11 August 2016
Swaziland: The dates of the Reed Dance 2016 have been announced!
Swaziland Tourism has confirmed the dates of the 2016 Reed Dance. The biggest cultural event in Swaziland is set to start on 23 August 2016, with the main day (Day 7) set to take place on 29 August 2016 (Monday). It will be on this day when the main ceremony occurs, with the dancing attended by King King Mswati III. 29 August 2016 will also be a public holiday in Swaziland. This year's Reed Dance will include a restaurant with in the arena marquee open to the public from 08:00 to 19:00, with food provided by Ocean Basket, Royal Swazi Sun & SNTC (traditional food).
The Reed Dance ceremony, also known as "umhlanga", is a centuries old tradition where the Swaziland's unmarried and childless females present their newly cut reed to the Queen Mother to protect her residence. The highlight of the event is the reed-giving ceremony. Tens of thousands of maidens from Swaziland, led by Swazi princesses, gather at the Queen Mother's royal village, the Ludzidzini Royal Residence in Lobamba, dressed in traditional attire; bright short beaded skirts with colourful sashes revealing their bare breasts to dance and sing and celebrate the unification of the Kingdom’s women. King Mswati lll, who sometimes makes use of the occasion to publicly court a prospective fiancée, joins the celebrations to pay tribute to the maidens.