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14 Reasons Why Calabar Carnival Festival is West African Best Event

The annual Calabar carnival festival tends to be the most interesting among other festivals in West Africa, including the Ogun festival, the new yam festival, masquerade festival, the fishing festival, and more. 

Regarded generally as “Africa’s biggest street party” or “pride of Nigeria,” the Calabar Carnival, which takes place yearly in Cross River State (CRS), Nigeria, attracts attendees from both local and international countries.

It turns out to be the most significant event in West Africa due to the mind-blowing features that follow suit.

Below are reasons why the Calabar Carnival festival is the best in West Africa.

1. Interprets African culture

The Calabar carnival festival is a West African event in Nigeria that interprets African culture and provides a means to pronounce cultural identity. 

During the festival, which lasts up to a month, the Cross River State people, in particular, display and interpret the continent’s culture through their regalia and range of activities.

Both Africans and non-African indigenes travel to Nigeria to spot the featured activities, and by so doing, they understand African culture more.

Due to these attributes, West Africans regard the carnival festival as the best since it creates an avenue that describes their culture to other people.

2. Promotion of unity among West Africans 

African communities value the Calabar carnival so much because the event helps to unite all the continents, including Sub-Saharan Africa.

The annual event, since its inception, has been a means of promoting sociopolitical integration within the West African diasporic community and the host society. 

During the carnival, other African countries participate in the festival, just like the indigenes of West African.

Africans from every nook and cranny come back home to partake in the festival, and by so doing, unite with one another and make new friends.

3. Amazing street parades

West Africans develop a particular interest in the Calabar carnival festival because of the fantastic parades.

Most indigenous West Africans seize the opportunity to parade around with their music, cultural dance, and bands from one destination of the event to the other, making the event so colorful and lively. 

Seeing the parade alone will tempt you to join the cue. The sight is always fun to behold, especially to those who love cultural entertainment.

4. Imports a foreign tradition into the localized area

The one-month-long annual carnival festival includes a foreign practice into the localized area to create unique features. 

Again, it serves to adapt to other people’s culture where it fuses and celebrates the local and global culture to affirm the identity of the communities in the diaspora.

5. Features talent shows and exciting competitions

The Calabar carnival festival is among the best carnivals in Africa and the world. It features exciting displays of varieties of “battle of the bands,” also known as band competition.

During the Calabar Carnival festival celebration, several band groups are showcasing their talents and skills.

People showcase their talents to inspire viewers and help others discover theirs, and the groups which perform well get a reward in return.

The exciting band challenge makes the Calabar carnival festival exceptional from other festivals in Africa, and that is why west Africans brag about it.

6. Provides local economic growth 

Without a doubt, the Calabar carnival festival is the most significant, most exciting, and longest tourism event in Africa.

It produces local economic growth and builds political capital to supplement dwindling oil revenues that the continent is anticipating. 

Through the such as talent display carnival features, the African continent and the country, to be precise, generates revenue and creates employment opportunities.

In this way, the country gets socio-economic development by creating jobs for local economies and foreign exchange earnings through international attendees to promote cultural integration.

7. It’s the longest carnival festival in West Africa.

The Calabar Carnival has the most prolonged duration among other festivals in West Africa. 

It lasts up to one month, starting from 1st December of every year to New Year’s Eve, the 31st of December.

The most exciting thing about this event is that, from the first day of the celebration to the last day, there is no dull moment as it features the following:

 -lots of eye-catching ceremonies


– art shows

– street parties

– masque events

– sporting events

– displays of beautiful costumes and expressions of social culture.

For this reason, West Africans cherish the carnival festival more than the other numerous festivals on the continent.

8. Draws a considerable number of tourists

The sole aim of the then-governor of Calabar, Donald Duke, for establishing the carnival was to make Cross River State home for tourism, and it’s working out according to his plan.

As it stands now, the Calabar festival has emerged as the most significant and most extended tourism event in West Africa, attracting over two million revelers.

The great festival features participants from over 25 countries, proving that it has turned West African, especially Nigeria, into a tourist zone. 

Tourist visitors and attendees from different parts of the country pay to obtain accommodation before the event date. Africans attach a special kind of value to the carnival because of all the benefits.

9. Drafted with different initiatives annually 

The Calabar carnival is celebrated more than others and is the best African event because it comes with different packages and initiatives every year.

The committees in charge of tourism and culture are so resourceful that they introduce different topics and create new ideas to make the event more enjoyable.

An example is the 2015 edition-themed “climate change.” One specific thing about that year was that the then-governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, adopted beauty queens to form a band called governor’s band through the help of the tourism committee.

Also, in 2016, the organizers introduced the beauty pageant Miss Africa with other traditional dancing shows to make the event more thrilling. 

As a result of this mind-blowing development, the Africans become more interested in the festival than others.

10. Combines two carnivals in one

The Calabar carnival festival, unlike every other carnival in Africa, has a combination of two celebrations which comprises the ‘purely cultural carnival’ and ‘a contemporary Caribbean style’ of carnivals.

This quality makes it supreme among other carnivals held in West Africa.

For these unique reasons, the West Africans and other African nations don’t joke with the event.

11. Display of costumed participants 

West African regards the Calabar carnival festival as the best event among other events in the country. Many costumed participants, like dancers from different African communities, even those from outside the country, usually perform in styles during the event.

Again costumed participants like the masquerade dance display from all parts of African.

Most tourists usually go there because of the different dances from the masquerade.

12. Gathers African celebrities

Without a doubt, the African street party known as the Calabar carnival festival is a venue for all African celebrities.

The event hosts both local and international musicians, Nollywood actors and actresses, men and women of integrity even politicians and artists.

Most of the people that attend the carnival usually come to behold the sight of these public figures and their desired artists.

Among the artists present in the past Calabar, carnivals are Kirk, young Jeezy, Akon, Fat Joe, and many others. 

All these make the festival the best event among others, and the Africans acknowledged it more. 

13. Educates attendees and participants 

Among other festivals in West Africa, the Calabar carnival festival is the only one that recognizes the importance of education.

Saying that it’s the best in Africa and the world is not an exaggeration.

It incorporates educational symposiums such as essay writing, whereby secondary schools and tertiary students involve in a competition.

At the end of that academic exercise, the best student gets a reward. It is a kind of activity that encourages student attendees from across the globe.

Due to this valuable profit, West Africans made the festival the best event. 

14. Showcases African delicacies

At the Calabar carnival festival, Africans showcase their local delicacies are to people from other countries. West Africans from different tribes sell different cuisines and varieties of local food at the carnival ground.

Here, people get the chance to eat any African food they have longed to eat before.

Attendees and participants get to see and eat different African dishes that they don’t know. This unique quality about the festival makes West Africans and people from other around the world attend the festival.

Why is the Calabar festival celebrated?

The Calabar festival celebration started when the then governor of Cross River State, Governor Donald Duke, decided it would be the perfect way to boost tourism and the local economy. 

He wanted to turn Cross River State into the number one tourist destination for Nigerians.

Which carnival is the best in Africa?

Africa’s most exciting carnival is the Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria, alongside Luanda Carnival in Angola, Bijagos Carnival in Guinea Bissau, Mindelo Carnival in Cape Verde, and lots more.

When did the Calabar carnival start?

The Calabar Carnival started in 2004 when Mr. Donald Duke, the then governor, envisioned making the state tourism and hospitality hub in Africa, but it kicked off fully in 2006. 

Bottom Line

Of the truth, the Calabar carnival festival is one of the best global carnivals to attend. You will see reasons to head to Africa next year to witness the biggest street party from the abovementioned points.

The event is fun-filled and whelming, thus igniting the spirit of patriotism in the life of every African citizen, most especially the youth. It remains one of the things that draw tourists from across the globe to Nigeria at the end of every year.

Aside from the festival having a cultural interpretation, it has a lot of unbeatable benefits and values. The country’s government generates revenue from foreigners who support the event.

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