families in Nigeria celebrating Independence Day

Celebrate Nigerian Independence Day with Azimo

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence. But with air travel currently limited, it’s more difficult than ever to get home to celebrate. In the festive spirit, Azimo has put together this guide to sharing Nigeria’s big day with your family, wherever you are.

What is Nigerian Independence Day?

Nigerian Independence Day is an official national holiday in Nigeria, celebrating the anniversary of its independence from Great Britain. 

Nigeria gained independence on October 1st 1960 under the leadership of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, then the Governor-General of the country and later its first President. 

When is Nigerian Independence Day?

The Federal Republic of Nigeria celebrates Independence Day every October 1st. In Nigeria, the anniversary is also referred to as Nigeria National Day, although Nigerian Independence Day is the official name.  

Did you know: New York is the only city outside of Nigeria that has an official Nigerian Independence Day parade. The Big Apple started its parade in 1991 and it’s still going strong.

What happens on Nigerian Independence Day?

Nigerians love to get the party started early – and October 1st is no different. In the morning, President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the nation from Aso Villa (the Presidential Palace) in Abuja to officially commence the celebrations. 

After that, the ceremonial raising of the national flag and rendition of ‘Arise O’ Compatriots’ is broadcast. This is followed by the cutting of the government’s Independence cake. The cake usually displays the colours of the Nigerian flag, the map of the country or its coat of arms.

Around midday, the official parade will begin. It features marching bands and a lot of military fanfare, including the changing of the guard. Up next is a procession of traditional songs, dances and outfits representing Nigeria’s many ethnic groups.

Next, the party continues with different neighbourhoods holding their own events. For those staying indoors, Nigerian TV channels and radio stations have special shows dedicated to Nigeria’s rich and illustrious history.  

How to enjoy Nigerian Independence Day in 2020

With COVID-19 still present, celebrating this year poses some unique challenges for Nigerians both at home and overseas. 

That said, the holiday is an opportunity for socially-distanced get-togethers, parties and (un)official firework displays. 

For those based abroad, it’s a chance for extended phone or video calls to loved ones back home on apps like Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype. 

And why not take advantage of Azimo’s Nigerian Independence Day offer? Get a £15 bonus when you register and apply the code NAIJA in the promo code section of the app or website. You’ll receive 3 x £5 vouchers to spend on any transfer to Nigeria of £50 or more.

*Valid from September 28th until October 9th 2020.

What to eat on Nigerian Independence Day

Mention food to any Nigerian and you’re bound to get them engaged in healthy debate. That’s because recipes of popular dishes in the country vary from one region to another. It’s therefore, pun intended, a hot topic. 

Here is Azimo’s list of top bites to enjoy on October 1st:

  • Jollof rice – a spicy rice dish enjoyed all over Nigeria. Most variations contain tomatoes, onions and scotch bonnets. 
  • Egusi soup – a thick stew usually made with fish or meat plus ground melon seeds.
  • Moyin moyin – so good they named it twice. Oven-baked bean cakes infused with banana leaves.
  • Pounded yam – like mashed potatoes but best served with egusi or okra soup.
  • Efo riro – a rich spinach-based stew usually made with scotch bonnets, red bell peppers, locust beans and crayfish.
  • A Nigerian Independence cake – grab a slice of your take on the celebratory cake.

What to listen to on October 1st

As anyone who has been to a Nigerian party will confirm, Nigerians love to dance their socks off. That’s why Azimo has created this playlist to help get your groove on. Happy dancing and happy anniversary.

Want to send money to Nigeria in time for Independence Day? Download the app on iOS or Android and transfer funds to anywhere from Abuja to Zaria. Get two fee-free transfers, at market-beating rates, when you register with Azimo today