Observed on the first Friday in August in Rwanda, Umuganura is a public holiday that celebrates the beginning of the annual harvest. The name of this holiday translates roughly to “First Fruits Festival,” and it’s a tradition that dates back at least 1,000 years, and probably even longer.
Currently, it’s one of the most important holidays and festivals in Rwanda, which isn’t surprising considering a successful harvest can make or break a community in this country. This is a day when people traditionally asked their ancestors to bless the beginning of the harvest, but now traditions tend to be more like a thanksgiving celebration.
The History of Umuganura
Umuganura is an ancient festival that dates back over 1,000 years. It was believed by people that they could appeal to their ancestors to get them to bless the planting of the crops at the beginning of the harvest season.
This tradition has carried on throughout the years and is now celebrated as a thanksgiving tradition, a holiday on which everyone can gather with their families and be thankful for what they have.
Observing Umuganura in Rwanda
This holiday is celebrated with a lot of fanfare. There are theater, dance, and music performances enjoyed all over Rwanda, and there are also art and craft exhibitions. Other events celebrated on this day include festivals, local gatherings, and other such events. There is also usually a communal meal that’s enjoyed by families and/or by members of the local community.