Africa is a continent with so much diversity, rich and rooted in culture and tradition. African Culture and Tradition is expressed through many different art forms, such as music, dance, art and celebrations. Many African nations celebrates lots of captivating festivals both Social and cultural, ranging From Music, Dance, Religious and others.
For Africans and non African who wish to explore the continent of Africa Below are 20 Most Popular and Celebrated Festivals In African you should checkout if you ever find yourself in any of the country that celebrates them.
1. New Yam Festival
The New Yam festival is the most celebrated Festival in Africa, The festival is celebrated by all the communities in Igbo land and beyond by over 50 million people. The New Yam Festival is an annual cultural festival by the Igbo people held at the end of the rainy season in early August and October. The celebration is a very culturally based occasion, tying individual Igbo communities together as essentially agrarian and dependent on yam. Yams are the first crop to be harvested, and are the most important crop of the region. The New Yam Festival is therefore a celebration depicting the prominence of yam in the social-cultural life of Igbo people, The New year festival is also celebrated among some minority ethnic group within the south south and North central region of Nigeria. The Igbo New Yam festival is also celebrated in South Africa, USA, Ghana, England, Spain and other countries among the Diaspora Igbo
2. Mawazine International music festival
Mawazine festival is a Moroccan International music festival held annually within June in Rabat, Morocco. The festival which is presided over by Mounir Majidi, the personal secretary of the Moroccan King Mohammed VI and founder and president of Maroc Culture, features many international and local music artists. The festival is said to attract millions of people, in 2013 the festival was attended by an estimated 2.5 million people making it the second most attended music festival in the world.
3. 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.
4. Timkat Festival
Timkat (Timket) Festivals celebrated in January 19th or 20th in a leap year, corresponding to the 10th day of Terr in the Ethiopian calendar is the Orthodox Tewahedo celebration of Epiphany. Timkat festival celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism similar to such reenactments performed by numerous Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land when they visit the Jordan.
5. Voodoo Festival
Voodoo festival is a colourful and vibrant festival celebrated in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana, 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.
Also See: 10 Most Popular Festival In Nigeria
6. Eyo Festival
The Eyo Festival, also known as the Adamu Orisha Play, is a Nigerian festival unique to the people of Lagos state. The 24 days festival features a major parade with participants dressed in white flowing robes that cover their entire body, top hats and sticks; and masquerades referred to as “Eyo” as well as costumed dancers. The festival sweeps through the entire city with focus on the Lagos Island and attracts a large number of tourists from around the world.
7. 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.
8. Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is an annual music festival that is held for a week in Fes, Morocco. Based on the idea that music can engender harmony between different cultures, the festival has attracted big international stars From around the world since it was first held in 1994. The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music brings together music groups and artists from all corners of the globe, and it has become one of the most successful world music festivals around.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Kwita Izina Festival
Kwita Izina Festival is a Rwandan ceremony of giving a name to a newborn baby gorilla. The festival which takes place in september is named after the ancestral baby naming ceremony that happened after the birth of a newborn. The ceremony is aimed at helping monitor each individual gorilla and their groups in their natural habitat. It was created as a means of bringing attention both locally and internationally about the importance of protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitats in Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga Mountains in the northern part of the country.
12. Fetu Afahye Festival
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.
13. Argungu Fishing Festival
The Argungu Fishing Festival or Argungu Dance Festival is an annual four-day festival in the state of Kebbi, in the Northern part of Nigeria. The Argungu Fishing festival features swimming competitions, bare-hand fishing, canoe racing and wild duck hunting which serves as side attractions. As music, drums and dance envelops the air, anxious participants try to outdo each other in a bid to gain the biggest catch. At the end of the festival, the winner is hugely celebrated, there is merriment across the towns and the river is sheltered to ensure it yields fishes for the next festival.
14. Osun-Oshogbo Festival
The Osun-Osgogbo festival is a Nigerian festival among the Yoruba tribe, the 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’.
15. Knysna Oyster Festival
Knysna Oyster Festival is a South Africa’s premium sport and lifestyle festival, the festival offers a programme of unique events for sport lovers, families and adventurers, with an abundance activities spread over ten days. The Knysna Oyster Festival which takes place within June in Knysna is a fun packed event with a chance to experience one of the most beautiful, scenic areas in the country.
16. Umhlanga Reed Dance Festival
The Umhlanga Reed Dance Festival is a traditional dance and ceremony in swaziland where over 40,000 Swazi maidens gather and dance for the Queen Mother. This festival which dates back centuries ago is performed as a tribute to the Royal Family. The festival takes place over a week, normally the last week of August.
17. Kuomboka Festival
Kuomboka Festival is a traditional ceremony for the Lozi speaking people of Western Province which takes place in Mongu by Paramount Chief Litunga. Kuomboka is the movement of people from the flooded plains to the higher land. The ceremony marks the movement of the king from the palace in the flood plains to the palace on the higher land. The Festival takes place at the end of very rain season, when the upper Zambezi River plains floods.
18. Sphinx festival
Sphinx festival is a celebration of tradition and culture of the Egyptian people. Dance and music performances take place over this five day festival. This festival features various engaging activities related to the ancient Egyptian heritage and aims to educate people about ancient Egypt and inspires artists and travelers.
19. Ngondo Festival
Ngondo is a festival celebrated by the Sawa ethnic groups in the first two weeks of December in the city of Douala in Cameroon. The highlight of the ngondo festival is a ceremony honouring (mermaid-like creatures) the Jengu, a water spirit and deity worshiped by the Sawa which is said to bring good fortune to their worshippers. The festival is held at a beach on the Wouri Bay. During the ceremony a worshipper enters the sea. It is believed that he/she visits the underwater kingdom of miengu. Locals believe that the person can stay underwater for hours and when it’s time for the person to emerge, he or she emerges from the water completely dry. In 1981 The cameroonian authorities banned the ceremony but the sawa people managed to start the festival 10 years later.
20. Lake of Stars Festival
Lake of Stars Festival also known as Malawi music festival is an annual three-day international festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa. The festival which started in 2004 attracts thousands of people from within and outside africa.