Gambia — Festivals and Events
Locals and authorities are trying to revive traditional festivals that showcase Gambia’s art, dance, music, and cultural heritage. Some of the most important events are seasonal and are often held in the towns or villages of Kartong, Dankunku, Kwinella, Bakau, Abene, and Brufut. Large festivals (such as the Banjul Demba Cultural Festival) are also celebrated in Banjul. Gambia honors religious events like Milad al-Nabi, Ramadan, Assumption, and Easter Monday, which are considered public holidays. The country celebrates Christmas, Labor Day and New Year’s Day with the rest of the world.
Banjul Demba Cultural Festival
Held every January in the capital, this festival celebrates Gambia’s culture through displays and performances centered on art, dance and music.
Banjul Fine Arts Festival
This two-week celebration takes place in Banjul annually in January and aims to promote Gambian culture and the arts.
Gambia gained its autonomy from the British on February 18, 1965. The Independence Day celebration is one of the most highly anticipated events every year.
International Roots Homecoming Festival
Held every two years, International Roots is the most popular event in Gambia, attracting visitors from all over the world. It is typically held in May or early June and the extravagent festivities include plenty of traditional art, dance and music.
July 22nd Celebrations
Banjuls Arch 22 is the venue of this annual celebration where visitors can witness official cultural performances and parades. This day commemorates Yahya Jammeh’s military coup in 1994 staged to overthrow Dawda Jawara.
Otherwise known as Eid Al Adha (Day of the Sacrifice), this event in Gambia commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismail to God. Families remember this day with parties and barbecues at home and adults usually give money to small children.
A celebration of the harvest season, this long-running event in the Gambian village of Abene centers around traditional dance and music. Artists come from all over West Africa to participate. It is held towards the end of the year, but dates change annually.