As July, the month of our Independence, passes by, we look forward to another celebration of Independence! This time, however, we are talking about Nigerien Independence Day!
The formal independence of Niger was declared from France on August 3rd, 1960. To celebrate freedom and independence, Nigeriens enjoy lively festivals and parades. It is also common for political figures to address the nation or community, much like here in the United States.
While Independence Day in Niger is similar to the July 4th national holiday in the United States, there are several ways that the celebration in Niger is unique. For instance, instead of red, white, and blue, the beautiful Nigerien orange and green are on proud display. Also, there is a wonderful tradition that is unmatched in the United States. This tradition is called Fête de l’Arbre, or “Arbor Day.” To preserve the ecosystem of Niger and to fight desertification (which is when land dries up and loses vegetation and wildlife), Nigeriens launched a program to restore the earth. Every Independence Day, each Nigerien citizen is called to plant a tree. Thus, as the nation celebrates its Independence, Nigeriens also take action to fight global warming and climate change that threatens their environment.
If every single Nigerien planted a tree, roughly 21 million trees would be planted. Imagine if this festival was held in the United States! That would amount to 323 million trees! It is remarkable that every year Nigeriens contribute so much to combat desertification and help restore our Planet Earth.