There are a number of Gambian festivals which have either
been part of traditional society or have in modern times
been recently created. Some are agricultural in
origin having there roots in the land while others are
related to the sky above such as the rainmaking festivals
involving the women of the village.
There is general consensus of the potential for festivals
to communicate or affirm the values of Gambia's society
and strengthen the bonds between its members. Such gatherings
provide a forum to release pent-up social tensions and
an escape from the daily grind of everyday life.
There are other types of ceremonies not covered in this
section. These range from elaborate inauguration ceremonies
of Ngansinba - female leader associated with initiation
Whilst there is growth in multi-ethnic expressions,
the quest for the Gambia's groups to reaffirm their
identities remains. The recent rekindling of celebrations
of constituent festivals in Janjangbureh. Dankunku (Maribantang
Cultural Festival), Banjul Demba Festival, and the Gambian-African
Festival at Kanilai confirms a cultural revival with
specific claims and identities.
Because Africa is now more exposed more than ever to
external influences and in particular globalization.
As well as changes in the physical markets Gambians
are also exposed to an onslaught on the cultural sphere.
Today more and more young people are listening to foreign,
imported music and are adopting foreign fashions than
The challenge is now for cultural institutions, scholars
and champions to identify some of the changes that are
taking place and define the implications these will
have for the future. They must establish how Gambians
could revive and retain their cultural traditions for
the benefit of all people.