Niger’s government and people celebrate a total of twelve official public holidays. International commemorations, significant events in Niger’s history, and religious festivals are among them. As official public holidays, both Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated. While France, the previous colonial authority, established Christian observances, the overwhelming majority of Nigeriens are Muslim.
Because Muslim holidays are based on the Islamic calendar and, like Christian Easter, change from year to year. Some Muslim festivals are also based on astronomical observations (e.g.: the observance of moonrise for Ramadan). National observances and secular international holidays are based on the Gregorian calendar, which is the main civil calendar used in Niger and the rest of the world.
Additional than official holidays, Nigeriens observe a variety of other holidays, festivals, and commemorations. Some are annual civic commemorations, while others are religious, ethnic, or regional festivals that are extensively observed exclusively by certain people or in certain regions. Other annual events, such as cultural festivals, marketplaces, or sports events, may be much anticipated but are not legally recognized holidays.
The twelve official public holidays recognized by the Government of Niger are listed below. Businesses, schools, and government offices are closed on these days. They are often the dates of public celebrations, political speeches, and huge gatherings.
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|April 24||Concord Day||Commemorates the peace accords ending the Tuareg Rebellion in 1995|
|May 1||Laboua Day||“la fête du travail (1er mai)”: Nigerien observance of International Workers’ Day|
|August 3||Nigerien Independence Day||Commemoration of Niger’s 1960 independence from France|
|December 18||Nigerien Republic Day||Commemoration of the First Republic of Niger, semi-independent under France, 1959.|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
Nigerians observe a variety of holidays and festivals. Many are regional, either partly or just locally recognized by the government, or represent the traditions of particular ethnic communities. They are:
- The Cure salée is an annual meeting of Tuareg and Fulani nomadic tribes in Ingall (August or September).
- Guérewol: At the conclusion of the rainy season, the “Bororo” Fulani matchmaking celebration (August or September). Guérewol, known for the customary makeup and dancing of young Fulani men looking for a wife, takes place in connection with the Cure salée, as well as at other traditional nomadic gathering places in northern Niger.
- “Journée Nationale de la Femme Nigérienne” — (13 May). Women marched in Niamey during the National Conference period in 1992, seeking greater participation of women in national institutions. On November 25, 1992, a “National Commemoration” was made.
- “National Festival of Youth, Sports, and Culture”: An annual government-sponsored national youth athletic and cultural tournament.
- Lutte Traditionnelle National Championship (traditional wrestling). Contestants advance from regional championships to team competition, with one area receiving a coveted trophy—a ceremonial sabre.
- “Foires agro-sylvo pastorales”: annual Agropastoral governance and cultural forum, Niamey ;
- “Prix Dan Gourmou” : Annual music competition and festival, Niamey;
- “FIMA”, “Festival International de la Mode Africaine” (International Festival of African Fashion) every two years in Niamey ;
- “Rencontres Théâtrales du Niger”: National theater festival ;
- “Festival international de conte”/ ” Gatan – Gatan “: Festival of traditional story telling ;
- “Salon international de l’artisanat pour la femme” (SAFEM): Women Artisans festival, Niamey;
- “Festival de l’Aïr” (27–29 December): Music and arts festival at Iférouane ;
- ” Hotoungo ” at Gangui, a local traditional farmers gathering and festival;
- ” Bianou ” festival at Agadez;
- ” Wassan Kara ” festival at Zinder ;
- The ” Guetna ” at Tassara, Annual festival among the nomadic Diffa Arabs.;
- Annual Anza animist religious festival at Massalata – Konni, near Dogondutchi ;
- Traditional fishermen’s festival at Karay-Kopto on the River Niger;
- ” Gossi “, a Soninké animist festival at Karma-Songhaï on the River Niger;
- “Fête de la girafe” (15 September), Kouré, near Niamey, celebrating the West African Giraffe native to the area;
- le ” Sharow ” Puel festival ;
- Traditional boxing tournaments (“Faka”) each year after harvest in December or January, Zinder Region;
- ” Mani Hori “: festival of traditional Songhai women’s crafts, each year after harvest in December or January.