My dad (hey dad) sent me an article recently that stated that the National Council for Arts and Culture had unveiled the 37 cultural wonders of Nigeria.
The list was made based on peculiarities (both tangible and intangible) that are unique to the various states in Nigeria, natural endowments, evidence of creative human interactions and much more.
I was pretty excited about this list and while going through, I realised that at the time of writing this post I had only visited/experienced 3 out of the 37 (Ikogosi, Olumo Rock and Osun Grove). Soon to be 4 when we head to Dada Pottery in Kwara at the end of the month (you should come along).
We’ve had guest writers who have also been to some but it’s not the same as visiting ourselves.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to ensure that I visit/experience/see all 37 cultural wonders of Nigeria (that are also within safety limits) in 2 years. Some might be done solo, with friends, Mr. Pratt, our regular tours etc but they will be done and I shall update you here.
Wondering what this 37 cultural wonders are? Well look no further
1. Ohafia War Dance (Ikpirikpi Ogu) in Abia State – This is a fierce dance of Ohafia warriors and continues to be a part of their identity.
2. Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa State – This is a UNESCO world heritage site with sacred symbols and remains of traditional iron smith technology.
3. Ekpo Masquerades, Akwa Ibom State – These masquerades depict social ethos with their intricately made masks and raffia outfits.
4. Ijele Masquerade, Anambra State – This is said to be the biggest masquerade festival in Sub Saharan Africa. The town itself is also listed in the UNESCO archives.
5. Yankari National Park, Bauchi State – This is said to be Nigeria’s largest national park where sightings of animals are possible.
6. Swange Dance, Benue State – A vibrant popular dance that moves in rhythm to a horn being blared.
7. Bayelsa State venerates the Shark – This is an ode to the aquatic splendor, strength and sea faring instinct of the people.
8. Zanna Cap, Borno State – This classic woven cap is a fashion statement for the men of Borno state.
9. Ekombi Dancers, Cross River State – This is one of the top 5 dances in Nigeria. Young Efik women are said to partake in this to show off their beauty.
10. Akwa-Ocha, Delta State – This traditional, woven white fabric has over the years represented different things from purity to being an accessory of utility.
11. Nkwa-Umu-Agbogho, Ebonyi State – This is a maiden rite of passage that is done in search of suitors.
12. Queen Idia Head of Benin, Edo State – This is an ivory, sculptural portrait of the powerful Queen Idia. This shows the craftsmanship of the Benin people.
13. Ikogosi Spring, Ekiti State – This is where the warm and cold springs meet without mixing.
14. Odo Masquerade Festival, Enugu State – These masquerades are said to be the spirits of the ancestors.
15. The Herdsmen of The Savannah, Gombe State – In this state, traditional cattle rearing is a lifestyle.
16. Mbari Art, Imo State – A sacred house is constructed as a museum with life size sculptures in honor of the earth goddess.
17. Baturiya Bird Sanctuary, Jigawa State – This is said to be home to over 378 species of birds, some of which immigrated from Australia and Europe.
18. Nok Culture, Kaduna State – This pushed Nigeria’s craftsmanship to the world as remains of the iron age were found there in 1928.
19. Dye Pits, Kano State – This is often referred to as the pride of the North and has been in existence since 1948.
20. The Gobaru Minaret, Katsina State – This is the symbol of Katsina state and is a salute to Muslim architecture.
21. Argungu Fishing Festival, Kebbi State – This is one of the oldest festivals in the country and has continued to contribute to the socio-economic needs of the people.
22. The Igotorungoto, Kogi State – This shows the traditional weaving history of Nigeria.
24. Eyo Masquerade, Lagos State – This is also known as the Adamu Orisha play. Eyo is said to embody the spirits of those whole lived in Isale Eko and the festival is usually to pay homage.
25. Farin Ruwa Falls, Nasarawa State – This is said to be the highest waterfall in Africa with a drop higher than that of it’s sister, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia.
26. Brass works of Niger State – Niger state is home to intricate brass and traditional ornaments that are sure to have you spending money.
27. Olumo Rock, Ogun State – This is the rock that God molded and was once a point of refuge for the Egba people.
28. Obitun Dance of Ondo State – This is a maiden dance for the young women of the state. From the coral beads to the different outfits worn, it’s a colorful event.
29. Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, Osun State – This is a UNESCO world heritage site that hosts people from around the world in a yearly festival. Brought back to life by Suzanne Wenger, it is a home for worshipers of all shapes and size.
30. Talking Drums of Oyo State – The talking drums are said to be the king of all drums and are very central to story telling in Oyo state. Even in today’s world, the talking drum is celebrated and still used in contemporary music.
31. Shere Hills, Plateau State – Rock formations at its best with undulating hills and lush vegetation. (upset that I couldn’t partake in the tradition of visiting these hills when I was in secondary school)
32. The Boat Regatta Carnival, Rivers State – This remains a poignant carnival in the state and depicts the aquatic culture of the people.
33. Sultan’s Palace – Sokoto State – The Sultan’s palace is called a Muslim architectural masterpiece. It is grand, regal and even the palace guards are a must see.
34. Gashaka Gumti National Park, Taraba State – Wetlands, savannah, bio and eco diversity and so much more make it a place one must visit.
35. Dawu Ngasho, Yobe State – These are fabrics of blue and indigo hues made and worn by men. It showcases craftsmanship, art and grandeur.
36. Kwartarkwashi Rock/Water Spring, Zamfara State – This used to be a sanctuary for Eagles but has now evolved into a festival associated with rock climbing. The spring is also clear and a primary tourist attraction in the state.
37. The Gabyi Women, Abuja – These women carry heavy items on their shoulders instead of their heads. They mostly walk around topless and they’re deeply traditional. Sighting one is usually a delight as they continue to be pushed out of central Abuja.
And there you have it guys. All these are cultural wonders of Nigeria and I plan on experiencing the ones I haven’t been opportuned to yet and showing you.