It is again that time of the year where the Kingdom of Swaziland educes excitement due to the colorful and now internationally recognized Umhlanga ceremony. The Swaziland Reed Dance or Umhlanga is an annual tradition held in late August or early September where maidens collect bundles of reed and deliver at Lobamba, the Royal Capital.
Umhlanga attracts thousands of Swazi girls from all corners of the Kingdom of Swaziland and provides the occasion to honor and pay deference to the Queen Mother.
Maidens were registered to be 80 000 on the first day and they are led by newly appointed 22year old Nonduduzo 'Zuzu' Zubuko and Princess Sikhanyiso who is King Mswati III's daughter.
The main day for Umhlanga has been announced to be on the 3rd of September 2012 . On the main day, all the maidens will be gathered at Ludzidzini geared in short beaded skirts decorated with fringes and buttons; together with anklets, bracelets and necklaces and colorful slashes. The Royal Family Princesses will be expected to be wearing red feathers in their hair and lead the maidens before their Majesties, spectators, tourists and foreign dignitaries.
Umhlanga ceremony developed from the Umcwasho custom where young girls were placed in regiments to ensure their virginity. According to local sources the legitimate motive of this annual ceremony is to preserve the women's chastity, provide patriotic labor to the Queen Mother, and produce solidarity among women through working together.
'The increase in the maidens' numbers sends to be proof that the ceremony is becoming highly recognized and more young Swazi Girls are eager to be a part of the event.' Mentioned the source
Umhlanga has also become an internationally recognized event; numerous tourists visit the country to experience the ceremony. More information about the Swaziland Reed Dance is available on Amazon.com of the downloadable ebook written by Sibusisiwe Dlamini. It is entitled: Umhlanga The Swaziland Reed Dance with Pictures.
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