FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Celebrate Senegalese New Year at Le Fanal Festival

by Jack Guy

Mar 23, 2020

© Antpun | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Africa

This raucous New Year’s celebration takes place in the city of Saint-Louis in northern Senegal.

 

Toward the end of the year lights go up all over town, dance parties and fashion shows are put on and people build up to a huge parade on the last day of December. What started as a ritual for well-off families has become a city-wide celebration that sees everyone dressed up, with huge, decorated floats gliding through the streets.

 

Prior to the parade there is a theatrical performance of the history of the country, and Senegalese celebrities such as the singer Baba Maal have been known to make guest appearances. It all makes for a carnivalesque atmosphere and a memorable way to ring in a new year.

 

Even if you aren’t around Dec. 31, you can get involved in festivities that normally begin Dec. 24. When you aren’t celebrating, take the chance to explore the colonial architecture of West Africa’s first French settlement. The remarkable old town is found on an island in the middle of the Senegal River, but the modern city has outgrown it and spills on to the mainland. It’s a charming place to spend a few days. Check out our recent coverage to see the best places to eat, sleep and explore Senegal.

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