Argungu fishing festival is a way of life for the people of Kebbi State. The festival preserves tradition and promotes conservation. The annual festival takes place in February and marks the end of farming season and start of the fishing season. The festival is a four-day cultural event. It begins with an agricultural show, water sport displays, traditional Kebbawa entertainments and ends with the spectacular fishing competition in the Mata Fadan River.
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ArgunguArgungu town is located in Kebbi State, northwestern Nigeria, the town is the seat of the Argungu Emirate and home of the largest fishing festival in Africa. The people are warm and receptive.
The HistoryThe Argungu fishing festival began in 1934, marking the end of centuries old hostility between Sokoto Caliphate and Kebbi Kingdom. The festival quickly became a celebration of life and unity.
The River SacrificeBefore the commencement of the fishing festival, the custodian of the river 'Sarkin Ruwa' ensures the river is safe by performing sacrifices to the river oracle to gain its permission.
There is a saying that Africa is the festival continent. Throughout the year in towns and villages across the continent, colorful and vibrant religious, harvest, fertility, and cultural festivals are held. Bare-hand fishing competition among thousands of fishermen, equipped with a hand net and large gourd, is the main event of the cultural extravaganza at Argungu in Kebbi State in northwestern Nigeria. The competitors splash into the stream, scouring the water for huge freshwater fish. The Argungu fishing festival (Fashin Ruwa) is a celebration of life. It is a tool of conserving natural resources, maintaining and promoting traditional life. It is the precursor of today's fishery management measure. The local people believe they have been fishermen for all time. The effective conservation of natural resources is closely linked to the use of the local knowledge and hence the life of the community. It is also part of an ancient fertility ritual which, from the point of view of the local Kebbawa people, is the most important aspect of the occasion. The festival takes place usually in February after all agricultural work is finished. It marks the end of the growing season, and it opens the fishing season with a bang.
 The Argungu Fishing Festival is an annual four-day festival in the town of Argungu in the north-western Nigerian state of Kebbi. It began in the year 1934, as a mark of the end of the centuries-old hostility between the Sokoto Caliphate and the Kebbi Kingdom. The festival is held on the Sokoto river in February or March. Thousand of fishermen equipped only with nets compete to catch the largest fish. Other attractions include dance and music, sporting competitions and exhibits of arts and crafts. People from various parts of the world come to see or look at this festival. The festival is believed to have started after the historic peace visit by the then 16th Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Hassan Dan Mu'azu. It is believed that the prayers of the Sultan during his visit after he was treated to a reception of a big fish made the argungu waters fertile and special which then lead to yearly commemoration of the Sultans visit.
This colorful annual festival takes place in Arugungu, a riverside town in Kebbi State, about 64 miles from Sokoto. The leading tourist attraction in the area, the festival originated in Aug. 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu'azu made an historic visit. In tribute, a grand fishing festival was organized. Since then, it's become a celebrated yearly event held between Feb. and March. During the festival, hundreds of local men and boys enter the water, armed with large fishnet scoops. They are joined by canoes filled with drummers, plus men rattling huge seed-filled gourds to drive the fish to shallow waters. Vast nets are cast and a wealth of fish are harvested, from giant Nile Perch to the peculiar Balloon Fish. Furthermore there's canoe racing, wild duck hunting, bare-handed fishing, diving competitions and naturally, swimming. Afterwards, there is drinking, singing and dancing into the night. The fisherman with the biggest catch is awarded a huge prize at the end of the festival.
On the final day of the festival a fishing competition takes place in the River Mata Fada. Participants can win a cash prize of $7,500 U.S. Dollars but are only permitted to use traditional fishing tools or their hands. The winner of the competition is the person who captures the largest fish in the space of an hour.
Other aspects of the festival include canoe racing, wild duck hunting, barehanded fishing, diving competitions and swimming. Subsequently a lot of drinking, singing and dancing takes place with festival goers celebrating into the night.
The unique nature of this festival has made it a success amongst the peoples that attend it, however concern over low water levels has plunged the festival into doubt in recent years with the festival organisers, even temporarily banning fishing in 2006. In order to safeguard the festival it was inscribed into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016.
Every year, Nigerians and people from around the world look forward to Argungu fishing festival. The four-day events began as a way to bring neighboring villages together in peace. During the first three days of the festival, people enjoy motor rally, canoes races, and a fair. People dance to traditional music and watch many different sporting events. The fishing competition happens on the last day of the festival. Thousands line up along the banks of the Sokoto River with nets to catch fish. 076b4e4f54