Observed annually on March 11th, Moshoeshoe Day is a public holiday in Lesotho. This holiday commemorates the first king of Lesotho, Moshoeshoe I, and is observed on the anniversary of his death in 1870. The reason this holiday is not celebrated on the king’s birthday, but instead on the day of his death, is that few people can agree on his exact birth date.
Although most people will agree that he was born sometime in 1786, no one really knows the exact date of his birth. Moshoeshoe I died on March 11, 1870, and the holiday celebrating him has been observed since.
Fun Facts About Lesotho
- Lesotho is a completely landlocked country.
- Lesotho is the world’s 137th largest country with only 11,720 square miles of territory.
- This country also has one of the world’s smallest road networks.
- Lesotho’s nickname is the “Kingdom in the Sky.”
- This country is a constitutional monarchy.
- There is only one UNESCO site in this country.
- Lesotho has 28 airports, but only 3 of them have paved runways.
Observing Moshoeshoe Day in Lesotho
On this date, a variety of events take place to commemorate the day. There are famo and choral music performances and traditional dances. There is also a ceremony during which the current king lays wreaths on King Moshoeshoe’s grave at the top of Thaba-Bosiu fortress.
Before the wreath-laying ceremony, there is usually a moment of prayer held by everyone attending. There is also typically a parade on this day, as well as other forms of entertainment.