This year’s national harvest day celebration, locally known as Umuganura, will be used to showcase the country’s achievements across all sectors.
The celebration that will go on for three days, instead of one as it was the case previously, will feature a cultural performance at Rukari ancient history museum in Nyanza District, and an exhibition of the country’s achievements in education, culture, and agriculture among others.
The celebrations start today, July 30, with a carnival walk from Kimihurura to Petit Stade, where the exhibition of the achievements will take place.
Alphonse Umulisa, the Director General of the Institute of the National Museums of Rwanda (INMR), said the exhibition was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and the Institute of Language Academy.
Jerome Karangwa, the director of research and publication unit at INMR, said “the intention is to rally the public to work harder while also promoting cultural tourism.”
A part from the exhibition in Kigali, a separate cultural exhibition in Rukari with Inyambo (traditional cows) parade will take place on July 31.
The climax of the Umuganura celebration will be on August 1 at Petit Stade.
“In the future, we hope people from outside the country will join us in the umuganura celebration because it is becoming a component of cultural tourism,” Karangwa said.
Under the theme: ‘Self Reliance,’ Karangwa says the celebration is about the steady development of the country.
In the past, Umuganura started from planting to harvest season, and the King’s blessing was requested for during the whole process.
The Biru or councillors/ secretaries–who were custodians of culture–were commissioned to guide the country into the process.
The Abiru b’umuganura, the secretaries who were specifically in charge of the national harvest day– were tasked to come and take brand new hoes from the King’s palace to Bumbogo, current Rulindo District. The hoes were blessed by the King.
In Bumbogo, the chief of the Abiru, would launch the farming season in August or September.
By late February, the Abiru had to come back to collect a basket, locally called igitenga, from the King. They had to take it to their chief in Bumbogo, and the latter would then launch the harvest.
The first harvest was put into the basket and carried to the Umwami nyir’u Rwanda (King).
From the King’s palace, a banquet would be organised after the harvest where the King, the queen and the chief of Abiru would bless the farmers and wish them good harvest for the next season.
Francois Nyangezi, an official from the Ministry of Culture and Sports also a member of the organising committee, said a lot will be showcased.
Carnivals will also take place in different parts of the city, including Nyamirambo, downtown Kigali and Kisimenti.