This Christmas is different. In years of yore, Anambra people returned to celebrate the Christmas holidays in their various towns and villages without a get-together at the capital city of Awka. With the Maiden Edition of the Anambra Homecoming Festival happening in Awka, all that will change.
The complete re-branding of Anambra State initiated by Governor Willie Obiano has found a resourceful apostle in Dr (Mrs) Sally Mbanefo, the Honourable Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, who initiated the 2018 Anambra Homecoming Festival that takes place from Thursday, December 13 to Sunday, December 16 in a lit-up and bubbling Awka capital city. Talk of bright lights, big city!
The Anambra Homecoming Festival is a well-designed fest to bring Ndi-Anambra home while
extending the hands of friendship to friends of Anambra to relish the rich cultural heritage and
tourism potentials of the state profoundly celebrated as “the light of the nation”. Esteemed friends of Anambra State are already appearing in Awka in readiness for the grand festival. Thursday has been marked as the day of arrivals into the waiting rooms and suites of the super-duper hotels of Awka.
Then there would be the Anambra Christmas Carol of Nine Lessons that would take place at the landmark festival venue of Hollywood Garden and Event Centre along the Government House Road, on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
The official opening of the Anambra Homecoming Festival by Governor Obiano takes place on Friday, December 14. This marks the Friends of Anambra and Diaspora Day. Dr Sally Mbanefo’s Ministry will thus be declared a Permanent Exhibition Centre. Art exhibition will be launched forth from the morning hours.
A major highlight will be the Palm Wine Testing Festival. Tasty cuisines will be equally tasted. The Cultural Troupe then entertains with folksy folksongs. Poetry reading around the bonfire takes pride of place. It will all climax with a drama performance of the adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s classic novel Things Fall Apart.
The epochal launching of the Diaspora Portal highlights the bounteous developments in Anambra State of the new age.
Saturday December 15 is slated as Tourism Day. There would be the commissioning of the breathtaking Owerre-Ezukala Cave and Waterfalls. A feisty excursion to the caves and waterfalls would thrill all Ndi-Anambra and friends.
The Carnival will be a sight to behold. Mmanwu Festival will feature the most ancient of masquerades and the newest of the modern age masked spirits.
The Concert Night showcases Anambra State in all her splendor. Homecoming superstars such as Flavour, Phyno, the P-Square bothers Peter and Paul are all the rage.
Finally, on Sunday, December 16, Art Exhibition will be declared open at the Imeobi Palace of the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, the consummate art connoisseur.
The Anambra Homecoming Festival serves as a benchmark for the sumptuous work done by Sally Mbanefo’s ministry in nine short months. The commissioning of the Owerre-Ezukala Caves and Waterfalls during the festival will serve as the precursor for the commissioning of the vastly improved Ogbunike Cave in Easter.
The Agulu Lake has taken an arresting new look especially now that the Golden Tulip Hotels, Agulu has been inaugurated by Governor Obiano in its vicinity.
The world famous Igboukwu Bronzes are showcased in the revitalized Igboukwu Museum. There is the dimension of the Aguve Miracle Tree/Obu Gad, Aguleri that “marks the burial site of the second Igbo King, Eze Aguve, the son of Eri, who was the fifth son of Gad, the seventh son of the biblical Jacob. The Aguve Miracle tree, believed to have sprouted some 2960 years ago, consists of three giant trees that share one root from the grave of the king.”
In coming to Anambra this Christmas, starting from the Anambra Homecoming Festival in Awka, a heartwarming season is here for Ndi-Anambra and friends to celebrate and cherish.