Africa

Inside the Durbar festival in northern Nigeria

By Enuma Okoro, for CNN

Updated 1726 GMT (0126 HKT) July 3, 2017
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Durbar  Festival Horse backDurbar  Festival Horse back
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Nigeria is host to a variety of rich and diverse cultural traditions across its states. This time of year in Northern Nigeria, a part of the country rich with the history of ancient Islamic kingdoms, the annual Durbar Festival is celebrated in states like Kano, Katsina, Zaria and Sokoto. [Photos by Enuma Okoro]
Courtesy Enuma Okoro
Originally the festival was associated with wartime allegiance, a parade of horsemanship before the Emir to showcase  the readiness and loyalty of his regiments. Today it remains a rich, colorful event typically used to mark the significant Islamic holidays, Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. Courtesy Enuma Okoro
The Durbar features a parade of vibrantly clad horsemen in colorful traditional robes and turbans who process by regiments to the Emir's palace led by local leaders, local musicians and traditional performers setting off loud muskets to a delighted palace audience as they honor the Emir. Courtesy Enuma Okoro
Before the Durbar begins, officials dress the grounds to receive dignitaries attending the ceremony at the Emir's palace.
Courtesy Enuma Okoro
As the Durbar is often held to commemorate Eid celebrations, people typically visit mosques for prayers before joining the crowds gathering towards the Emir's palace. 
Courtesy Enuma Okoro
This year, the crowds were received by Emir of the Zazzau, Alhaji Dr. Shehu Idris, who was turbaned in 1975.
Courtesy Enuma Okoro
Once at the palace, people join the townspeople and palace officials decked out in their royal uniforms and finery to wait for the Durbar to begin. Courtesy Enuma Okoro
Closer to the palace, cars and motorbikes begin to stall as regally dressed horsemen in colored turbans weave through the traffic of cars and pedestrians Courtesy Enuma Okoro
Part of the magnificence of the Durbar is the sheer visual feast of it all. Even the horses are regally adorned, draped festively in cobalt blue and blood red tapestried saddles, with gold fringes hanging from their ornate headgear. Courtesy Enuma Okoro