Archive for October, 2010

Calabar Festival:Something for everyone!

Posted: October 19, 2010 by CalabarBeckons in Uncategorized

Yearly, the city of Calabar plays host to visitors within and outside the country to its 32 days of uninterrupted fun which runs from 30th November to 1st January, featuring live musical shows, cultural parades, Carnival Queen pageant, and the king of it all, the Carnival Calabar- a 12 KM street party with over 20,000 revelers!

The Calabar festival features;

The Xmas Arcade/Cultural Village

This shopping complex consists of a temporarily infrastructural facilities hosted in the beautifully landscaped Cultural Centre Calabar. It provides an interaction space for business and leisure seekers to interact, offering and receiving various products and services. The village features “The Chief’s palace, Africa Kitchen, Traditional dances, Masquerades, Palm Wine bar, local government days meets the needs of shoppers who trope to Calabar to purchase art works, clothes, home wares, etc. Bring your appetite along because lots of addictively delicious food awaits!


The youth development zone is part of the Calabar festival package that seeks to harness the potentials of young people. Since the festival is youth driven, hence the need to prioritize young people. With 22 days of mentoring on different career patterns of music, make up, choreography, public speaking, photography and videography as well as leadership foundation sessions. Celebrities in their calling, visit the zone daily offering inspiration to participants, some of which include:  Styl-plus, Ofuneka, Obi Asika, Banky W, Kelly Handsome, Prof Laz Ekweme, Opubo Braide, IT Jazz.

YDZ is a successful example of public private partnership and is co-hosted by Heritage Alliance with contributions from YES Nigeria, KIND and Youthcare for the Cross River State Government.

The Calabar Rocks Show

The musical concerts which features renowned national and international artistes like Lucky Dube (of blessed memory), Joe, Alpha Blondy, Hugh Masekela,Wyclef,  Oliver Mtukudzi, Akon, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Chevelle Franklyn, Fat Joe, Kerry Hilson, NeYo, Weird MC, Asa, Lagbaja,Wande Coal, Tu face,and D’banj-the KOKO Master!

Tu Face performing at Calabar Rocks show!

The concerts are diversified covering the different genres of music from Raggae, Gospel, Hip Hip, Jazz, Highlife and R&B ruling the nights with its rhythms.  This is further spiced up with the array of Naija major comedy Czar; Ali Baba, Julius Agu, I go Die, etc, little wonder the followership is usually over 30,000 persons in the 18-50 year old age group.

Nyoro Ekpe

Every 30th of December, the Calabar botanical garden plays host to the Nyoro Ekpe (a festival of the Ekpe masquerades). The Ekpe Masquerade is one of the oldest and most masquerade of the Efik Kingdom. Before colonialism and the advent of Christianity, the Ekpe masquerades were used as a means of social control also playing important roles during coronation, weddings and important cultural events.  Accompanied with chants, songs and dances, the masquerades display splendor in their colourful attires, with fascinating dance steps (Nsibidi) which is usually dictated by the talking drum(ibid).

The Calabar Carnival Queen

In response to the need for an ambassador for the festival and the tourism sector of the state, emerged the Calabar Carnival Queen competition. The context is open to young women aged between 18 and 27 who have spent at least one year in the university and a minimum intelligence quota (IQ) of 70%.

So far the competition has produced three queens, Miss Chineye Uwanaka winner 2007/8, and Miss Queeneth Orok, winner 2008/9 2009 as well as Miss Mayen Ekpo, winner 2009/10. Asides the fact that winners go home with mouth -watering prizes, the Queen serves as the face for Mothers against Child Abandonment (MACA), an initiative of Her Excellency, the Wife of the Governor of Cross River State, Obioma Liyel Imoke.

Efik Madiens displaying the "Ekombi" dance

Cultural Parade

The cultural fiesta features the various dance, dress patterns, masquerades and music of the different ethnic groups in the state and in the country. The event exposes the diverse traditions and cultural ambiance of the country from the Sokoto Caliphate in the North, to the riverine communities of the Niger Delta.

Boat Regatta

Hosted on the historic waters of the Old Calabar Estuary, the regatta showcases the riverine communities of the state. The troupes display dexterity in their   flamboyantly coloured boats.  With masquerades and live music, the teams dance their way to victory as they manoeuvre their way through the waves.

Nativity Plan

This night of carol renditions features songs and drama reminiscing the birth of Christ, modeled after the “Opera” Different organizations and churches including the EXCO,  House of Assembly choirs,   the Hope Waddell Society of Music, and others  offer the audience the “Bethlehemic” experience in Calabar!

The WAD city walk

This 4km walk is in support of the campaign against HIV AIDS and in commemoration of the World AIDS Day. The event organized by the Cross River State, government with collaboration with HIV/AIDS advocacy groups and agencies comprise road shows, talks and free counseling ad Testing. The walk is led by the Governor, His Excellency Senator Liyel lmoke and his wife Mrs. Obioma Liyel-Imoke, the Deputy Governor and his wife, top Government officials and other stakeholders.

Honorary members of the Bayside Band!

Carnival Calabar!

The highpoint of the festival is the exciting and colorful Carnival Calabar. It provides the melting point for all the costume and dance reversals,and band mobilization events prior to the festival. Attracting over 20,000 costumed revelers and well over a million local and international spectators, the Carnival, dubbed Africa’s Biggest Street Party, is a unique visual display of innovation and creativity, featuring cultural influences and traditions from the past and the present in its costumes, drama, dance and music.

Carnival Calabar is a unique display of African heritage of freedom showcased through music, dance, drama and visual creativity which is reflected in the design of floats, costumes and make-up graciously displayed by the bands through a strict adjudication process. With 5 competing bands and over 10 non-competing bands dancing through the 12 Kilometre Carnival route on the 26th being the children’s Carnival and 27th the Adult carnival comes alive.  With a followership of 20,000 seated spectators and 50 million TV viewers on NTA Network, NTA International, AIT, CRBC and Continental TV (Africa Magic, Channel 0 and MTV Base), the Carnival Calabar is simply the event with the swag!


CALABAR:10 things you probably didn’t know!

Posted: October 8, 2010 by CalabarBeckons in Uncategorized

…So much of the Calabar brand, Calabar food, Calabar dress, Calabar girls, C-A-L-A-B-A-R you are too much!

A lot has been said amongst Nigerians and foreigners about Calabar, this admiration stems from the fact that, Calabar is unique; possessing distinct climatic conditions, exotic scenery and an addictively hospitable people.

So let’s take you on a ride of the 10 things you may not have known about this great city called Calabar!

  • Governance: Calabar was the seat of the British Colonial administration of the protectorate of Southern of Nigeria (1882-1906), hosted on the consular hill, which provided a beautiful scenery of the Calabar Estuary. In 1906, the southern protectorate was amalgamated with the Colony of Lagos and the administrative headquarters was moved there. 

    The Old Residency Museum

  • Sports: The game of football was played in Nigeria in 1903 at the Hope Waddell Training Institution, Calabar. The game which was introduced by Rev. James Luke, as a way of getting young men to learn discipline and the team work.
  • Architecture: Built on the Consular hill in 1884,the “Government House” an imposing two-storey pre-fabricated structure of Scandinavian red-pine wood was shipped in known down parts from Britain to Calabar, this magnificent building which tells harbors great stories of our colonial history was declared a national museum in 1959.
  • Leisure: Yearly, visitors from around the world converge in Calabar, every December  for the month long  Calabar festival, which features, live shows, cultural parades, carnival queen pageants, culminating in the two day Carnival Calabar dubbed “Africa’s Biggest Street Party”, featuring about 10,000 revelers dance in gorgeous costumes along the 12 Kilometre carnival route.
  • Home Economics: The culture of “home study” was developed in Calabar, through the Nkuho-  “Fattening Room” an informal learning system, where girls are secluded for months; where they are tutored in meal preparation and presentation,  housekeeping and management, as well as husband/child care. After completion of this process, the maidens are showcased in an elaborate public ceremony. 

    The Old Calabar Estuary

  • Recreation: Calabar is home to the African club- established in 1903, being the first club that catered for the recreational needs of Africans and non- Europeans, since the European club, established in 1896 was exclusively for Europeans. The initial membership of the club was drawn from nationalities and indigenes of the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Yorubas as well as Efiks. The club celebrated its centenary celebration In 2003.
  • Trade: Calabar was  the most expanded historic trading post for slaves, oil produce and a hub of European activities in the 14th and 18th Century.  By 1973, the old Calabar rive is reported to have had the greatest share of European traders on the cost, exchanging slaves and Ivory  for Iron and Copper bars, tankards, horse and hawk bells, pewter basins, various colorful beads and purple copper armlets of Angola make. About 130,000 slaves were carried out of the Calabar estuary by Liverpool ships to Sao Tome and the West indies.
  • Biodiversity: The Calabar botanic garden was established in 1893 and was the first of such gardens to be established in Nigeria. In the 70’s it was renamed the Calabar Zoo. Currently, it plays hosts at to a park and relax pub, with an exquisite scenery for summer weddings, adding the touch of “Green”
  • Education: As a result of the interaction between the people of Calabar and the colonialists, a “Calabar High School” is built in the beautiful island of Jamaica, till date it is one of the most competitive and popular national schools in Jamaica
  • Calabar hosts the European cemetery where the very respected and loved Mary Mitchell Slessor was buried in 1915; HM Queen Elizabeth II of England laid a wreath at her grave in 1956,to honour the young lady who single- handedly stopped the killing of twins.


…Experience Nature,Explore Opportuntities, Calabar Beckons!!!