Nigeria's ethnic diversity makes for an interesting, eclectic and colorful mix of celebrations and events, traditionally and religiously.
The Lagos Carnival is a street carnival hosted and sponsored by the Lagos State Government. The carnival features different groups gaily and colorfully dressed who compete for the grand prize. There is a beauty pageant held days before the actual carnival where a Lagos Carnival Queen is chosen.
The competing groups show choreographed dance moves through the streets of Lagos Island, before the final performance at the Tafawa Balewa Square.
The event attracts thousands of spectators from around the world every year that come to witness the spectacular displays of the participants.
The Eyo refers to the masked masquerade dancers. The Eyo festival is held in Lagos Island due to its traditional origins.
The only people permitted to put on the Eyo outfit and participate in the festivities are Eyo initiates. There are different types of Eyos according to a hierarchy; the Adimu Orisa is however the highest rank of Eyo.
The Eyo festival takes places according to traditional and occasional demands. The Eyos always pay homage to the reigning Oba (king) of Lagos. Eyo procession is also part of the burial rites of a departed Oba or highly placed king. It is believed that the Eyo festival is the forerunner of the Rio carnival in Brazil.
The Eyo festival is now modernly organized with help from the state government and it is a source of tourist revenue for Lagos state as it attracts thousands of spectators.
The Eyo is believed to be the spirit of the ancestors and it is robed in flowing white cloth from head to toe, transforming Lagos into a sea of stunning white. The Adimu Eyo persona can only be assumed by an old and spiritually advanced male.
This carnival was created as part of the state government’s plan to make Cross Rivers state the biggest tourist attractions in the country.
Tagged Africa’s biggest street carnival, the Calabar Carnival started in 2004 and lasts through the month of December every year with different performances that attracts thousands of spectators worldwide.
The participants dress in very colorful costumes that reflect a fusion of traditional and modern day Cross River’s dress styles.