Africa-Press – Rwanda. Rwandans will Friday, August 5, gather in their localities to celebrate Umuganura, one of the most important cultural holidays in Rwanda.
Having only been reintroduced just over 10 years ago, Umuganura, which is Rwanda’s equivalent of thanksgiving, is an ages-old tradition that goes back to the days of Gihanga Ngomijana, widely regarded as the founding King of Rwanda in the 11th century.
Traditionally, umuganura was an occasion to celebrate the bounty of harvest, a moment to celebrate the fruit of people’s hard work and reignite a sense of unity and loyalty to the country.
The annual event was customarily marked with sharing harvest and expression of gratitude toward fellow community members for a sense of belonging and served as a moment to celebrate the resilience and valour of Rwanda and its people.
As such, it was only fitting that the post-Genocide Rwandan leadership restored this important cultural event, this time as an occasion to celebrate valuable contributions of individual Rwandans – at home and abroad – toward the country’s renewal and continued quest for sustained growth and prosperity.
The day serves as an opportunity to reaffirm our strong sense of community and belief in our individual and collective capacity to steer Rwanda to greatness, each successive generation playing its part in this enduring commitment.
Indeed, sustaining the values that Umuganura represents is a responsibility that we should continuously bequeath to young generations, thereby guaranteeing their continued role in Rwanda’s future.
This, however, calls for a deliberate effort to always inculcate the noble values that Umuganura – and indeed other cultural events – embodies, not just during the annual celebrations but continuously, whether at school, in the community, or in the workplace.
Furthermore, occasions like Umuganura can inspire great innovations.
For instance, with some cuisine creativity, traditional dishes that are literally only recognised on Umuganura (like sorghum-based recipe) are potential alternatives to expensive food imports (like grain), which have been hard to come by in recent days.
There is so much we can benefit from reimagining our traditional foods and adding modern variations to our mainstream menus.
Umuganura is a perfect platform that can inspire homegrown culinary possibilities, yet it can only happen if we stopped looking at it as just an occasion to celebrate our history but rather as an enabler of a prosperous future.