Africa’s long held rich cultural history and heritage was told in a symbolic fashion at presumably the largest and longest tourism event in West Africa.
Filled with enthusiasm, colour, and glamour, the 2018 Calabar Carnival attracted over two million tourists, who gathered in the city of Calabar, to learn the African story with over 50 million television audience, watching the street parade and International Carnival competition from live broadcast.
Calabar Carnival is an annual, special and popular cultural festival, that displays African culture and heritage by means of music, dressing, drama and other cultural creativities of talented persons- and it is held every December in Calabar, Nigeria.
The festival, is usually a 32-day annual street party from December 1 to January 1, and this year’s edition particularly, under the theme; ‘Africanism’ was used to tell the story of the African race.
The festival, is understood to be the peak of tourism in Cross River state, and perhaps the whole of Nigeria, as tourists from all over the world gather for the period to share in the African history.
Participants were highly costumed in an admirable spectacle that reflected the cultural heritage of the African people.
The drama, music, dance and costume showcased by particapants were all creatively tailored to tell a particular story about the African race.
Over 26 countries from different continents joined in this year’s procession and display of culture and heritage from Nigeria and other parts of the continent.
Among the list of countries that participated in the International Carnival competition were Ghana’s Carnival Queens, Mexico, South Africa, Indonessia, Lithuania, Brazil, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Switzerland, United States of America, Canada and Ukraine.
These countries who participated in the International Carvival competition at the U.J Esuene Stadium infrint of judges who scored marks for the best participants.
At the end of the competition, the 1st prize was awarded to South Africa, while the second and third prize were given to Mexico and Lithuania, respectively.
Eventhough Ghana’s Carnival Queens gave an interesting account of how the Ga’s journeyed from Egypt to present location in Ghana, it was not enough to win them any laurel.
For the many other events that was held, among the highlights of the Carnival was the Calabar Carnival Parade that featured 50,000 costumed revellers who performed in five major carnival bands and other 10 non-competing bands in a 12 kilometer parade route.
It was filled with colour, sparkle, DJs, live musicians, steel bands, incredible floats and costumes, speaking high volume of the African unity and strength.
Thousands, lined up the streets to watch the parade in admiration and the atmosphere was electricfying.
Passion 4, won in the overall battle of the bands and street parade, with Seagull placing second and Freedom band coming third.
As commented by Professor Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State, the 2018 Calabar Carnival was a platform to showcase Africa to the world.
“With the theme Africanism, Africa has the opportunity of telling the whole world its story the way it knows best which is through its dance and bright colours,” he said.
“Civilisation started in Africa, so Africa must take its pride of place in the world. We are also here to show that Africa as a continent is the future, Europe is the past while Asia was the present,” he added.
Calabar hosted the world successfully without any blemish throughout the duration of the festival.
Some tourists who spoke to the GNA commended the – Cross River State Carnival Commission for the quality level of hospitality, security, transport system and organisation.
“The exhilarating display of the rich African culture and heritage was worth every minute in Calabar,” Nora, a Ukrainian said.
By Dennis Osei Osei Gyamfi