Anambra state is home to culture and tradition, Located in South Eastern Nigeria, Anambra state celebrate many top and most entertaining festival in Igbo and and Nigeria at large ranging from the Ofala, The New Yam, The Igbo New Year, The Masquerade Festival and others.
Below Are The Ten Most Attended, Most Entertaining And Most Popular Festivals Celebrated In Anambra state
The Ofala festival is an age long tradition of the Onitsha kingdom. Ofala is celebrated once a year in October, to mark the climax of the New Yam. The Ofala provided an opportunity for the subjects of the Obi to catch a glimpse of him and pay homage to him. Four days before the festival, the Obi of goes into seclusion. He retreats to commune with his ancestors, and to thank them for protecting him and his subjects for the past one year as well as pray for peace and prosperity in the year to come. At the end of the retreat, the Obi emerges during the Ofala to bless his subjects and say prayers for the community. One of the highlights of the festival is the appearance of the Obi in his Ofala regalia. A cannon shot announces the entrance of the Obi, who is usually dressed in ceremonial robe and carries a bronze sword on his hand, acknowledging cheers of the gathering. The Obi then retires and subsequently, the red cap chiefs pays homage to him according to seniority, thereafter, both the Obi and the Chiefs reappear after the firing of another cannon shot. During the second appearance, the Obi dances in the arena after which the visiting chiefs and guests then pay homage to him.
2. Igu Aro Festival:
Igu Aro festival is an annual festival celebrated in Enugu Ukwu 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. Igu Aro festivals are celebrated in some of Anambra’s communities to flag off the annual planting season.
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3. Afiaolu Nnewi Festival:
Afiaolu (New yam festival) is a traditional festival held annually in Nnewi around August. The Afiaolu festival commences on “Eke” day with what is traditionally described as “IWAJI” and Ikpa Nku, this heralds the availability of new yam as well as thanksgiving to God. The festival includes a variety of entertainments including performance of ceremonial rites by the Igwe (king), cultural dance and masquerade dance and display.
4. Imo Awka Festival:
Imoka (Imo Awka) is one of the top cultural festivals in Anambra and Nigeria. The Imoka Festival is usually celebrated between May and June every year, in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State. Imoka is a festival that is highly regarded by Awka indigenes. The ‘Imoka’ festival is a period in Awka, usually within the 5th month of the year – first month in the Awka native lunar calendar – when indigenes celebrate a deity once believed to be the protector and preserver of all Awka indigenes and villages
The Ovala festival is a royal festival celebrated on the first Eke market day of the year in Aguleri. The Ovala festival Which attracts dignitaries from all walks of life is the high point and the beginning of the royal year in Aguleri. It is the most popular and prestigious traditional festival in Aguleri celebrated by the Eze Idigo of Aguleri to among other things, commemorate his kingship and herald the dawn of a new year. It affords the Eze Aguleri an annual opportunity to commune with his people, other communities, individual and institutional stakeholders within and beyond Aguleri. It brings together men and women, old and young not only from Aguleri, but also most communities in the present Anambra-East, Anambra-West, Oyi and Ayamelum LGAs for a native week-long (four days) celebration. During the festival, the Eze Idigo offers prayers and thanksgiving to God for His benevolence and continued assistance both in the year gone by and in the new year. He interacts with and receives tributes and homage from his numerous subjects.
6. Nnewi Ofala Festival:
The Ofala Festival also called Ofala Nnewi, is an annual ceremony practiced by the indegenes of Nnewi in Anambra State, Nigeria. The festival which is described as the most important surviving traditional ceremony of Nnewi indigenes is celebrated within two days mostly in December and January in honour of the king. The festival usually starts with twenty-one gun salute followed by all night Ufie music and other cultural activities. On the second day, thousands of men and women are gathered at the palace of the King dressed in traditional attire. Prior to the gathering of the crowd, the red-cap chiefs dressed in native wears arrive at the palace independently and proceed to the King’s throne in order of seniority. The highlight of the festival is the arrival of the King in his royal regalia to the hailing of the crowd.
Also See: 25 Most Popular Igbo Masquerades
7. Uzoiyi Festival Umuoji:
Uzoiyi Festival is an annual cultural festival of the Umuoji people. The festival was marked spectacularly with various cultural activities. The occasion was used to herald a new farming and planting season for all indigenes of the community as well as appease their ancestors for guiding them through the previous year and to ask for guidance and protection. Highlights of Uzoiyi Festivals is the masquerade display, Among the masquerades that features in the festivals include Anyinya of Umuazu, Ijele of Umuobia, Nkelekwu of Ireh, Egbenuoba of Anogu, Zebra of Dianokwu, Ogbuadiji of Ifite, Ocha of Ideoma, Nyakwulu of Aguma, Enyi of Abidi, Obamili of Umoli, Atu of Amoji, Ebubeagu of Agumaelum
8. Ukpo Ofala Festival:
Ofala festival is celebrated every year in Ukpo to mark the anniversary of the coronation of the traditional ruler of the area. The Ofala is an exhibition of the rich Cultural heritage of Ukpo people in Dunukofia, Anambra State. It is an occasion of stock taking and planning for the beginning of a new year. it is also a day to thank God for a fruitful year and also pray for a better year ahead. The ofala Festival is marked with colour and fun including Dance, music, masquerade display and other cultural performance. Ofala Ukpo is also an avenue for the Igwe to give account of his stewardship to the community, by informing the people at the festival the major decisions taken by the palace on matters that affect the community.
9. Nwafor Ogidi Festival:
Nwafor Festival is a major annual cultural celebration in Ogidi Anambra State. Nwafor Festival is celebrated after the cultivation of yam to mark the beginning of a resting period after cultivation, Nwafor takes a period of 11 days, starting from the first Friday (Afor) in the month of July and for the next 10 days. The Nwafor Ogidi Festival Is marked with Masquerade dance and displays with other activities that gives life to the festival.
10. Ede Aro Festival in Abagana:
Ede-Aroh is a two days annual cultural festival of the Abagana people in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State celebrated during the harvest of cocoyam. It is held at the Afor market square every December, precisely on the last Afor market day of the year. Abagana Women believes that if sowing and harvesting of yam which is reserved for the males are celebrated, sowing and harvesting of coco yam which is reserved for the female should also be celebrated.