The Top 4 Festivals in Rwanda : Rwanda is a small sized landlocked country in the East African Region boosting majestic volcanoes, lush, dense greenery, abundance of spectacular wildlife and imposing mountains. Rwanda is now one of the top tourist destination in Africa and this is due to the endangered mountain gorillas found in Volcanoes national park, the big five in Akagera national park and the scenic and majestic mountains. Because of the mountains covering almost the whole country, Rwanda is Nicknamed the “Land of a Thousand Hills”.
Rwanda is a top tourist spot with more to offer to tourists and festivals are among the things you should not miss while on your Africa safari to Rwanda. Rwanda hosts a number of marvelous events ranging from the religious feast days to Gorilla naming ceremonies, here is the guide compiled by Focus East Africa tours to the 4 top festivals to attend in Rwanda.
Kwita Izina: The Gorilla Naming Ceremony
Kwita Izina is none of the world’s most important celebrations of nature and an opportunity to meet the newborn baby gorillas in Rwanda, this ceremony is considered a momentous occasion in Rwanda with each newborn gorilla presented to the public amongst a tumult of happiness and praise.
Kwita Izina as a ceremony is modeled off a centuries old tradition of centuries in which Rwandans name their children in the presence of family and friends and it extends to gorillas. The naming of mountain gorillas in Rwanda officially began in 2005 and it has become a global celebration of nature, giving name to the majestic animals gives them value that they undoubtedly deserve.
Kwita Izina – The Gorilla Naming Ceremony is a country-wide event where baby gorillas are introduced to the local communities, formally named and celebrated. The ceremony is an opportunity to thank the communities that live around volcanoes national park – a home to mountain gorillas, research partners, vets and dedicated conservationists, rangers and trackers who have dedicated their lives to protect the gorillas.
Kwita – Izina is an extremely popular event in Rwanda with gala balls held in honor of the ceremony throughout the country, in the recent years an increasing number of conservationists and celebrities have supported the celebrations and the strong importance it places on respecting, appreciating and monitoring of wild animals.
Over the last 16 years, 328 mountain gorillas have been named in the Kwita – Izina Ceremony.
Umuganda (Public Cleaning) Day
Umuganda (Public cleaning) Day is a monthly ritual of selflessness and a national holiday in Rwanda taking place on last Saturday of every month for mandatory nationwide community work from 08:00 am to 11: 00 am.
On this day, Rwandan civilians take park in a community-wide ban on road traffic as everyone participates in communal work for the public good. The Umuganda day is similar to the day of community service in the United states of America, most of the work on this day involves cleaning such as washing of the streets and parks. Other ways in which the local choose to commemorate the Umuganda day by the locals include planting trees and participate in environmental work, it is a strange and fascinating spectacle to see a busy and bustling country coming together to engage in public service activities. The Rwanda local people deeply respect this event and is revered a communal day hosted with the aims of bettering the health of Rwanda as a country, The Top 4 Festivals in Rwanda.
International Peace Marathon
Rwanda is dominated by a mountainous landscape and because of that it is known as the “The Land of a Thousand Hills”, although the landscape of the country might seem a daunting setting for runners. It has become a perfect place for the International Peace Marathon which held annual in May, International Peace Marathon is a jubilant event bustling with color and oozing with enthusiastic and energetic participants. The event is held annually in May, the first Marathon was first held on 15th May 2005, a poignant date which marked a decade since the Rwandan Genocide. Over 2000 runners of varying abilities from over 20 countries worldwide came to Rwanda to participate in the International Peace Marathon. The event draws athletes from all over Africa and Europe, the day of the Marathon is an activity-filled day inspiring a communal interconnectedness.
International Peace Marathon is an ideal event to participate in as an avid long-distance runner looking to explore Rwanda’s gorgeous hills.
Note: the altitude in Rwanda reaches 1500 meters, for runners it is worth undertaking the altitude training before you begin the race.
Assumption Day (August 15)
Rwanda is a generally Christian country with 65% of the population being Christians, the majority is catholic. The Assumption Day held of August 15 is a celebration surrounding the assent of Mary into heaven, the event is a vibrant and lively affair. The Assumption Day marks the time when Mary, the mother of Jesus ascended into heaven after her death. Rwanda communities honor this day with ginormous feasts, dancing and music and the day is commemorated as a public holiday in Rwanda. Similarly to other public holidays in Rwanda, getting around in the morning and afternoon is fairly difficult in Rwanda so it is advisable to make sure you plan ahead if you are preparing to travel out of any Rwanda city on the Assumption day (August 15).
The above events are fun to participate in and as a travelers you should make it appoint to attend one during your Rwanda safari.