Settle your feuds by the bash of a banana stalk!
On the first day of the Mwaka Kogwa festival all the men in the villages of Zanzibar beat each other up with big banana stalks. The idea is to get rid of all feuds and arguments and start a new year with a clean slate. It might sound rather painful but nobody gets hurt as the banana stalks split on contact and after a while they fall to pieces completely.
Mwaka Kogwa is the traditional Shirazi, or Persian, new year celebrations (well, one of them, its also celebrated around the Spring Equinox) that takes place in Zanzibar. Shirazis were the first foreigners to settle in Zanzibar in any number, and many aspects of their culture were absorbed by the Swahili people. This New Year festival is mostly about celebrating the end of the old growing season and the beginning of a new one.
A straw house is also burnt and the worries of the past year are meant to burn away with it. The way the smoke burns determines the village’s prosperity in the coming year.
Throughout the day, the women, dressed up in their best clothes, dance through the village and the fields, singing traditional songs about family, love, and joy. Finally there is a large feast in which guests are welcomed and considered a sign of happiness and prosperity.
When is the Mwaka Kogwa festival?
The festival takes place in July/August (depending on the moon) and lasts for four days. The 2012 Mwaka Kogwa festival will take place on July 19th. More information: www.mzuri-kaja.or.tz/mwaka.html
Zanzibar Food & Drink
Travel to Zanzibar
The Islands of Unguja and Pemba off the coast of Tanzania make up Zanzibar. The festival is celebrated in many parts of the islands, but Makunduchi, south-eastern Unguja is the best place to go. Book flights and hotels in Zanzibar with ebookers.com, or package holidays with Kuoni.
From travel books and holiday reading to binoculars and
And don’t forget the camera!
Enjoy your trip! And when you get home we’d love you to come back and tell us all about it!
|Traditional Festivals of Mwaka Kogwa by christianfrey, on Flickr||Mwaka Kogwa on YouTube|