Festivals

Nigeria Calendar of Festivals and Events

 

January

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day - a fireworks display is held at Lagos, along the riverfront. New Year's Day is a public holiday throughout the country

 

February

Eyo Festival - held on Lagos Island, at the Palace of the Oba. Part of an elaborate burial rite, this involves Eyo masquerades dressed in white gowns and specially coloured hats to denote their distinct group. Cultural performances are also held

 

March

Argungu Fishing Festival - taking place in Kebbi State town, near Sokoto. This fishing fest is long standing - the first one was held in 1934. The Argungu involves literally thousands of men and boys dashing into the local river intent on scooping up the largest fish in the river, the Nile perch. The fish are protected specially for this event. Canoe and other river-based events are now also held at this time

 

April

Ivbamen Festival - an initiation ceremony for boys, held in Ozalla each year

    Abuja International Motor Fair - held at Eagle Square in Abuja, this is something of a showcase for the latest in the car and truck worlds

    Lagos Carnival - this carnival is a fairly recent addition to the Nigerian calendar. It features dancers in costumes, as well as brightly coloured floats, which parade around Lagos Island

 

May

Worker's Day - May 1st, a Nigerian public holiday

    Nigeria International Book Fair - staged at the University of Lagos to showcase books by local and international authors. This popular book fair is open to the general public

    Children's Day - May 27th, a public holiday with many family friendly activities taking place

    Democracy Day - May 29th, another Nigerian public holiday

 

June

June 12 Commemoration - June 12th, celebrations are held in Lagos State in order to remember the annulment of the presidential election in 1993

July

No significant events held at present

 

August

Oshun Festival - the Yoruba water spirit for love and marriage, known as Oshun, is worshipped each August at this traditional gathering held in Oshogbo. Offerings are made to Oshun and visitors can enjoy dance performances

    Kano Durbar - held at the end of Ramadan each year in the city of Kano, usually towards the end of August or during September. This is a massive celebration, with cavalry parades, drumming, singing and dancing, with the procession leading all the way to the Emir's Palace

 

September

Durbar Festival - a Muslim celebration involving horsemen and emirs

 

October

Independence Day / National Day - October 1st, the country gained independence from Britain on this day in 1960. Independence Day celebrations take place all over the country, with the main festivities being held in the capital city of Abuja

    Abuja International Film and Video Festival - a showcase for the very best of cinema in Nigeria, locally known as 'Nollywood'

    Lagos Photo - October / November, an annual photography event held to showcase the work of top local and international artists

 

November

Iko Festival - held between November and February in Ihievbe, the Iko is an initiation ceremony for local girls

    Muson Festival - a popular arts fest held at the Muson Centre in Lagos. The programme of events includes a choral concert and jazz evening

    Eko International Film Festival - six day event held in Lagos and aimed at boosting the Nigerian film industry. Filmmakers from all over the world now attend this event

    Obudu Mountain Race - a mountain running event that's widely regarded as the most challenging in the world. Held around the Obudu Mountain Resort, competitors run to an altitude of 1,575 metres / 5,167 feet

 

December

 Ukpe Festival - December to January, an annual ritual held in Ewossa, Ewohimi, Ewatto, Ebelle and Ogwa, to pray for prosperity. The Ukpe Fest extends right through to January

    Igue (Ewere) Festival - held during the first half of December in Benin City. Visitors can expect much costumed dancing, battle recreations and a parade leading to Oba's Palace. This festivity is staged to celebrate the seasonal yam harvest

    Nwaotam Festival - held in Port Harcourt on December 25th each year

    Oki Festival - a social celebration staged in Rivers State, where traditional dancers dress up and perform as fish, including the sword shark

    MTV Africa Music Awards - annual awards for Africa's popular music artists

    Christmas Day / Boxing Day - December 25th / 26th, these dates are national holidays with much Yuletide festivity aimed at all ages