Africans are fascinating people rooted in culture and tradition, African culture is expressed in her arts and crafts, religion, clothing, folklore, cuisine, music, languages and their form of celebration. Different Country and tribe in West Africa have unique festival that they are known for, these festivals play important role in the life of the people as it help to unite, strengthen and also give the people a sense of community.
Also See: 10 Most Popular Festival In Nigeria
Ever find yourself in West African, Below are 10 Colourful Festivals you should checkout.
1. Calabar carnival
Calabar carnival, said to be Africa’s biggest street party is a month-long event that takes place in the city of Calabar, Cross River state Nigeria. Calabar carnival has turned out to be one of the most colourful, most popular and the most attended carnival in and around Nigeria. since the initiation of the carnival, Calabar carnival has helped boost the tourism industry of Cross River state and Nigeria in general as the carnival has draws millions of people within and outside Nigeria to witness the carnival.
2. Durbar Festival
The Durbar festival is the most ancient and prominent festival in northern Nigeria. Celebrated majorly in the cities of Maiduguri, Kano, Katsina and Zaria, The ceremony is major part of the Id el Kabir celebrations as well as the Id el Fitri marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan and it attracts visitors and tourists from Nigeria and beyond. The Durbar festival was Originally celebrated to mark the advent of a war between ancient kingdoms or regarded as a form of military parade to the emirs and their councils to showcase the fighters who defended the territories.
3. Ofala Festival
Ofala festival is a Nigerian Igbo festival that celebrates royalty. Ofala is the official cultural outing of the king and members of the cabinet in the year. The Ofala Festival is an annual ceremony practiced mostly by the Igbos of anambra state especially Onitsha, Nnewi, Aguleri, Ukpo etc. The festival serves as a rites of renewal of the Eze or Obi (King). Ofala festival attracts thousands of people within and outside the country who came to witness or pay homage to the king.
4. Fetu Afahye
The Fetu Afahye is a festival celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of Cape Coast in the Central region of Ghana. The festival which came into existence as a result of the outbreak of disease that killed many people in the region, the festival is then celebrated to keep the town clean and to prevent another epidemic. The Fetu Afahye festival is celebrated on the first Saturday in the month of September every year by the Oguaa people.
5. Osun-Oshogbo Festival
The Osun-Osgogbo festival is celebrated in the month of August at the grove. Yearly, the festival attracts thousands of Osun worshippers, spectators and tourists from all walks of life. For the people of Osogbo Land, August is a month of celebration, traditional cleansing of the city and cultural reunion of the people with their ancestors and founders of the Osogbo Kingdom. The Osun-Osogbo Festival is a two-week-long programme. It starts with the traditional cleansing of the town called ‘Iwopopo’, which is followed in three days by the lighting of the 500-year-old sixteen-point lamp called ‘Ina Olojumerindinlogun’.
6. Voodoo Festival
Voodoo festival is a colourful and vibrant festival celebrated in Benin Republic and Togo, among the voodoo devotees. The festival features voodoo dolls and devotees in animal skins chanting and dancing to drum beats, as well as horse racing on the beach, there are also of food and drink, and. The festival holds annually around January 8-12 at Ouidah and Lome in Republic of Benin and Togo respectively.
7. Gerewol Festival
The gerewol festival is celebrated among the ancient group of nomadic cattle herders in the Sahel desert of West Africa. This incredible and colourful festival holds in September at the end of the rainy season among the Wodaabe people, Gerewol festival is an extraordinary beauty contest by men who are on parade, wearing the make-up and dancing yaake for a chance to become a folklore hero and to win the heart of a new wife.
8. Guinea Bissau Carnival
This festival which holding at different locations in the country with the biggest events at the county’s capital Bissau. The carnival features a big parade, dances, music, with allegorical cars and people floating through the streets with masks made of animal heads, While their bodies are painted or dressed in colourful clothes.
9. Igu Aro Festival
Igu Aro festivals are celebrated in some of Anambra’s communities to flag off the annual planting season.The Aro festival also called the “Igu aro” is one of the most colorful and celebrated festival in igbo land especially in Umueri . The Festival has a prime position in the life of the people due to economical importance attached to it . Because the Oracular and Prophetic utterance of the Priest depicts what would happened in a given year.
This include the oracular utterances of the priest in regards on what to expect during the harvest season: Whether there will be “Ugani” (famine), Nsogbu (problem), Agha (war), Onwu (death) etc. it was a sort of annual prophecy or prediction on what would happen in the coming season. If the prophecy turns out to have positive effect, the people tend to work tirelessly hard so as to reap the fruit of hard labour. But on contrary, they tend to be cautious during the planting season starting with the first moon of the new season.
10. Festival of Masks ”Fêtes des Masques”
Festival of Masks or Fêtes des Masques is a famous annual festival which holds in November in Ivory Coast. This colourful and amazing festival features competitions between villages in order to find the best dancers. Festival of Masks is used to pay homage to the forested spirits embodied by the villagers who wear colourful costumes and fabulous, handcrafted masks during the festival. Many of those costumes are said to be handed down from one generation to another.