Burundi celebrates its Independence Day every 1 July to commemorate the day in 1962 when the country gained its freedom from Belgian colonial rule.
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Today, Independence Day is still an official public holiday in Burundi, but it is not as widely or intensely celebrated as one might expect. That’s because of the long conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi that existed both before, during, and after the colonial period. The holiday “Unity Day”, created in 1992, is viewed by some as less controversial; yet, the people of Burundi do appreciate the fact that Belgian rule ended on 1 July, and Independence Day still gets some attention and appreciation.
The Tutsi tribe was used by Belgium during colonial times to indirectly rule the country, which caused Hutu resentment. Today, the situation is much more equitable, but only after decades of tension, revolts, and civil war.
Originally, Rwanda and Burundi were ruled together as the colony of Ruanda-urundi. The two colonies were split up at the request of Burundi in 1959, and independence soon followed in 1962.
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