Burkina Faso: Holidays, customs, climate
A number of the local holidays do not exist in Europe, such as the day of remembrance of the Coup d’Eat of 1966 or the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice.
|January 1||New Year|
|January 3rd||Commemoration day of the Coup d’Eat of 1966|
|January February||El am Hejir (Islamic New Year)|
|February March||Aid El Kébir (Islamic Festival of Sacrifice)|
|8th of March||women’s Day|
|April May||Mouloud (birthday of the prophet Mohammed)|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|May||Ascension of Christ|
|4th of August||Anniversary of the revolution|
|5th of August||Independence day|
|15th of August||Assumption Day|
|15th October||Remembrance day of the Coup d’Eat of 1987|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
|November December||Aid El Segheir (end of Ramadan)|
|November 11||National holiday|
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Aid El Segheir, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The Aid El Segheir and Aid El Kébir festivals last 2-10 days, depending on the region.
In the Moro-Naba Palace in Ouagadougou there is a performance of the traditional drama Nabayius Gou (“The Emperor Goes to War”) every day at around 6am. Since 1969, the pan-African film and television festival FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou) has been held in Ouagadougou every year in February/March. It is supported by several European countries and has been held in the form of a biennale since 1979, and the MICA (Le Marché International du Cinéma et de la Télévision Africains) film material fair has also been held since 1983. For the best film there is the “Étalon de Yennenga”.
Festival des Masques et des Arts The
Festival International des Masques et des Arts (International Festival of Masks and Culture) shows African masks. The festival was founded in 1996 by a group of students from Burkina Faso to preserve the cultural traditions of the country and West Africa. The performances take place with dances and are accompanied by drums, pipes and balafons (xylophones). Every now and then the meaning of the dances and masks is also explained. The festival takes place every two years in February/March in Dédougou and now lasts seven days.
Burkina Faso can be divided into three climate zones, Sahel, Sudan-Sahel and Sahel-Guinea. In addition, it can still be divided into two climatic periods, rainy season and dry season.
The rainy season lasts from May/June to September/ October. During this time, strong monsoon winds often blow, which make some parts of the country impassable due to heavy flooding. The month of August is the rainiest here. The humidity at this time is up to 80%. The dry season lasts from October to March. During this time, the dusty, dry desert wind, which in West Africa is called Harmattan, blows. The month of April is considered a transitional month when the harmattan is replaced by the monsoon winds.
The Sahel zone is located in the north of the country. Here the temperatures are relatively high. Daily temperatures can rise to 41 °C in the hottest months of April and May. Even at night, the average temperatures at this time remain around 26 °C. The coldest month is August. Then temperatures drop to around 32 °C during the day and around 22 °C at night. The months of December and January are a bit warmer during the day, around 33 °C, but much colder at night with around 13 °C. About 600mm of precipitation falls annually.
This zone is centrally located. Here, too, April is the hottest month with temperatures of around 40 °C during the day and around 25 °C at night. The coldest month here is also August with around 30 °C during the day and 21 °C at night. December and January are also warmer here during the day, around 34 ° C, but colder at night with 15-16 °C. The annual rainfall here is 750mm.
Sahel-Guinea is located in the south of the country. Here the average temperatures are more moderate and the annual rainfall is higher (over 1000mm). In the hottest period, from March to April, the average daytime temperatures rise to around 37 °C and remain at around 32 °C at night. The month with the coldest daytime temperatures is August at around 29 °C, with the average night temperatures dropping to only around 20 °C. In the months of January and December, temperatures rise to around 33 °C during the day and drop to 15-16 °C at night.
Burkina Faso: national customs
For guests in an Islamic country, consideration for the local customs is required. Women in particular should pay attention to decent clothing. Beach clothing outside the bathing zone is taboo, and long pants are also recommended for men outside the hotel zones. Photographing locals without their permission must be avoided at all costs, as the image of people is traditionally a taboo in Islamic countries.
Burkina Faso: Sightseeing
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that BF stands for the nation of Burkina Faso as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Loropéni Ruins (2009)
The Loropéni ruins are located near the border with Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo.
They were built at the time to protect trade in the region, and they have still not been fully excavated. Their age is estimated to be over 1,000 years. The area of the ruins has an area of about 1.1 hectares. The ruins of Loropéni were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009.
Historic iron smelting sites (2019)
The historic iron smelting sites in today’s Burkina Fasa include a total of 15 still-preserved kilns, mines and remains of residential buildings. You can find them in various provinces of the country.
The oldest references to the local iron smelting and processing date back to the 8th century BC. An intensification then goes back to the 11th century AD. The country’s historical iron smelting sites include the sites of Ronguin, Tiwega, Yamané, Kindbo, Békuy and Douroula. Nowadays there is no more iron smelting worth mentioning – with the exception of a number of village smithies. The historic iron smelting sites were entered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019.
Gorom-Gorom has about 100,000 residents. Gorom-Gorom is located in the north of the country and is therefore the starting point for tours into the Sahel zone. The colorful market is particularly worth seeing.
Fada N’Gourma has about 130,000 residents. Fada N’Gourma is located in eastern Burkina Faso and is known for its market.
Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and has around 1.3 million residents. Ouagadougou is centrally located in the interior of Burkina Faso on the Mossi Plateau. Flights to Burkina Faso go through Ouagadougou.
Bobo-Dioulasso is Burkina Faso’s second largest city and has around 500,000 residents., Bobo-Dioulasso is located in the southwest of the country and not only impresses with its beautiful old town.
Special villages and buildings
Kassena villages on the border with Ghana
The residents live in artistically painted adobe buildings up to 100 years old with interlocking courtyards and spacious roof terraces.
Gourounsi huts in Tiébélé
There are some Gourounsi huts near Tiébélé that are particularly noticeable for their wonderful decorations.
Land of the Senufo
Particularly worth seeing in the landscape are boulders that were shaped like cathedrals through erosion. The Senufo villages consist of small round houses with narrow granaries.
The animistic hunter people of the Lobi live in family castles, in front of which fetishes were placed in honor of various deities. They are native to northern Ghana and the Ivory Coast.
Bobo-Dioulasso station Bobo-Dioulasso
station is on the Abidjan – Ouagadougou railway line. The white train station is flanked by two minarets and its architecture is reminiscent of the Mosquée de Dioulasso-Bâmit in the city. There is a line of sight to the mosque from the train station.
Education, theater and museums
National Museum of Ouagadougou
The National Museum of the capital of Burkina Faso provides vivid information about the very changeable history of the African country.
Opera Village Africa
The Opera Village Africa in Burkina Faso is located around 30 km northeast of the capital Ouagadougou.
The project goes back to an idea by Christoph Schlingensief (1960-2010) – together with the architect Francis Kéré, who comes from Burkina Faso and lives in Berlin.
It sees itself as a global art project with the vision of placing art in the middle of life.
Overall, the project should be based on the three pillars of education, health and culture.
The foundation stone was laid in 2010 – a few months before Schlingensief’s death on August 21, 2010.
Currently, the first two pillars have been implemented with the construction of the school with residential buildings for teachers and a hospital ward.
After Schlingensief’s death, his wife Aino Laberenz took over the management of the “Festspielhaus Afrika”, a non-profit company. The patron of the project is the Federal President a. D. Horst Koehler.
The short-term director of the Volksbühne, Chris Dercon, described the project as one of the most interesting cultural projects in the world today.
Ethnological Museum in Ouagadougo
You can see, among other things, an extensive collection of finds from the Mossi culture.
Museum in Gaoua
The Musée de Poni Save Share Museum is located in the Gaoua & Lobi Country. The museum is an ethological museum and houses numerous testimonies of the Lobi, an ethnic group that is native to southern Burkina Faso, northern Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Artifacts of the Gan who live in the south-west of the country are also on display.
Sculpture on Granite de Laongo
About half an hour’s drive from Ouagadougou is the Laongo Granite Art Park (Sculptures sur Granite de Laongo). It is an impressive open-air art museum and open-air studio, by now more than 60 artists from Togo, Burkina and Senegal, as well as from Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands. The sculpture “The Great Standing Woman” by the Franco-German artist Ulrike Ahme can also be found here. The project was started in 1989 by the Burkinabe sculptor Siriky Ky. Initially, during a major festival, 18 sculptors from different countries created the first sculptures in the park. Over the years the area, the number of art objects and the represented nations grew in the following symposia, whereby the works of art were created on site. You can find sculptures of mermaids, musicians, animals and even an oversized banana. The freedom fighter, national hero and President Thomas Sankara (1949-1987) is also immortalized here. He was president of the country from August 4, 1983 until his assassination on October 15, 1987.
Grand Marché de Bobo-Dioulasso
The Grand Marché de Bobo-Dioulasso is one of the city’s main attractions. It reopened in 2001 after a devastating fire.
Marché Rood-Woko in Ouagadougou
The Marché Rood-Woko, a large market that is partly covered, is located in the city center of the capital of Burkina Faso. It is one of the largest markets in all of West Africa and was established between 1985 and 1989. Unfortunately, the market was so badly damaged by a fire in 2003 that it had to be closed. After that it was restored with French help and was able to reopen in 2009.
Mosques and churches
Great Mosque in Ouagadougou
The Great Mosque of Ouagadougou is one of the most famous and formative buildings in the capital of Burkina Faso.
Mosque of Kotédougou
You should also pay a visit to the Islamic church in Kotédougou. By the way, it was built in the Sudanese style.
Old Mosque (French: Mosquée de Dioulasso-Bâ) of Bobo-Dioulasso
The old mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso was built in 1880. The architectural style that was used is the Sudanese clay architecture. The Islamic house of worship is one of the main attractions in the country.
Cathédrale de l’Immaculée-Conception in Ouagadougou
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Ouagadougou, built from 1934 to 1936, functions as the episcopal church of the Archdiocese of Ouagadougou and dates back to the missionary and bishop Joanny Thévenoud (1878-1949), who suggested its construction would have. With its strange proportions and the towers of different heights, it appears strangely incomplete.
Natural beauties and national parks
Arly National Park and National Park W (on the border with Benin)
The National Park W (French: Parc national du W), which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has existed since 1954.
In addition to Burkina Faso , the park also belongs to the states of Niger and Benin and got its strange name because the course of the Niger River resembles the letter “W” there. A total of more than 500 different plant and 420 animal species should be found in the W National Park.
The animal species include baboons, hippos, cheetahs, antelopes, gazelles and various reptiles.
Kaboré-Tambi National Park and Ranch de Nazinga in the south of the country.
Both nature reserves consist mainly of savannah landscape with gallery forests and the alluvial land of the Nazinon River. A total of 25 species of large animals live here, including lions, elephants, buffalo, warthogs, baboons and numerous species of antelope.
The water reservoir located in the Sahel zone is a Ramsar reserve.
Deux Balés National Park
Founded in 1937 as the Forêt Classée des deux Balés, Burkina Faso’s Park has been a national park since 1967. It is 56,000 hectares in size and spreads in the west of the country. With a little luck you will see elephants, hippos and crocodiles in addition to antelopes and buffalo.
Mare aux Hippopotames nature reserve The Mare aux Hippopotames nature reserve, established in
1937 as Forêt Classée, has been on the UNESCO list since 1986 as a biosphere reserve. The area extends in western Burkina Faso and is a total of 16,300 hectares.
Pics de Sindou or Aiguilles de Sindou
This imposing rock formation made of steep sandstone can be visited in southwest Burkina Faso.
The Téngréla lake spreads in the southwest of Burkina Faso and is very popular with tourists because of the hippos that live there. In addition, the flora should not be forgotten, which consists of water lilies, sea churns, water hazel and water hose.
Cascades de Karfiguéla (also Cascades de Banfora)
These imposing waterfalls in Burkina Faso are created by the Comoé river, which in the Cascades region flows down over the sandstone cliffs of the Chaîne de Banfora. The impressive flora and fauna of the area was protected by the establishment of the Réserve des Cascades de Banfora nature reserve.
Dômes de Fabédougou
The Dômes de Fabédougou are a sandstone rock formation to the northwest in the southwest of Burkina Faso in the vicinity of the city of Banfora.