the departed soul of the Lagos King and to also usher in a new King. During this festival, white clad masquerades are being seen dancing with staffs called “Opa Ambata” and these masquerades represent the spirits of the dead and are also referred to as “Agogoro Eyo” (Tall Eyo) in Yoruba language.

Argungu Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Argungu festival
Argungu Fishing Festival, Kebbi State, Nigéria – © gvizane/flickr

The Argungu festival is one of the major fishing festivals being held annually for a duration of four days in kebbi state which is located in the northern region of Nigeria. The major purpose of the festival is for fishing and also to promote unity amongst the people. Various people travel from various parts of the world to experience this festival which began in the year 1934 as a mark of the end of the hostility between the Sokoto caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom. The festival is now one of the major festival which both people from within Nigeria and abroad look forward to annually. Thanks main even of the festival is the competition between over 30,000 fishermen who go into the Mata Fada river in search of the biggest fish and who ever gets the biggest catch goes home with over $7,500 in cash.

New Yam Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: New yam festival
Igbo dancers at the New Yam Festival – © jujufilm/flickr

This is an annual cultural festival which is held at the end of the rainy season in the month of August by the igbo people. The festival symbolizes the conclusion of a harvest. This festival is being celebrated with a feast of new yam and an offering is also being made to the spirits of the field with reference to the presiding deity of the team crop. This ritual is being performed by eldest man in the community by offering the yams to God, deities and ancestors by showing gratitude to God for his continuous protection and kindness in leading them from season to season without results of deaths and hunger.

Oro Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Oro festival
Oro festival – ©

The oro festival is one of the major cultural festivals in Nigeria – a ritual celebrated by specific towns in the Yoruba origin. The Oro festival is a celebration of the passing away of a notable personality. This ritual is being celebrated by male descendants who are paternal natives of the specific town celebrating the event taking. It is said that women and none natives of the town celebrating this festival must stay indoors as the ritual must not be seen by these people.

Igue Festival

Cultural Festivals in Nigeria: Igue festival
Igue Festival, Benin, Edo state, Nigeria – © Kunle Ogunfuyi/flickr

The igue festival is known to be celebrated amongst the Benin people. The festival which is being celebrated between Christmas and New year is being done to renew Oba Ewuare’s magical powers. The Oba is being prohibited to be in the presence of a non native person during the ritual season.

What do you think about these cultural festivals in Nigeria? Have we missed anything? Let us know by commenting below. Don’t forget to share with your friends.

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