Umuganura (Harvest Thanksgiving) in Rwanda Date in the current year: August 2, 2024

Umuganura (Harvest Thanksgiving) in Rwanda Umuganura is a Rwandan harvest festival celebrated on the first Friday in August. It is a public holiday that celebrates the country’s cultural heritage, as well as its achievements in various sectors of the economy.

The roots of the Umuganura festival can be traced back to pre-colonial times. The name of the festival can be translated from Kinyarwanda as “first fruits festival”. In Rwandan culture, it was prohibited for a family to eat the fruits of the new harvest before having their elders taste them. So Umuganura was about dedicating the first fruit to the family’s ancestors. It was the day of feasting and giving thanks to the ancestors and the God.

Umuganura was reintroduced as a national event in 2011. It was initiated by the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda and supported by the Ministry of Sports and Culture. The main goals of the festival are to honor the rich cultural heritage of Rwanda, to bring the younger and older generations closer together, and to celebrate the achievements in various sectors, including agriculture, health protection, education, culture, sport, industry, and tourism.

Rwanda is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in Africa. It’s a landlocked country that has few natural resources. No wonder that 90% of the country’s population is engaged in agriculture. Key crops grown in Rwanda include tea, coffee, beans, bananas, potatoes, and sorghum. Tea and coffee are the major cash crops for export. With the country’s economy largely depending on agriculture, it’s no surprise that Harvest Thanksgiving has become an important public holiday.

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Umuganura, Harvest Thanksgiving, harvest festival, holidays in Rwanda, public holidays