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Calendar of Events in Nigeria

A large number of local rituals and festivals are held each year in Nigeria. Many of these are open to the general public, although some may not be accessible to women. Annual sporting, cultural and arts events are also held in Nigeria's towns and cities, such as Abuja, Benin City, Oshogbo and around Lagos.
Locals will agree that the northern side of Nigeria plays host to some of the country's most exciting and well-attended festivals and festivities, with annual Islamic celebrations (the end of Ramadan and Tabaski) especially notable in Kano, Katsina and Zaria. At the end of the year, Benin City comes alive with traditional dancing, mock battles, themed events and lively parades, when the Igue (Ewere) Festival takes place to mark the beginning of the seasonal yam harvest.



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



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 denotentheir distinct group. Cultural performances are also held.



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


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



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



No significant events held at present



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



Durbar Festival - a Muslim celebration involving horsemen and emirs



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



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



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