In Zambia, statutory holidays include Christian celebrations and days honouring important national events or social groups. There are also many cultural festivals during the year when people enjoy music, dance, rituals and feasting. Most traditional ceremonies celebrate the cycles of nature, past military victories or the passage from childhood to adulthood.

 One of the most famous festivals is the Ku-omboka, a Lozi celebration that means "to move away from the water." The Lozi live on the rich flood plains of the Upper Zambezi in western Zambia. At the end of the rainy season in February or March, the Zambezi begins to flood the Lozi's cattle-grazing land. When the king, the Litunga, judges that the time has come to move to higher ground, royal war drums summon the people. A hundred polers climb aboard the royal barge, which is a huge dug-out canoe more than a century old. They carry the Litunga to Limulunga, the king's winter residence. The queen (the Moyo) travels in her own barge, followed by local dignitaries, attendants and subjects. At the end of the day-long journey, the Litunga steps ashore and the celebrations begin.

Another late summer festival takes place on February 24 in the Eastern Province. At the N'cwala (First Fruits) ceremony, the Ngoni people perform warrior dances and slaughter a black bull. They are honouring the day in 1835 when the Ngoni first crossed the Zambezi River. The celebration of victory is now combined with a thanksgiving festival. When the chief has tasted the first produce of the year, the harvest begins. The colonial government banned N'cwala in 1900, but it was revived in 1980.
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The male Makishi dancers are famous for their fearsome masks and elaborate costumes. Traditionally, they represent the spirits of the dead. During male circumcision ceremonies, the Makishi perform to help the boys feel less anxious.
A popular July festival is the Likumbi Lya Mize (The Day of Mize). The town of Mize is the official palace of Senior Chief Ndungu. While the chief holds court, the Makishi dancers recreate famous events from Luvale mythology, and local artists display their work.

 Zambia's Independence Day, October 24, is also United Nations Day. President Kaunda chose that date to symbolize the new nation's commitment to the United Nations and its Charter.

January 1 New Year's Day
Second Monday in March Youth Day
March or April Good Friday and Easter Monday
May 1  Labour Day
May 25 African Freedom Day
First Monday in July Heroes' Day
First Tuesday in July Unity Day
First Monday in August Farmers' Day
October 24 Independence Day
December 25  Christmas Day
December 26  Boxing Day