Festivals in the Ivory Coast are often a celebration of cultural traditions. With a good number of the population adhering to the Muslim faith, religious events related to Islamic beliefs are widely observed. Ivoirians also celebrate different kinds of historic holidays, many of which are characterized by festive parades and colorful performances.
Carnival in Bouaké
The Ivoirians version of Mardi Gras, this week-long carnival is one of the most well-attended events in the Ivory Coast. It is held in Bouaké in March each year.
Fête du Dipri
This eccentric April celebration is held in the town of Gomon, where people perform different kinds of rituals in order to exorcise and drive evil spirits out of the village. The event starts at midnight and continues until late afternoon the following day.
Ivory Coast’s Independence Day is celebrated on August 7 each year to commemorate the country’s liberation from France. The event is marked by all kinds of cultural activities, lively performances, parades, and other festivities.
Fêtes des Masques
The most popular of all the Ivory Coast events, Fêtes des Masques, or the Festival of Masks, is an annual event held in November. It is a time to pay homage to the forested spirits embodied by the villagers who wear colorful costumes and masks. The celebration is held in the northern region in the town of Man.
Christmas Day (December 25) is celebrated by local Christians with all-night church services that start on Christmas Eve (December 24) and end at 6:00 a.m. During worship, you can expect singing, group dancing, poetry recitation, skits, testimonies, prayers, and a sermon. Ivoirian Christians do not exchange gifts on Christmas, they wait until the new year to signal good prosperity.
Major Muslim holidays are celebrated and observed in the Ivory Coast. These include the period of fasting known as Ramadan and the post-Ramadan feast known as Eid al-Fitr. Tabaski, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is observed by religious families. The event dates vary according to the lunar calendar.