Nigerians are in top gear preparation for the 2019 Abuja carnival scheduled to hold on 23rd – 25th of November this year. Abuja Carnival is an annual street celebration that holds in the first week of November in the city capital with events such as roadshows, music, cultural dances, masquerades and durbar. This year, it was postponed to the above date to allow for adequate preparation.
Carnival is one public celebration that tops all celebration in Africa. It brings together thousands of Africans, gathering on the streets for what feels like never-ending days of booze, dance, and singing. It is characterized by plenty of drinks, masks, and costumes, regardless of place, name, or shape. Carnival is an event that interrupts the mundanity of daily life by its full quintessence of music and fantasy. Carnival, derived from the Latin word (“Carne vale”) which means “farewell to meat” originated from European religious events in celebrations of harvest but has over the years been fused with the traditions practiced by Africans.
Carnival street parades were traditionally a way to honor the spirits or ancestors. Anthropologist Lynne Guitar wrote about it in his essay on the origins of the Dominican Carnival. He pointed out that it was the custom of many places in Africa for people to walk around the village, singing, dancing, and wearing carefully crafted masks and colorful costumes for the purpose of bringing good luck. These parades were meant to scare away the spirits of angry dead relatives, thus it’s no surprise that symbols of death are common in many Carnival street-parades today.
Masks and feathers, while used to hide the identities of wearers during carnivals in other countries, are used to bring to life some spirit in African carnivals. It is believed that the feathers and other natural objects lend certain spiritual strengths to the individual wearing them. 2019 Abuja Carnival is a must-attend for African carnival lovers,