|The four main Christian holidays celebrated in
Rwanda are Easter, Assumption Day, All Saints' Day and Christmas. On these
days, Christians usually attend church and enjoy a special family meal.
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead. Assumption Day marks the Blessed Virgin Mary's ascent into heaven
after the death of her son. All Saints' Day celebrates all those who have
achieved sainthood and is associated with a celebration of the dead. Christmas
commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
Muslims in Rwanda observe Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, which honours the prophet Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his own son to Allah (God). The timing of these holidays varies from year to year, according to the lunar calendar.
In July, the babandwa honour Ryangombe with a special event. The members of the fraternity paint their faces and bodies, and decorate the spirit huts. One member dresses up as Ryangombe himself and carries a sacred spear. The babandwa chant, dance and beat drums in a traditional ritual, then purify themselves by bathing in a stream.
Umuganura is a harvest ritual, observed in August. The first harvest is dedicated to Imana. The celebrations include a traditional festive meal. People drink sorghum beer with family and friends.
Rwanda has several holidays associated with nationhood. September 25 is Kamarampaka Day. Kamarampaka means "referendum," and this holiday commemorates the 1961 election, in which Rwandans voted to abolish the Tutsi monarchy. Independence was declared on July 1, 1962, and this day is now observed as Rwanda's National Holiday. Independence Day, three days later, commemorates the founding of the Second Republic, in 1973, when Juvenal Habyarimana came to power.