Incwala Day, also referred to as The Festival of First Fruits, is a national holiday in the small African kingdom of Swaziland. The Incwala festival occurs at the summer solstice, which is known as midsummer day. In the Southern Hemisphere, summer solstice can fall anywhere from 20 to 23 of December.
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The Incwala festivities don’t just happen all on one day, however, but actually cover a full month. The King of Swaziland presides over the events, and when there is no sitting king at the time, the celebrations are simply canceled for that year.
Bemanti, which are priests, also figure large in the ceremonies. They make a festive journey to the sea in neighbouring Mozambique and return to meet the king in his royal capital city. There, royally brewed beer is consumed, dancing and singing breaks out, and warriors dress up in their finest Incwala attire.
Fetching of the sacred acacia tree, the ceremonial weeding of the fields, the appearance of the king to all the people in his full glory, and many other traditional components of the overall Incwala festival add to its complexity and deepen its cultural impact.