Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

30 July 2014

Rwanda Celebrates Harvest Festival

The ministry of sports and culture has kicked off the celebration of Harvest Day (umunsi w'umuganura) with a carnival and exhibition. The festivity is held under the theme 'Harvest the pillar of self-reliance.'

'Umunsi w'umuganura' is celebrated on August 1 and it was a traditional practice for Rwandans to celebrate their harvest by sharing food and dancing together.

Today, the harvest festival is seen as an action that strengthens unity and cohesion among people as they share what they get from the work of their hands.

According to Musanze resident Schadrack Ngirabakunzi, 48, the harvest festival also promoted the culture of respect among people. "Sharing strengthened the ties among people and everyone was considering the neighbor as someone close which also is the reason that other peoples feared Rwanda. That's why they said 'Rwanda attacks but is never attacked'," he pointed out.

However, while this tradition is no longer given high consideration, older people say this has had negative consequences as people no longer have time to get to know each other as many are living on their own.

The first day of the festival was marked by an exhibition at Petit Stade to showcase Rwandan traditions at a time when fewer and fewer people are conversant with traditional cultural practices.

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