Festivals and Carnivals In Lagos State
Lagos is a home to people of diverse cultural backgrounds, embracing the colorful and historical values of different traditions. There are several annual festivals and carnivals hosted in Lagos state, where people from all over the world come to participate in the celebrations. Below are a few historical festivals hosted in Lagos State.
Potocredit: Independent.ng , afrotourism.com
Boat regattas are held annually in most of the riverine areas of Lagos State. Epa Festival: The Epa festival celebrated annually by wards in the Ekiti and Oke-Ero LGAs (although during different months). Men who dance in the village squares carry figurines of deities. Prayers are offered for good health and bumper harvest during the celebration.
The Nigerian regatta boat assemblages and exhibitions reflect symbolic
variations which could be variously identified as war, ritual, wrestling,
masquerade and other fancy social canoes. However, in their modernized
versions the assemblages can be classified into three. These include the war
canoes, ordinance boats and gigs. The war canoes are large camouflage boats
which at times carry upwards of 80 fighting men and at other times less crowded.
The fighting men are armed with dane guns, machets and spears with drummers
drumming, beating bells and gongs to provide music. The fighting men may also
camouflage and hide their weapons except the canons which are strapped to the
boats, while the spears and machetes are carefully kept within the canoes ready
for use at the appropriate time. The ordinance boats are smaller in size. They are
used for spying and supplying of arms, ammunitions, food and sometimes for
establishing spy routes of the enemies.
Eyo image photocredit: guardian.ng
The Eyo Festival is one of the Lagos festivals that is well known. With originsfrom 1750, this festival has masquerades of performers in white robes and dancers. The attraction is held in the Tafawa Belewa Square and has thousands of attendees each year. The week of the carnival has different colors of performers from the eyo groups that are seen with a staff. Once the senior eyo member is seen in public during a Sunday in April, the rest follow over the week signaling that the festival will take place on the next Saturday. This festival sometimes takes place in February or other months.
The word "Eyo" also refers to the costumed dancers, known as the masquerades that come out during the festival. The origins of this observance are found in the inner workings of the secret societies of Lagos. Back in the days, The Eyo festival is held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king. It is widely believed that the play is one of the manifestations of the customary African revelry that serves as the forerunner of the modern carnival in Brazil. On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to the Iga Idunganran palace. The white-clad Eyo masquerades represent the spirits of the dead, and are referred to in Yoruba as "agogoro Eyo" (literally: "tall Eyo")
THE LAGOS BLACK HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF) is an annual event in Lagos that also includes the Lagos carnival. The festival is a feast of culture and history aimed to showcase the richness and diversity of the African heritage. LBHF celebrates African creativity with diverse performances such as traditional and contemporary dance, drama, music, painting, and photography expositions among others.
The Lagos Black Heritage Festival takes place in April. Carnival processions stroll through the street in remembrance of the African slave trade story. Dance performances are given to animate the story over seven days of festivity. Art exhibitions and films are presented to retell the tales. Many visitors attend the festival each year. Participants have the chance to relax and unwind in a comfortable environment, as well as participate in engine power boat races, swim, and watch the Boat Regatta.The tradition and modern styles of performance are given to provide visitors with a unique cultural experience in Lagos.
LAGOS FOOD FESTIVAL
Lagos food festival aims to showcase our rich diversity in Nigerian Cuisine and delicacies thereby creating awareness on Nigerian’s rich food culture. It celebrates the one thingthat unites all Nigerians- a love for good food. This is an annual event held during the Independence Weekend holiday. It premiers the best of food, chefs and restaurants across Lagos. Guests are treat to a day of immersion in variety of tastes in food, music and fun. With dedicated brand experience areas for kids and adults alike to let loose enjoy with good food, drinks and music in open air. This landmark event is evolving to become a food loving tourist dream.
YORUBA ARTS FESTIVAL
The Yoruba's are a people predominantly from Western Nigeria who over time migrated to other parts of West Africa to Togo, Benin, Ghana, Senegal, Mali and Sierra-Leone and Liberia. They are also the largest group of people taken during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade holocaust to the West Indies and Latin America where their culture, traditions and belief systems have stood the test of time and are still being practiced. The Yoruba IFA/Orisa belief system created the foundation for new age religions such as Santeria, Umbanda and Lucumi. As a global culture, the Yorubas remain linked around the world through language, history, art, music as well as the belief and practice of IFA/ Orisa.
This World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture happens each April in Lagos. Promotion of art and culture from the Yoruba people is the base of the festival. Performers entertain the crowds while artists display their things in exhibitions.