In Africa, Festivals are events celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community; it is religious or cultural. A particular day in a year is set aside and marked sacred for a particular festival.
Festivals are very important in Africa; festivals tells more about the people, where they emanated from and what they believe in.
Festival is part of customs and tradition of a people. There are thousands of Festivals in Africa, but our focus will be on four Beautiful Festivals in Africa.
NEW YAM FESTIVAL IN NIGERIA
The Iri ji festival is a one day event, practised in West Africa; but mostly common in the eastern part of Nigeria.
New Yam festival symbolizes the conclusion of a harvest and the beginning of the next planting cycle. The celebration is based on different customs but similar in all parts of Africa where it is celebrated.
New Yam festival is an important as well as a sacred festival.
Usually at the beginning of the festival, the King of the people, or the oldest man offers the yams to God, deities and ancestors by showing gratitude to God for his protection and kindness in leading them from lean periods to the time of bountiful harvest without starvation. The next procedure is eating of the first yam by the King, because It is believed that their position bestows the privilege of being intermediaries between their communities and the gods of the land. The community joins in the eating, amidst different theatrical displays: dance, masquerade, local songs, wrestling, etc.
New Yam Festival is a very popular festival; Africans that reside in other parts of the world, return home to be part of the celebration or celebrate it at their various homes.
ARGUNGU FISHING FESTIVAL
The Argungu Fishing Festival is an annual four-day cultural festival in the north-western part of Northern Nigeria. The region is made up of fertile river areas. The festival usually takes place in Argungu, the capital city of Argungu Emirate and it is celebrated to mark the beginning of the fishing season in Arugungu, a river-side town in Kebbi state. The festival is celebrated between February and March every year.
Kanta museum is the main historical centre in Argungu for visitors across the globe. People from around the world travel to Argungu just to witness the occasion.
The main purpose of the Argungu fishing festival is for fishing and unity. There are too many activities; but the main activity is the competition; the competitors jump into the river and the competitor with the biggest catch, through the noodling process, is awarded financially.
Argungun fishing festival is one of the biggest cultural festival in Africa.
This is a traditional harvest festival, it falls between July and November, depending on the village.
It is celebrated by the Ahanta or Nzema people of the Western region of Ghana, to thank God for the abundance of food at the time of the harvest period of the area.
The festival lasts a week and includes not only celebration, but quiet meditation, loud shouting, boastful singing, dancing, and rhythmic drumming.
Legend has it that the festival dates back to at least the 16th century; when a mythical hunter named Akpoley witnessed a dance performed by a group of dwarves, then introduced it to his own people. This dance is believed to ward off evil from the village.
MOMBASA CARNIVAL FESTIVAL
The Mombasa Carnival is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Kenya. It celebrates the traditions and ethnic diversity in Kenya. This vibrant festival happens the city of Mombasa.
The main features of the event revolve around two colourful parades with people showcasing amazing costumes from different ethnic groups. Dance and music are also an integral part of this festival. Men and women are often dressed in the traditional Kikoy and Kanga, which usually have Swahili phrases boldly printed.
A mix of traditional and contemporary artists join the celebration, making it a refreshing introduction to east Africa’s rich cultural diversity. Energetic traditional dances, as well as contemporary forms and belly dancers are performed as local bands showcase their art and talent.
Tourists who visit Mombasa during the festival, have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and enjoy delicious Kenyan dishes.
African Festivals are not just colourful but deepened with strong messages; to guide and lead to people throughout the year.
Take that tour down to Africa and experience these beautiful festivals.