Among dozens of colourful festivals held in Nigeria, the durbars are most amazing. Marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, they take place in cities in the north of the country. Kano and Zaria in particular attract thousands of locals and a handful of foreigners, mainly residents of Nigeria.
These matrial parades date back to the times where each noble family was expected to contribute a military unit that would defend their ruler. Once in a while, each regiment would present themselves in armour and horse entourage to show readiness to war and loyalty to the emir. The British adopted this custom as "durbar" (a word that derives from Persian and means court pageant) during the rule of Queen Victoria. After Nigeria gained its independence, durbar ceremonies were again linked with pre-colonial traditions.
Durbar festivals in Kano and Zaria are fascinating events. After the morning prayer, a large procession of horsemen in their finest attire accompany the emirs to their palaces. There are numerous equestrian shows. Musicians, snake charmers and spectators join the parade which lasts until the evening.
Enjoy the celebrations and treasure the memories of friendliness and hospitality of the Hausa people for the rest of your life.