Arewa Traditional Festivals and Celebrations

Arewa Traditional Festivals and Celebrations.

The Arewa region of Nigeria is known for many special festivals and celebrations. They are a lot of different celebrations or events that Arewa people look forward to each year. So this festivals are not just for entertainment, but also demonstrate the history, beliefs, and traditions of the Arewa people who live there. Some celebrations are for religious events, while others are for unique customs and competitions. In this article, I will explain about these celebrations and festivals and also why they are so important to the people of Arewa.

List of Arewa Traditional Festivals and Celebrations.

1. Sallah Celebration (Eid Festival)

Eid Festival or Sallah is celebrated each year by Muslims that is Eid al-Adha, which falls on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, since the introduction of Islam in Nigeria. It is known as "Eid Al-kabir" or "Babbar Sallah" in Hausa. Muslims in Nigeria celebrate it with ritual worship that includes going to the praying ground in the morning and slaughtering animals, which are mostly male sheep (rams). So Also, the three-day Eid al-Fitri festival that is the Karama Sallah in hausa celebrates the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from sunrise to sunset every day. The festival is the time to give charity to the poor and to celebrate Ramadan's completion with family and friends, as well as to share meals with family and friends. The aim if this is to share happiness with other Muslims and, in some cases non Muslims too.

Males and females of all ages gather on the prayer grounds to offer the Eid prayer. As this is one of the most important days of the year, everyone dress in new clothes and adorn his self to express their joy and happiness. They perform two rak'ahs after the imam and then remain on the prayer ground to listen to the imam's speech, which is also attended by kings and other prominent people. 


2. Durbar Festival

Durbar festivals take place at the end of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Durbars have been held for hundreds of years in the northern states, especially the Daura Emirate, and provided an opportunity for military recruits to showcase their riding skills. Durbars are now held in honor of visiting heads of state. There will be a parade, as well as shows and competitions. The horsemen wear brightly colored costumes, carried period weapons, and are accompanied by a drum corps and musicians. Modern Durbar festivals begin with prayers, followed by parades in town squares or in front of the local emir's palace.  Horsemanship is still the main focus. Each group must gallop at full tilt past the Emir, then halt and salute him with raised swords. Durbar festivals are being developed as important tourist attractions.

3. Argungu Fishing Festival 

The Argungu Fishing Festival is a four-day annual festival held in the town of Argungu in the Nigerian state of Kebbi. It began in 1934, in honor of the end of centuries of hostility between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom. In February or March, the festival is held on the Sokoto River. Thousands of fishermen compete to catch the largest fish using only nets. Other attractions include dance and music performances, sporting competitions, and art and craft exhibits. People from all over the world travel to see or observe this festival.

The festival appears to have started after the historic peace visit by Alhaji Hassan Dan Mu'azu, the then-16th Sultan of Sokoto. It is believed that the Sultan's prayers during his visit, after being treated to a reception of a large fish, made the argungu waters fertile and special, leading to the yearly commemoration of the Sultan's visit.

4. Jaci Festival

Fishing is a major source of income for the Hausa people. It has been practiced by people who live along the shorelines of rivers, lakes, and large streams since time immemorial.

Jaci is a small village in the state's Mani Local Government Area. It is situated along the 'Fadamar Jaci', a major waterway. When he was the District Head of Mani, the Late Emir of Katsina Muhammadu Dikko initiated the Jaci fishing festival around 1905. He was said to have developed an interest in the location, and he goes there every year for fishing and hunting during the dry season.

Right after his death, his successor, Alhaji Usman Nagogo (1944–1981), intended to carry on the tradition established by his father. As a result, he continued his annual visit to the site for fishing and hunting in the company of British Colonial officials based in Katsina. During the annual gathering, fishermen from various parts of the abandoned Katsina Province and neighboring Niger Republic gathered at the site. However, shortly before Alhaji Sir Usman Nagogo's death, the festival is said to have temporarily ceased until it was revived in the year 2000.


5. The Gani Festival.

 The Gani is an annual cultural festival held in the ancient town of Daura. The name of the festival comes from the Hausa word 'Gani,' which means "meeting." However, with the introduction of Islam, the Gani festival took on a new form as an Islamic festival of Eid-el Maulud to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The occasion is marked by a colorful durbar led by the Emir, including drumming, singing, dancing, gymnastic displays, and comedy. Other sites of interest include a display of horseplay, costumes, attire, and historical artifacts. Gani is observed on the 12th of Rabiul Awwal of the Islamic calendar.

6. Sharo Festival

A traditional ceremony of transition for Jafun Fulani men is the Sharo or Shadi flogging competition. The youths are led into the ring of spectators, bare-chested and armed with whips, by girls. As a commotion of singing, drumming, and cheering grows louder, each young man must endure a flogging to prove that he is a man. The young man can only marry if he passes the test, which is given by another young man his age and size. Most people survive, but they bear scars from their ordeal for the rest of their lives. The sharo is typically performed during the dry-season guinea corn harvest and again during the Id-el-Kabir festival.

Usually it lasts for a week and is held in a marketplace. There are other tyes of entertainment including dances, musical performances and tricksters, but the flogging ceremony is the main event.


7. Kalankuwa Festival 

 It is a post-harvest youth festival held in many villages and towns across the state to express gratitude for a successful cropping season and to celebrate the arrival of 'Kaka,' which is a time of increased economic and social activity.

It also gives young people the opportunity to select marriage partners. The Kalankuwa in Katsina as we know it today, on the other hand, is said to have begun around 1935. It is held every year in villages such as Shinkafi, Dankanjiba, Dutsen Safe, Rimin Guza, and others.

During the early stages of Kalankuwa, one of the most important activities is a type of drama in which the youth imitate the Hausa traditional form of authority, emphasizing the role of Sarki (King) as the political head of the community as well as the custodian of the people's culture. Traditional wrestling, boxing, singing, and dancing are also practiced in Kalankuwa.

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