Kagoro Afan National Festival: Southern Kaduna’s Rich Cultural Heritage
The Kagoro Afan National Festival, famous among the natives as ‘Chika Aelio‘, is one of the most glamorous cultural festivals in Kaduna State and perhaps Northern Nigeria as a whole. This festival is celebrated every first day of January by the Kagoro people of the Southern Kaduna sub-region of Northern Nigeria. Afan means mountain or hill and the festival’s original intent was to mark the end of the annual grains harvest and the onset of the hunting expeditions. The hills are of great significance to the Kagoro people as they share a common belief that they protected them from their adversaries in the olden days.
The festival takes place at the Chief’s palace, by the foot of the hills beginning with a cultural procession of all the units in the chiefdom and spectacular cultural displays. After sanctifying the hills, a hunting campaign takes place early in the morning of the succeeding day. The hunters climbing to a place named Jiyo (trouble) which they surround and set on alight (an act referred to as ‘burning the bush’) before beginning their expedition.
The festival has now been merged with the New Year celebration and the hunters now dress in traditional hunting attires symbolizing the return from the first hunting campaign of the year.
It usually features memorable activities like colourful carnivals amidst exquisite cools pings, flora and fauna of the surroundings of Katagwan’s footprints on the serene Kagoro hills, traditional delicacies, dances and showy performances. Lately, due to the popularity of the festival, it has taken an international dimension with the sons and daughters of Gworok Land coming together to brainstorm on pressing issues bordering their land and to showcase their rich cultural heritage as tourists, local and international, gather to witness this amazing celebration.
To add colour to the event, cultural troupes from different places such as the Mangil dancers of Plateau State and other such groups in and around Kagoro also participate in this event, giving it a multi-cultural appearance. In addition to the aforementioned, it also serves as a platform to pay commendation to the proud sons and daughters of its land. The Chief of Kagoro presents trophies to the districts and distinguished persons to show gratitude for their contribution for the betterment of the land. The celebration reaches its climax with varying displays of cultural dance steps by Kagoro youths. In gain, a novelty football match usually takes place.
Anyone can savor these awing festivals in Kagoro as the brilliant opening of all these events will surely encourage you to observe the celebration to the very end. Nothing can crush the true pleasure of giving thanks to the Almighty while still in company of friends and relations.
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