History Of Carnival In Cross River State

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By ITA EKPENYONG
Calabar Carnival, generally known as the pride of Nigeria (Africa’s Biggest Street Party).

African cultures have had a massive impact on carnival celebrations around the Globe! They have contributed to the many different carnival music styles that developed from rhythmic drum beats including samba, soca and even steelpan.

The bright colourful costumes that you see in Brazil or the Caribbean carnivals today were also influenced by African slaves who used to dress themselves in masks, feathers and other decorative items. Even many types of carnival dances developed from the African cultures.
The Calabar Carnival started in 2004 by Donald Duke (governor) of Cross River. “The carnival aimed to include more aspects of local heritage and culture and at the same time strengthen the capacity of the locals to participate in an economically beneficial way.

There are numerous programmed which normally take place during that period and the programmed is drafted each year by the committee in charge of tourism and cultural activities and new initiatives are introduced every year with different topics chosen each year to drive the carnival.

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programmed like:
Carnival Cup 2009: A football competition amongst the five competing carnival bands – Seagull, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Bayside and Freedom. This was introduce and organized by Carnival Committee in December 2009, The Festival also includes music performance from both local and international artists, Boat regatta, fashion show (Introduced in 2016), beauty pageant, (Miss Africa introduced in 2016). traditional dances and the annual Ekpe Festival is a yearly events that brings in thousands of tourists.
Other activities that make up this carnival include an essay writing competition which involves both secondary school and tertiary students. These competitions are designed to promote reading culture among the youths of the State.

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The Calabar carnival has different themes for each of the year.

2015

In 2015, the Theme was: “Climate Change
Record have it that, in a year 2015 the carnival was host to more than 15 countries. The governor adopted beauty queens to form a band known as the governors band.

2017

In 2017 calabar carnival festival, Theme: “Migration”This was to signify a long history in Africa, as it has also been the home of many cultures for many centuries.

2018The Carnival Calabar and Festival 2018 Theme “Africanism
This theme “Africanism” was introduced by Ayade to tell the African story from the African perspective.

2019The 2019 Carnival Calabar and Festival Theme is dubbed “Humanity”
The theme of 2019 carnival was the best of it kind as it was created to challenge mankind that every human being has a right to existence. And to charge mankind not to be a source of pain to another person’s life.

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The 2020 Calabar Carnival and Festival
In 2020 the Cross River State House of Assembly called for a suspension of the festival due to the mass destruction and looting of goods and infrastructure by hooligans under the auspices of the #EndSARS protest and also due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on massive gatherings in the country.