Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Nigerian Argungu Fishing Festival

Argungu Fishing Festival
Photo Credit: MFK
The Nigerian Argungu Fishing festival is a 4 day cultural festival culminating in a fishing contest. After a few days of various competitive and cultural activities, such as a craft exhibition, traditional boxing, wild duck catching and canoe racing, the anticipated contest arrives. Up to 10,000 competitors await for the gunshot that heralds the start, when teams of two race to the muddy water of the Matan Fada stream. Carrying a fishing net and a gourd (for flotation), the teams have one hour to search the stream for freshwater fish to be caught bare handed. When the fish is caught, it is presented to awaiting dignitaries and weighed. Since fishing in the stream is forbidden throughout the rest of the year, plenty of fish abound. The team with the largest fish wins money and, recently, a vehicle such as a minibus. 

You can find a slide show of photographs of the festival here.

Taking place in the North Western state of Kebbi, this tradition started in 1934 to celebrate the peace agreement ending centuries of hostility between the Hausa Kebbi Kingdom and the Sokoto Caliphate  - the latter was an Islamic state that had taken control of a Hausa village in the early 19th century. The festival also heralds the time to welcome the fishing season.

MTN Kulture Fest put together a short clip of the Argungu Fishing festival:

The Argungu Fishing festival and the Eyo Festival are both from Nigeria, and (from what I could find out) are held one day after the other this year. Despite this, they are very different from each other (which is clearer when watching the video clips). The Eyo festival in Lagos is in the south, on the coast, whereas the Argungu Fishing festival is in the north. It was interesting for us to note the differences in geography, attire, and overall energy. 

Map used was sourced from: The World Factbook 2013-14. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2013 .


  1. How interesting! I loved the last bit of the video where the man was diving until all you see is his feet sticking up! I am learning so much from you.

    1. I can't even imagine the bedlam that it must be to have so many people swimming and fishing in that stream!! So interesting, isn't it?

  2. I really enjoyed looking at the slide show.
    I'm interested to know whether you find this study more overwhelming than China or Greece? I'm reading it shaking my head, thinking there must be so many festivals celebrated throughout the countries you've chosen. At least with China they all pretty much celebrated the same festivals.
    I think this is a huge undertaking, and I bet you are completely taking it in your stride! (My mind boggles just pondering it all!)

    1. There are SO many festivals, and so different between ethnic groups, let alone regions and countries... I may be starting to question my judgement on this one! :-)
      I will only be showcasing the festivals that come up a lot when reading about the area, turns out two of them happened near the same time this year, or so that is what I could find online.

    2. To answer your question, since it seems I missed that :) so far I would say more overwhelming than Greece, but less so than China - the festivals may be a bit more confusing, but there is just such a wealth of culture, and so readily available to learn about from China, it was difficult to decide what to focus on. With West Africa, I can only work with what's available to me, which will hopefully keep me in line :)


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