Thursday, 8 March 2012

Colours, glitters of Calabar Festival 2011

 Capturing these moments in pictures and letters, OYASAF crew had a feel of the Calabar people's culture of great hospitality.      
Calabar Festival is, arguably, the biggest annual multi-dimensional, multi-faceted tourism leisure and cultural event in West Africa. It holds for 32 days (starting from November and ending in January), with a major Carnival which holds for just two days. In exciting and colorful activities, the festival attracts about a million people from all over the world.  

 It started at the turn of the Millennium and has since grown in popularity and scope over the years.

 Oraginsed by The Cross Rivea State Government, it has been rated as Nigeria’s most prominent tourism brand. The state government is employing the festival to drive its tourism program and provide exposure for its vast tourism sites and infrastructure such as the Obudu Ranch Resort, the Tinapa Business Resort, Marina Resort, etc.
Dancers in costumes during the 2011 Calabar Carnival. PHOTO: BY OYASAF DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER, OGUNTIMEHIN ARIYO
  The Calabar festival, which starts with a Tree-Lighting ceremony at the Millennium Park in Calabar, the capital of the state, culminates in thanksgiving ceremony. There are also awareness campaigns and seminars on contemporary issues of global concern, children’s Christmas Camp, theatre performances, vocational training for youths, fashion and food fairs, a weekend at the Obudu Mountain Resort to celebrate Africa, and so many other side attractions. Carnival Calabar
The two-day Calabar-carnival is a unique display of African heritage showcasing music, dance, drama and visual creativity, which is reflected in the design of floats, costumes and make-up. Despite the fun and relaxed atmosphere around the carnival, a great degree of thought, creativity and discipline goes into the interpretation of the carnival theme under a strict adjudication process. The result is pure magic – an outpouring of colour, sound and spectacle, unmatched by anything else on the continent of Africa.  

 Calabar carnival takes place on the 26th and 27th December, every year and is the highlight of the 32-day Calabar Festival. The carnival is reputed to parade thousands of costumed revellers, millions of spectators complemented by an millions of TV viewers on Nigeria television Authority (NTA) Network, NTA International, African Independent Television (AIT), Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC) and Continental TV (Africa Magic, Channel 0 and MTV Base).

Calabar Carnival features five major competing musical bands together with many non-competing bands. The major bands are comprised of approximately 10,000 revellers, including up to five kings and queens wearing large scale costumes that interpret the annual theme and set the tone for the other outfits.

Sections of these costumed revellers create beautiful colour and sparkles, accompanied by live music, Deejays, well-decorated floats and steel bands. The carnival parade terminates at the Uj Esuene Stadium which is the final adjudication and end point of the competition for ‘Band of the Year’ in various categories. This competition attracts thousands of seated spectators around the stadium, as well as millions of television viewers.


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