There's heaven on earth down south!
I will let you in on the secret shortly.
But before I do, what's up with the hero worship?
I find it odd that most African countries have a holiday for a founding father or some leader's birthday.
Hey! Don't get me wrong. I am not here advocating for the scrapping of these holidays.
No! Who doesn't love a holiday?
Just saying it takes many hands to achieve freedom or success. A lot of people are involved in the process of laying a foundation; we can't just celebrate the architect. It is like saying you are a self-made billionaire :)
Rename these holidays to something more accommodating, like Heroes Day or something along that line.
I have also observed something weird while researching this topic; most African holidays have to do with religions coincidentally celebrated in other parts of the world.
I can't help but get the vibe: we are celebrating these because the west and the east celebrate do it too. Do you mean to tell me there is nothing we are proud of in Africa and would want to celebrate? I seriously doubt that.
Okay! I get it. We have embraced these international Holidays, and they are now part of us. Can't we at least localize them, then?
I love what countries like Tanzania and South Africa have done in this regard with Nane Nane day and Day of Goodwill, respectively.
African countries must also have powerful armies. It's either that or they are very good at coup d'etat. Several countries have holidays to celebrate their armies and police.
Voodoo Festival/ Traditional Religions Day
Vaudoun Day is a public holiday celebrated on January 10 in Benin to commemorate the West African Voodoo religion's history. The believers dress up and assume the identities of the gods.
The festival commences with the slaughtering of a goat in honour of the spirits. After that, lots of dancing and singing fill the air amid the consumption of liquor.
Sidenote: I intentionally added Voodoo to rub salt into that raw wound. The fact that you and I consider Voodoo weird and Christianity and Muslim the gospel truth is a testament to how colonized our minds are. Anyway, don't fret. The beauty of learning is to unlearn.
Robert Mugabe National Youth Day
Notice the irony in the name? Yes, we must celebrate the youth. After all, Africa's youth population make up 22.7% of the world's total youth population, second to only Asia. But was there a need for your name as part of the holiday? And is it a coincidence that it coincides with your birthday?
Like many of Africa's freedom fighters, Mugabe had bad and good sides.
The King of Eswatini is "eating life" with a big spoon.
Remember the 72 wives mentioned in the Quran? There is a hack to it; overthrow King Mswati III, and the virgins are all yours.
Umhlanga Reed Dance is an eight-day event in Eswatini, culminating with a public holiday on the first Monday of September.
Thousands of topless Swazi women from across the country attend the Reed Dance at the royal residence of the Queen-mother and then dance in celebration.
The dancers must be virgins, unmarried, and childless.
The King sometimes chooses one of them to be his new wife.
Who are we to refuse when the OG of presidents, Teodoro Obiang, says we must celebrate president's day?
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the longest serving president in the world.
Every year on June 5, the people of Equatorial Guinea commemorate the birthday of their sitting president.
Gerewol festival of the woodabe, Chad
If you have two left feet, this is not for you!
Every year in late September, young men from the Woodabe tribe gather for a colourful festival, the Gerewol festival.
What's the mission, you ask? To impress the daughters of eve.
Young men don detailed make-up and dress in fine clothing and jewellery. They then perform songs and dances in a bid to attract a partner. It is very shameful to participate and not be noticed by a girl.
Fete du Dipri (The feast of blood)
The fete du Dipri, or festival of blood, is a cleansing festival held every April by the Abidji people in Gomon, Côte D'Ivoire.
The celebrations begin by sacrificing a ritual animal. People prick themselves with knives on the lower abdomen to signify the blood shed by their ancestors.
The festival commemorates the sacrifice the ancestors made to save the people. It also helps drive away evil spirits, solve conflicts in the community and purify the participants.
African Traditional Medicine Day
Thank GOD we are starting to realize how essential our indigenous medicine is.
Africans celebrate African Traditional Medicine Day on August 31 every year.
The day is marked to honour the integral role of Africa's rich biodiversity in improving the health and well-being of Africans. These medicines were used long before the advent of modern medicine, and people still use them to cure critical illnesses.
With increased scientific research, traditional medicine should gain more prominence. Doctors should be able to prescribe them to patients, and we should see more on pharmacies' shelves.
However, African governments should also implement policies to protect against the theft of these IPs by big international pharma companies.
Bonus: It should be celebrated
Africa day is a no-brainer. We all should champion united Africa,intra-African trade and free movement within Africa.
It celebrates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
Shout out to countries like the Gambia, Mali, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, who have made May 25 a public holiday.
African Recipe Day
Recipe Day would be fantastic! I am already licking my lips thinking about it. Yes, I love eating. I said eating, not cooking.
Imagine being able to sample tasty delicacies from different corners of the continent. Wouldn't that be great?
The culinary exchange would help us appreciate our and other people's cultures even more.
Think of it as travelling the continent without visiting in person. What a pleasant experience! We can learn how to prepare different foods by exchanging recipes and what makes each unique.
Traditional Attire day
Walking down the streets, you meet people dressed in various traditional clothing. A Maasai with a Kanga, a Banyankole with a cowhide below the waist. What a site! It gives us a sense of belonging and pride.
Did you know
Labor Day, also known as International Workers' Day or May Day, is a public holiday celebrated in more than 160 countries worldwide.
The holiday occurs around May 1, but several countries like the US, Canada and Australia observe it on other dates.
Special thanks to Stephanie for editing the issue.
Whenever you need translation for any African language, help is here.
Remember, it is time to tell our stories. Till next time.
Join the Lughayangu Community!