Durbar Festival, an annual festival celebrated in some northern Nigeria cities, has been cancelled.

This will be the first time in over 200 years that the three-day Durbar, or horse parading ceremony, in Kano has been cancelled.

Durbar is usually hosted by the Emir of Kano to mark and commemorate two annual Muslim Festivals,  Eid-ul-Fitr ( the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (the Hajj Holy Pilgrimage).

A procession of horsemen dressed in flamboyant style spice up the event. The horsemen pass through the city to the Emir’s palace, take turns to charge towards the Emir, and pull up just feet in front of the seated dignitaries to offer their respect and allegiance.

A ritual, i’tikaf, which precedes Dubar, during which some people spend the last 10 days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in seclusion praying in mosques, was called off due to security concerns.

Palace officials said the festival was cancelled due to the Emir’s poor health.
However, other people have suggested that the cancellation may be due to continued concerns about security, and the campaign of violence being waged by the Islamist group, Boko Haram.

Palace official, Abbas Sanusi, said the Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero, could not go ahead with the Durbar Festival known as Hawan Sallah, because of his “fragile” health.

He further stated that the public should pray for his recovery and for peace to return to Kano state.

Thousands of people, mostly Hausa Muslims, normally attend the Durbar, which was due to take place at the weekend. The Emir was expected to ride a horse for three days, as the Durbar honours the power and heritage of the Hausa community. The cancellation is said to have caused disappointment in Kano.

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