There are several festivals that are celebrated in Tanzania with great joy and enthusiasm. The most popular festivals include Wanyambo festival, Kiliman adventure challenge, Kilimanjaro marathon, unification day, Karibu travel and tourism fair, Eid-al-fitar, Mwaka kogwa and Bagamoyo Arts Festival. Among all these festivals, Mwaka Kogwa is the one that is celebrated with a number of cultural elements. I, Nick Tsagaris also got a chance to attend this amazing festival last year with my family.
It is a four-day festival that is celebrated in most parts of Zanzibar, Tanzania between July and August. It begins with men beating up each other with huge banana stalks in order to let go off all arguments and quarrels from the past year and start with a new, fresh beginning. While the stalks don’t hurt people and split after coming into contact, they are finally burnt to end all sour times and thoughts, to sustain only happiness in the society.
I have been amazed to see this weird yet interesting way of Zanzibaris to welcome the New Year. From all over Tanzania, people flock in to see this unique celebration. As soon as the activities are done, people go home to prepare the feast and a banquet is held in the open with everyone participating, strangers can also join. In the evening, the beautifully dressed men, women and children gather in a Koba ground and the dance goes on late into the night with music ranging from traditional songs to disco. If you ever get a chance to attend the Mwaka Kogwa festival, don’t miss out!