The Rwandan government has declared a national holiday in relation to Harvest Day or “Umuganura” which is considered a period for thanksgiving to celebrate a good harvest, an official revealed in Kigali on Wednesday.The announcement was made by James Vuningoma, the Executive Secretary
of the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC) which is affiliated to the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
According to the announcement, the new holiday falls on August 1 and is effective immediately.
“One of the main purpose of the celebrations is recognize the achievements in various sectors of the economy, recognize the efforts of those involved and strategize for increased harvest in the subsequent seasons,” Dr Vuningoma said.
“Umuganura” which loosely translates as ‘First-Fruits Festival’ has for centuries been an important ceremony in Rwanda at the start of every harvest season, uniting the monarchy and its subjects.
The focus of the traditional Umuganura was to give the harvest the blessing of the ancestors.
This would happen first at a family level focused on that family’s ancestors, then the community would come together for a bigger celebration.
The Umuganura tradition was abolished by the colonialists in 1925 but it was restored in 2011.