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Lagos Showcases Its Yoruba Roots With Brazilian-Style Carnival

posted 3 Apr 2013, 07:08 by Mpelembe   [ updated 3 Apr 2013, 07:08 ]

A week-long carnival themed "Bring Back Brazil" celebrates the heritage of the Yoruba speaking people who trace their roots back to Brazil and make up a large population of Nigeria's most populous city,Lagos. Over 12,000 people participated this year.

 LAGOSNIGERIA (APRIL 01, 2013) (REUTERS) - Hundreds danced on the streets of Nigeria's sprawling capital, Lagos as an annual Brazilian-inspired carnival marked its fourth season ended on Sunday (April 01).

The carnival is the climax of a week long Black heritage festival funded by Lagos State and focused on foreign nations that have absorbed Nigerian culture.

This year its theme was "Bringing Back Brazil" and showcased the link between Nigeria's Yoruba speaking people and descendants of Yoruba slaves taken to Brazil hundreds of years ago from Africa.

According to experts at the Yoruba Institute of Art and Culture, opened in Brazil in 2006, "Brazil andNigeria are twin sisters who share the same interests, culture and challenges."

Olusegun Jawando, chairman of the festival's planning committee said the plan is to attract Afro-Brazilian Diaspora to trace their roots and learn the history of their people.

"It reflects on the culture of the Brazilian and also on the original culture in which the black Brazilian was based which is basically Yoruba and as you may be aware, there's a very strong Yoruba culture in Brazilparticularly in Payel, in the north-eastern part of Brazil where people even still eat Nigeria food, akara, dodo and all that and all these sort of things so, the attempt is to be able to link up with this traditional part of Brazil," he said.

Over 12,000 people from all over Lagos took part in the festival this year, only a small fraction compared to the Brazil Carnival's over 1 million participants.

"It has not reached that Brazilian standard but they're working on it because from you know that 2010, they had just started, they're getting experienced this 2013. I think they will reach but it's not now but this year now, it hasn't reached Brazilian standard," said Alera Lahad, a Brazilian fashion designer based inLagos.

"It has been very very nice and very very fun indeed compared to the last one because I believe they are really improving compared to the previous one, the first time, second time, third time and I think this is the fourth time really and there's a really big improvement compared to the previous one," said Anthony Anderson, a Lagos resident.

One of the staples of the annual Black Heritage festival is a boat regatta, where hundreds of fancy decorated boats float through Lagos' lagoon to showcase Nigeria's aquatic splendour.

Lagos state in December 2012, formally launched 2013 as the "Year of Brazil."