NYANZA – Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, has said the annual harvest celebrations, known as Umuganura, should inspire Rwandans to work harder to improve their productivity.
He was speaking Friday in Nyanza District during celebrations to mark this year’s National Harvest Day which took place at the Ancient History Museum (Urukari). The celebrations were organised by the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) together with the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
The Premier noted that the day was important in the Rwandan culture, saying it was an opportunity to strengthen the existing ties between the population and the leadership through sharing of the produce.
“Umuganura has played an important role in the community. It was a symbol of unity, communion and strong relationship that the population enjoyed altogether,” the Premier explained.
“Celebrating this day does not only help us remember our tradition, but it also serves as an opportunity to learn from our ancestors and take measures which can help us improve our productivity and spur our growth.”
He added that the national harvest day, nowadays, goes beyond the celebration of agricultural produce. He cited unity, economic growth, infrastructure development and education, among others, as the “harvest that we celebrate today”.
“If we have a reason, why can’t we celebrate?
We have come a long way and that’s what is making us feel proud. Let’s safeguard our culture, remain united and work towards a common objective so we keep developing ourselves, he appealed.
Historically, August was seen as the beginning of the harvest season and was a time of great celebrations across the country. Residents gathered in their respective families and areas of residence to celebrate their harvest while a big ceremony was held at the King’s Palace.
During Friday’s celebrations, guests were entertained with a colourful parade of Inyambo, the traditional long-horned cows which used to parade at the King’s Palace. They also witnessed a number of traditional games including Kumasha (archery) and kunyabanwa (traditional fencing using sticks).
A vibrant performance by Inganzo Ngari, a traditional dance troupe, left many in attendance speechless as the dancers imitatively reproduced how the Harvest celebrations were held in the ancient times.
The Minister of Sports and Culture, Protais Mitali, observed that Rwanda seeks to revive tradition, noting it was vital in the development of the country.
“Celebrating what we achieved gives the population the courage and strength to keep working hard,” he said.