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Cultural Tourism in Nigeria

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INDIVIDUAL ESSAY Essay Title: Cultural tourism festivals and events in Nigeria Name: Deborah Vincentsdaughter TABLE OF CONTENTS Contents INTRODUCTION3 Cultural tourism3 LITERATURE REVIEW4 Festivals and events4 Cultural festivals in Nigeria5 Festivals and impacts6 Igue festival6 New yam Festival (Iri ji Ohuru/iwa ji7 Gbagyi Gbodogun8 CRITICAL ANALYSIS11 CONCLUSION11 REFERENCES12 INTRODUCTION Tourism generally has to do a lot with social activities. A typical example is the adventure tourism which is a type of tourism that provides an opportunity for people to challenge nature and everything about it.

This type of tourism provides opportunities for activities such as: Hand gliding and Para sailing which are grouped under hard adventure; while hot sports and wild life are grouped under soft adventure. The chambers dictionary has defined tourism as the events of tourists and those who make it available for them. Tourism as defined in a book says that it is the study of how good human beings can cope when they are away from their normal habitats, of the industry that meet his needs and lastly of the impacts that both he and the industry have on the host’s in such ways; sociocultural, economic and physical environments. Jafari 1977) Getting information from another book about tourism, differences in the definitions of tourism could be traced to the following approaches; Economic, technical and holistic. 1.

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Economic definitions emphasizes on the business area of tourism, but if it were to be criticized by leiper(1979) that it fails to even discuss about the tourist and his motivations or limitations in travelling. 2. Technical approach to the definition of tourism aims at mainly the governments and the tourism industry organizations that want to monitor the size and other important issues about tourists markets. . In 1942 holistic type defined tourism as “the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, in so far as they don’t lead to permanent residence are not connected to any earning activity. Cultural tourism Cultural tourism is a part of tourism. This part of tourism is an activity in which a particular group of people in a definite area present their heritage or cultural assets for tourists to see and appreaciate.

The UNWTO(united nations world tourism organization) produced two definitions based on two approaches which are; * The narrow definition-derived from the professional, product-based approach to defining cultural tourism. This definition includes ‘movement of persons for basically cultural motivations such as; study tours, performing arts, cultural tours, travel to festivals and so many other cultural events, visits to sites, travel to study nature, folklore and pilgrimages(Richards 1996:22) * The wide definition-is based on conceptual, process-based approach.

Has to do with the migration of persons because they satisfy the human need for diversity, tending to raise the cultural level of the individual and giving rise to new knowledge, experience and encounters(Richards 1996:22) Cultural tourism involves four elements according to my research and they are as follows; * Tourism * Use of cultural heritage assets * Consumption of experiences and products * The tourist(cultural tourists) According to ICOMOS (International council on monuments and sites) observed that “cultural tourism means many things to many people and herein it’s strengths and weaknesses”.

This part of tourism is also known as a form of special tourism where culture plays the role of either attracting tourists or motivating people to travel (McIntosh and Goeldner 1992: Zeppel 1992; Ap 1992). LITERATURE REVIEW Festivals and events In this section, festivals and events in Nigeria will be discussed fully and their impacts analysed. It will be wise to discuss what festivals are all about first before going on to other things.

Festivals are an important expression of human activity that contribute much to our social and cultural life and that they are also increasingly linked to generating business activity and providing income for their host communities(Ellen et all 2002). In some cases festivals are not observed with the motive of attracting tourists, their nature,destination,range of performers and productions in one place over a short period of time ,commonly in the summer months, encourages viewers(people) far and near/all over to come. They can take many forms, eg. music-rock, pop, jazz and folk types of music.

There are also wine and cultural festivals. EVENTS INDUSTRY-this is an industry where festivals are grouped under. Cultural festivals in Nigeria Nigeria has so many festivals that have been in existence since the time of our ancestors, until the arrival of different religions as we have today but still yet festivals are taken as important occasion. Local festivals in Nigeria have a lot to do with different events such as; harvest festivals, betrothal festivals, crowning of a new chief and funerals. Today the western world and system has influenced our local festivals eg. ances that were performed by members of each village have now been transferred unknowingly to proffesionals. This country is rich in divers festivals which includes; * Egungun festival celebrated in Ijebu ode town of ogun state in May. * Odum festival celebrated by the ijaws of okirika in Benue state. Normally done in the month of April. * Barakau normally celebrated with animal sacrifices by the Fika people of Potiskun in yobe state. Done in July. * Nduku festival is known to be celebrated by the people of Ogume in Ndokwa local government area of Delta state. It is a November festival. * Igue estival this one is celebrated by the benis of Edo state in the month December. * New yam festival is done generally by the Ibo’s in Nigeria in the month of August. * Gbagyi gbodogun takes place in Gadabuke village and celebrated by the agadabukeyi’s (natives of the village) in toto local government area in Nasarawa state. Often observed at the end of the year November/December. * Oro festival is a tradional annual Yoruba event usually observed in the month of July. Among all these festivals listed out and summarized briefly, only three of them will be discussed and their impact as well in the next section.

The local festivals are; 1. The Igue festival 2. New yam festival(Iri ji ohuru/iwa ji) 3. Gbagyi Gbodogun Festivals and impacts Igue festival; is the one am going to be discussing about first. It is done in the ancient city of the Benin kingdom, Benin located in Edo state in the southern part of Nigeria and takes place in the month of December. It marks the anniversary of the death of the past obas in Bini Kingdom. Igue festival usually goes on for seven days, and then on the seventh day, the conclusion is now celebrated. Sacrifices and offerings are made to the gods, songs are also sung along during the period.

The sacrifices offered are primarily used to cleanse the land, so that it becomes clean enough for the gods to be appealed. The people involved are the oba (king) of the Benin kingdom, his chiefs, subjects and the Benis of Benin, Edo state. In the past, their practices used to be sacrificing human beings for cleansing of the land to the gods until the present Oba Erediauwa came into power and stopped it. Presently such things don’t take place in the festival again, though sacrifices are being made, humans are no longer sacrificed, rather with animals for example goat.

Apart from these, the Benis practice so many other things while celebrating the Igue festival which includes; the chiefs dressing in their finest traditional attires, joining the oba in songs and dances, by name Ugie Ewere. They do this with the Eben Emblem. Masquerades also perform the local dances to entertain the audience. While the festival is still on, all the Ihogbe presents symbolic Ewere leaves to the Oba. As the festival is celebrated yearly, the Oba celebrates Ugie Ewere (the anniversary of his marriage to Ewere some years back).

The Bini people also use the festival as an opportunity for offering thanks to the gods for sparing their lives and request for more blessings. Public holidays are always given, and people are told not to move for that period of time. Impacts of igue festival The igue festival leaves its impacts in the lives of the Benin Edo people in these ways; * Economically; there are more activities in the area. For example a lot of people engage themselves in buying and selling in preparation of the event. * Socially; the festival creates a good publicity and image for the area. Eg. he people who come for the festival may want to re-visit the place, not just for a particular reason but to have a feeling of the environment. * Geographically; as people come from other tribes to witness the event, it gives the community an opportunity to be developed and supports environmental enhancement. New yam Festival (Iri ji Ohuru/iwa ji); to eat a new yam/to break a new yam, that is what the words written in another language called Ibo means. Most times it depends on the village, but it is normally celebrated in the market place, where the god of the community/village is kept.

The Iwa ji festival (new yam festival) is celebrated in the month of August. This festival, is all about celebrating a new yam(which is one of the most important food and first crop to be harvested in the eastern region) Old yams are brought out and discarded/consumed and the breaking of the new yam follows, it is usually done by the Igwe(king) or the chief priest depending on the destination, The people involved are the members of the village, chiefs or elders of the village, chief priest and the Igwe.

In order for the festival to be a successful one, so many practices are involved which includes; sacrifices are made to the gods, to appease and thank them for fruitfulness, before the festival begins this is usually done by the chief priest(it is believed that their positions bestows the privilege of being intermediaries between the gods and their community),they come with the biggest sized yam for the festival, because it shows the amount of abundant fruitfulness including dishes served.

Old yams are discarded or consumed in order to pave way for the new ones, Masquerades are invited to perform and entertain people, traditional gunshots announces the opening of the ceremony at times, children are being cleansed with rituals (ima cha ahu-to clean the body) because they belief that before a person takes in anything new, it is important to cleanse the body. This belief is popular among the Easterners. Most times the yam dishes are shared between friends and well-wishers in order to enjoy and celebrate with them.

Sons and daughters of the Ibo community come back home from wherever they are in the world. Late Dim chukwuebuka Odumegwu Ojukwu described the events as “the most igbo of Igbo events”, because it clearly shows the culture of the Ibos. Impacts of the new yam festival This festival impacts on lives of the locals of the eastern region in Nigeria, and they are; Positive impacts * Culturally; it strengthens the bond of the Igbos (the relationship). it reminds people of how love and unity existed and reigned among them before the civil war in the east. Socially; so many people feel happy during and after the event, because it brings their loved ones (sons and daughters) from far and near. For example Grandparents will be happy to see their children and grandchildren. * Economically; it yields the locals so much money, after they are done buying and selling. A good example for this is-people who were present at the occasion taste the yam, and would want to buy more maybe to take home or for many other reasons. Negative impacts * Culturally; sometimes people are being used for sacrifices to the gods all in the name of tradition or preserving the culture.

In addition, so many individuals get initiated into cults or fraternities which they never planned for. These initiations could be traced to the cleansing and sacrifices to the gods. Also People are being initiated into so many things. This happens because of the cleansing, sacrifices and others not mentioned. Gbagyi Gbodogun;the event takes place in northern part of Nigeria. it is being observed by the agadabukeyi’s or the Gwari people of Gadabuke village in toto local government area,in Nasarawa state. It is celebrated annually at he end of the year November/December. The festival is all about cultural values and tradition all showcasing with little sacrifices because religion has dominated tradition today. It helps to make the young ones get to know more about their customs and traditions. The people involved are the king, chiefs, governors, advocates and the villagers. Traditional dances, masquerades also display-the dance called Dawiya(the native name),their local or cultural food is being displayed and served as well by name Zhepo.

Martial arts, like the traditional martial arts are being done also,magics such as; pounding a tuber of yam on a person, and it is not painful(odi e shi-which means it is not painful in a language called Igbo),cutting an individual with a very sharp knife and it doesn’t hurt, eating razor blade and it doesn’t cut the persons mouth, pouring water into a basket and it does not lick. They normally drink palm wine, and the local food Zhepo with something to go with it. for example, garden egg soup and ponded yam.

Ceremonial cleansing is being done also before the festival, traditional wears are being worn and they are called Ajesinda. This is the local food called Zhepo The Zhepo and garden egg soup mixed together Impacts of Gbagyi gbodogun Positive impacts The festival effects the locals in so many ways, a few of them are; * Socially; it is exciting for example when people watch the masquerades dance and the magicians act, it is pleasing to the eye and heart at times. Fun; people get to enjoy themselves while celebrating the festival. eg. he people acting as masquerades find it interesting scaring people (when they run, because of fear), the traditional dancers also have fun while performing at the festival. * Culturally; it awakens the gbagyi people about their culture for them to remember, to preserve, conserve and leave the culture Authentic just the way it has always been from the first days, if not because of science and technology or the 21st century age that came in and has really impacted into it. Negative impacts * Socially; the festival reunites the Gwari people. For example Gbagyi eople come together from far and near to celebrate, and through this, people get to meet new individuals. * Culturally; youths try stupid things. Eg. they go home and practice what they have seen the magicians do at the festival just to know if it true or not. At times they aspire to be magicians and have magical powers to do whatever they wished to do. CRITICAL ANALYSIS A. Is it fair for human beings to be killed all in the name of preserving culture? For example in the Igue festival human beings were being sacrificed to appease the gods.

I personally believe that, no human being should be killed except the person has committed any crime punishable according to law and order. B. Can a festival be authentic, even after the foreign tourist’s impacts on them? Most at times, when foreigners grace these local events, they tend to introduce the western system to the locals who accept it and put it into practice. It takes a person who is properly educated and learned to know how to preserve their culture despite the influence of the foreign tourists. CONCLUSION

In a nutshell, Even if Nigeria is rich in cultural festivals, there are some practices that are not supposed to be sustained anymore and there are some that are meant to be preserved and maintained. For example, sacrificing of human beings. On the other hand, it is good for foreign tourists to come for the events and educate the locals more about festivals, but the locals also need to be educated on how to preserve their culture. REFERENCES http://emeagwali. com/nigeria/cuisine/igbo-new-yam-festival. html Robertico Rosendo croes. (2000), Anatomy of demand in international tourism, a case study of Aruba, Van Gorcum. ihttp://www. nasarawastatetourism. com/events/GbagyiGbogun. html Bob Mckercher, Hilary du cros. (2002), cultural tourism the partnership between tourism and cultural heritage management, U. S. A. the Haworth hospitality press. http://nigerianartatoyasaf. blogspot. com/2012/02/in-benin-igue-festival-2011-c elebrates. html Peter Robinson, Sine hietmann, peter Dieke. (2011), Research themes for tourism, UK, CAB international. http://www. onlinenigeria. com/festivals/? blurb=471 Milena Ivanovic. (2008), Cultural tourism, Cape Town, South Africa, Juta & company. ltd. ICOMOS AND UNWTO.

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