Nigeria, the most populous country of Africa, is a nation of diverse cultures and traditions. New Year, which is celebrated on January 1, gives a moment of unanimous celebrations to everyone. That is the reason behind considering the New Years Eve as the most enthusiastic and celebrated days of the year in Nigeria.
Almost all ethnic groups belonging to different religions, cultures, and beliefs, move ahead of all those aspects to be a part of unity and to be a part of New Year. One can sense the excitement, pomp, and spectacle flowing in the air of Nigeria, when everyone seems to be happy, and to be far away from the real world of troubles.
Celebrations on New Years Eve in Nigeria
Initially, New Year is considered to be a festival drawn out of the religion of Christianity, in almost all parts of the country other than the northern part. However, the thought process got more liberal, and even people from other beliefs including the prominent Islamism, started celebrating New Years Eve with ecstasy and enthusiasm. However, the ways with which different religious followers celebrate it is slightly different from others.
But, the spirit and essence is same at its core. People offer prayers to the supreme lord, in His undefined form, to confer them and their corresponding beings with happiness and peace in the coming year. Everyone believes in doing so, as prayers are considered to be auspicious and drivers of prosperity and good luck in one’s life.
New Years Eve is also a time to remember one’s evil acts in the past year, making a confession of them, and if possible, renunciation of them. It is a time, when people make resolute promises to themselves with which one will abide by in the coming year. Wishing all other with good luck, success, and New Year wishes is another prominent part of Nigerian New Years Eve.
Usually, people do that at the stroke of midnight, in the midst of the celebrations either occurring on a private place or socially. Some time, people make a visit to those whom they had offended or had get offended in the last year. They ask them for their forgiveness or grant them forgiveness, and insist to get started again in a pleasant way.
People in Nigeria take it easy during New Year’s time. They love to enjoy, which is quite in evident with their easy dance moves, which go on and on during the entire New Years Eve. People play traditional local drums, and sing traditional songs reflecting hopes, aspirations, and optimism which they hold for the coming year.
Traditions on New Years Eve in Nigeria
Most of the religious groups, and their holy places, make it a point to observe a month long fast (a period which may vary) and engage in intense prayers in the preceding time of New Years Eve.
Another important tradition associated with New Years Eve is setting off firecrackers, which brings in moments of color, light, and joy in the life of everyone. However, it is not community driven, and in fact, is mostly observed by people in their respective selves. Usually, people of young age gather, and move from streets to streets, and houses to houses, while bursting firecrackers and while wishing everyone on the way with New Year wishes.
New Years Eve is a time, when people like to spend. Market places are over-crowded, with lots of people buying new clothes, shoes, and sandals. While shopping, fulfilling needs and wishes of children remain higher on the list of prominence. It is only after fulfilling them that elder members of the family think of buying something for them.
Another prominent tradition is presenting all near and dear ones with New Year gifts, which might be in the form of cash, foods, drinks, or even a feast at the house. Some people also make sure to present gifts to their religious priests.
People in Nigeria also see New Years Eve as an opportunity to make a visit to some exotic destination, or at least travel through the beautiful places within the country along with their friends or family. Some other prefer to make a visit to their native villages or cities, meet old friends and relatives, and present them with New Year gifts apart from immense happiness.