In Kano, a thrilling display of ancient Durbar festival marks Eid el Fitr

The Kano emirate Council on Thursday held the traditional Hawan Daushe Durbar as part of activities marking the Eid el Fitr Sallah celebrations in Kano.

The event which held at the outer court of the Emir of Palace in Kano was graced by thousands of the city’s residents and it brought out the rich cultural history of the Kano emirate.

Historians at the venue of the event recalled that the Hwan Daushe Durbar was introduced to the emirate during the reign of Muhammadu Rumfa in the 1400s.

It is usually observed a day after the Eid el Fitr Sallah day which sees the emir riding on Horseback receiving homage from all the District heads in the emirate.

Thursday’s event began at about 4:30 pm when the current emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, and his retinue of horse riders and palace guards left his palace through the Kofar Kwaru and headed to Babban Daki- the palace of his mother- to pay her Sallah homage and seek for blessings.

Ahead of his leaving the palace to the Babban Daki, gunshots rang out and those familiar with the Durbar festival said that was the signal that the emir was on his way to his mother’s palace.

Ahead of the return of the emir from Babban Daki, a procession of all the district heads and title holders rode their horses through a series of quarters which were home to some historically important families and back to the palace at Kofar Kudu, venue of the Durbar and Jahi race.

According to the oral historians at the venue of the Durbar, the procession of Horse riders preceding the arrival of Emir Sanusi would be led by the Makaman Kano followed by al, the District heads and their horsemen and courtiers followed by some eminent title holders such as the Madaki, Wali, Sarkin Bai, Sarkin Dawaki Mai Tuta, Durbi, Sa’i, Ajiya, and the rest. There were also the horse riding team of the Wazirin Kano, and other princes of the emirate.

The emir’s team was the last to arrive the Kofar Kudu Durbar venue and the first team on his procession were the “Yan Bindiga” who again fire several shots in the air to let the gathering know that the emir was coming in.

Unlike his predecessors who usually rode on horses, Emir Sanusi Thursday, rode a camel to the Durbar ground. His arrival to the venue drew cheers from an excited crowd along the streets, stands and also the VIP pavilion.

After arriving in front of the pavilion, the emir stopped briefly and received homage from those at the VIP pavilion which included Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, as well as the ambassadors of Spain and Argentina who attended the Durbar with their spouses.

Also in attendance was the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, and many important individuals in and outside of Kano state government.

After receiving homage from the VIPs, the emir and his close guards stooped by the right side of the pavilion in front of the palace waiting for the commencement of the second part of the Durbar, the Jahi.

The Jahi race

The Jahi race is the highlight of the Durbar and the last item on the agenda of the Hawan Daushe.

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Several horse riders in the emirate charged on top speed towards the emir, pulled aside upon reaching him, raised their sword or flag before taking their exit.

It became apparent that most of the people at the venue were there for the Jahi race and security personnel had a hectic time controlling the excited crowd.

The historians at the venue said over 2,000 horses participated in the Hawan Daushe Durbar.

After the Jahi race, the Yan Bindiga again carried out another round of heavy gunshots after which they charged towards the palace.

“Once every one hears these gunshots whether physically here or at home, it is information that the emir has successfully completed the supervision of Hawan Daushe and is returning to the palace to rest,” said one of the palace officials sitting next to me.

After the emir took his exit, political groups arrived to “pay their own homage” to Governor Ganduje who stopped briefly to acknowledge their cheers before leaving the venue.

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