It was time to take another viral trip, and this time I landed in Benin. There’s an annual festival that happens in the northern town of Nikki, and it’s a cultural event commemorating the descendants of the Batombou tribes. Usually occurring in December, this festival takes place for seven days with the main attraction being the horse performances. It’s called La Fête de la Gaani.
La Fête de la Gaani, meaning the Festival of Joy, is done to receive good fortune, posterity, health blessings, and to reinforce the allegiance to the Batombou Kingdom. The population of Nikki, Benin, is mostly Muslim and this event helps celebrate their religious heritage. During the Gaani, the traditional chiefs of the Bariba Kingdoms pay their respects to the Batombou King. It is also during this time that the guardians of the peace and occult traditions say their prayers so that the celebration can take place in total peace and serenity.
As stated earlier, the horses are the main attraction. The horses and their riders are decorated in their best costumes and escorted to the gathering by a musical troupe. Once they arrive, the King gets settled and his followers and princes bow down to the ground, welcoming him and asking for his blessings for the coming year. A speech is given, followed by dances and drum performances. Then the riders come to show off their racing skills and expertise in training their horses to perform certain moves.
Researching African cultures is starting to become more than a hobby for me. If my funds aligned with my interests, getting on a plane to the continent would be an afterthought. But for now, I’ll continue to take full advantage of these viral tools. If you have any additional information on La Fête de la Gaani or see any errors in my research, feel free to comment below.
Until Next Time…
Abdoulaye, L. (2014, February 15). Gaani, The Celebration of Joy. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from https://unseenbenin.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/gaani-the-celebration-of-joy/.
Hatunga, R.-A. (2019, August 2). The Gaani Festival. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from https://www.berakhatours.co.uk/gaani-festival.