October 26, 2013

0850 NIGERIA - Durbar Festival

Nigeria has many festivals that date back to the time before the arrival of the major religions, and which are still occasions for masquerade and dance. The local festivals cover an enormous range of events, from Mada Dancers harvest festivals and betrothal festivals, to the investing of a new chief and funerals. From a religious perspective, Nigeria is apparently divided equally between Islam and Christianity between north and south, but in country still survives also the belief in traditional religious practices. So generally in the south is celebrated the Christian calendar, and in north the Muslim one.

The Muslim year revolves around three major festivals: Id Al Fitri (which marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting), Id Al Kabir (which honours the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his first-born as an act of submission to Allah's command), and Id Al Maulud (the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad). In some cities in the north of Nigeria, such as Kano, Katsina and Bida, takes place every year the Durbar festival, which is celebrated at the culmination of Id Al Fitri and Id Al Kabir.

The Durbar festival dates back hundreds of years, from the times when the Emirate in the north used horses in warfare. During this period, each town, district, and nobility household contributed with a regiment to the defense of the Emirate. Once or twice a year, the military chiefs invited the var­ious regiments for a Durbar (military parade) for the Emir and his chiefs. The festival begins with prayers out­side town, followed by procession of horsemen to the square in front of the Emir’s palace, where stands even the Emir, accompanied by his retinue, to receive the jahi (the homage). Each group racing across the square at full gallop, swords glinting in the sun. They pass just few feet away from the Emir, then stop abruptly to salute him with raised swords. The last and most fierce riders are the Emir’s household and reg­imental guards, the Dogari. After the celebrations, the Emir and his chiefs retire to the palace, and enjoyment of the occasion reigns. The fanfare is intensified by drumming, dancing and singing, with small bands of Fulanis performing shadi, a fasci­nating sideshow to behold.

About the stamp

The stamp is part of a series issued on October 9, 2005, to celebrate 131st Year of Postage stamps in Nigeria:
• 50 NGN
• 90 NGN
• 120 NGN - It's on the postcard 0850
• 150 NGN - It's on the postcard 1813

Festivals in Nigeria - onlinenigeria.com

sender: Ahmed Abbas Maswood (direct swap)
sent from Lagos (Lagos / Nigeria), on 12.12.2012

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