Calabar is the capital of Cross River State, the original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, from the Efik language. The city is watered by the Calabar and Great Kwa Rivers and creeks of the Cross River.
Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria, also tagged ” Africa’s Biggest Street Party”, was created as part of the vision of making the Cross River State the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourists all over the world.
The carnival which begin on every 1 December and last till 31 December has boosted the cultural mosaic of Nigeria people while entertaining the millions of spectators within and outside the State, and boosting industry for all stakeholders.
It was started in 2004 by the then governor of Cross River State Mr. Donald Duke with a vision of making the state the hub for tourism and hospitality in Nigeria and Africa.
This is the most elaborate festival in Nigeria. It is a celebration of creativity and culture that blends with both the traditional and modern lifestyle of the people in Cross River State. It features colourful costumes and mesmerising dancers and has attracted over a million people to witness the colourful carnival.
This festival has made Cross River State become the pride of Nigeria in terms of tourism, carnival and hospitality.
Each year new activities are inculcated into the plan. In 2009, the ‘Carnival Cup’ a football competition was organized amongst the five Carnival Bands which are Seagull, Passion 4, Master Blaster, Bayside and Freedom Bands.
Boat Regatta, Christmas Village, Traditional Dances and the Annual Ekpe festival is a yearly event that brings in Revelers to the state.
This year, the Carnival is taking a new phase as the existing Governor Prof. Ben Ayade is making it an International Carnival with over 10 countries to be in attendance.
ACCORDING TO THE CROSS RIVER STATE GOVERNMENT, THE 2017 CALABAR CARNIVAL EDITION IS INSPIRED BY MIGRATION: Africa has always known Migration; it has also been the home of many cultures for many centuries. During slavery and colonization time, Africa was the home for many foreigners. Now it becomes the land of opportunity.
This time the world recognizes it as the new frontier, not to be exploited for the benefits of others but to be cultivated on its own. The Calabar Carnival and Festival is an opportunity to bring people together in going beyond tribal and religious conflicts. It also showcases Africa’s talent and several opportunities.