Umhlanga (Reed Dance) in Eswatini (Swaziland) Date in the current year: September 5, 2022

Umhlanga (Reed Dance) in Eswatini (Swaziland) Umhlanga, or Reed Dance, is one of the best known cultural events in Eswatini. The festival is observed around the last week of August / the first week of September and lasts for 8 days.

Umhlanga was created in Eswatini (then known as Swaziland) in the 1940s under the rule of Sobhuza II. He adapted the ceremony of the festival from the umcwasho ceremony, another old cultural practice in the region. Only maidens who have reached the age of marriage and preserved their chastity participate in the Reed Dance ceremony.

Reed Dance is mostly a private ceremony. The first five days of the festival are spent in organization and preparations. The first dancing ceremonies begin in the afternoon of the sixth day. The dancing ceremony is continued the next day, when it's attended by His Majesty the King. Also starting from this day tourists may watch Umhlanga.

The last day of Reed Dance is marked with the slaughter of cattle (usually 20-25). Every maiden gets a peace of meat and goes home.

The last two days of Umhlanga are public holidays in Eswatini. Every year the exact dates of the festival are appointed, according to ancestral astrology.

* date for 2022

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Category

Public Holidays, Folk Festivals

Country

Swaziland

Tags

Umhlanga in Eswatini, Reed Dance in Eswatini, holidays in Eswatini, public holidays