Christmas in Badagry: Lagos Celebrates First Ever Festival in Nigeria

Christmas in Badagry: Lagos Celebrates First Ever Festival in Nigeria

Segun James

As part of efforts to make the yuletide period memorable for Lagos residents and commemorate the beginning of Christianity in the country, the Lagos State Government is to host the Christmas in Badagry from the 23rd to the 26th of December.

The event tagged, ‘Christmas in Badagry (CIB)’ is in partnership with Lagos State Government through the Ministries of Tourism, Art  and Culture and Home Affairs which would be a beacon of tradition and unity. At least 20,000 visitors are expected to participate in a 181st Christmas celebration in the country.

The project manager of CIB, Olufemi Iroko, who disclosed this during a press conference in Alausa, Ikeja, said it was to commemorate the first Christmas that was ever marked in Nigeria and which took place in Badagry.

According to Iroko, the four-day event promises to be an immersive and rich cultural experience that would capture the essence of the season, noting “We are reminded of the enduring spirit of joy and goodwill that continues to unite us as a community and a nation.”

The festivities will kick off with the largest Santa walk and lightening of our 40ft tall Christmas Tree. Other activities include an exhilarating Beach Soccer Tournament, where teams will compete against the stunning backdrop of Badagry’s beautiful beaches and party hard.

A Carnival Parade which promises to be a riot of colours, with participants adorned in vibrant costumes, dancing to the beats of traditional and contemporary music.

The Bonfire Delight, set against the rhythmic sounds of the Gulf of Guinea, will provide a magical ambiance as participants and spectators come together to celebrate the season.

The beautiful performance of our talented Badagry metropolitan choir and other gospel artists which will fill the air with beautiful hymns and carols that capture the spirit of the season.

The retelling of the nativity story through captivating drama and recitations that will transport you to the Bethlehem of old.

Iroko said, “As we approach the festive season, Badagry, the cradle of many firsts in Nigeria, prepares to commemorate the 181st anniversary of the maiden Christmas celebration in the country. The Christmas in Badagry (CiB) event stands as a testament to the rich historical warmth that envelops this town, and this year’s celebration promises to be an extraordinary blend of tradition, heritage, and joy.

“Against the backdrop of the azure waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the residents of Badagry, along with visitors, joined hands to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

“The sermon message of Rev. Henry Townsend and Rev. Birch Freeman on that fateful day tagged ‘The Incarnation of the Redeemer of Mankind’ still resonates in the town till today. Traditional songs and dances filled the air as the community gathered for a collective expression of joy and gratitude. It was a celebration that transcended religious boundaries, uniting people in the spirit of communal harmony.

“This service marks a significant milestone in the spread of Christianity in Nigeria, Africa and around the world. It signifies the beginning of a spiritual journey, a profound shift in the religious landscape, and the introduction of a transformative message of hope, love, and redemption.

“Such an event warrants a commemoration that not only highlights the historical significance but also underlines the enduring impact of the Gospel message on Nigeria culture, values, and societal development.

“Fast forward to the present day, and the Christmas in Badagry Event continues to be a beacon of tradition and unity. This year marks the 181st anniversary of that historic Christmas celebration, and the CiB Event is poised to make it an unforgettable experience for residents and visitors alike.

“The celebration of 181 years of Christmas in Badagry not only symbolises the passage of time, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and strength of our community. 

“Badagry as you may know is the community of many firsts starting with the first location gospel was preached in Nigeria.

The first place Christmas was celebrated in Nigeria (just so you know, Badagry is the only location experiencing the 181st Christmas in Nigeria this year). Others are the First Storey Building, first primary school among others.

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