By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – Rwandans Friday marked the country’s annual national “Thanksgiving Day” festival locally known as “Umuganura” at homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marked under the theme “Umuganura: A source of unity and foundation of self-reliance”, Friday’s celebration was the climax of week-long discussions about Rwanda’s traditional cultural values through different media platforms.
Speaking on Rwanda Television, the country's Youth and Culture Minister Rosemary Mbabazi urged Rwandans to celebrate the day by sharing with vulnerable members of the society.
“Umuganura should be celebrated through sharing while committing to safeguard our national and individual achievements. There is a need for self-evaluation of ones’ achievements and even work toward doubling these achievements,” she said.
The minister urged Rwandan parents to inculcate Rwandan culture among children, stressing the need to teach them the local language Kinyarwanda.
The ministry due to preventive measures cautioned families against hosting visitors.
The “Umuganura” was one of the major cultural events after the coronation of kings.
Featuring traditional dance, it was marked at the beginning of every harvest as a way of celebrating the achievements both at the kingdom and family levels.
Families, relatives, and neighbors gathered to enjoy the fruits of their hard work by sharing traditional meals and drinks.
Traditionally, the celebration mainly focused on staple foods such as sorghum and millet, but lately, it goes beyond a food festival.
The celebration now encompasses achievements in agriculture, health, education, industry among others.
The event traditionally bound Rwandans together. However, it was abolished around 1925 by Belgian colonizers.
But in 2012, the day was reinstituted by the Rwandan government as a national event marked on the national calendar as a public holiday.