The popular festivals of Zimbabwe currently number 10 national celebrations. According to the laws of the country, the president reserves the right to specify the days of national holidays. They are published in December, in the National Gazette. These are the most important festivities in Zimbabwe.
On 25th May, Africa Day celebrates the creation of the OAU, that is, the Pan-Africanist Organisation of African Unity, in 1963. In 2001, the OAU was replaced by the African Union, despite the fact that this real union between all the African states has not yet materialised completely. That is why special events are held on that day to remember the goal of African unity, democracy and peace.
This Christian festival is celebrated in Zimbabwe, although in a slightly different way. Many people attend a special mass and then a family party is held. But instead of staying at home, the Zimbabweans go out and visit all their loved ones, family and friends in their homes, before returning to their own. The houses are decorated with ivy instead of the Christmas tree which is placed in other countries.
Defence Forces Day
The day which is also called "Armed Forces Day" is celebrated every August. This day honours the defence bodies of the nation, whether army or police. It begins with an emotional patriotic speech, after which the flag is raised and a huge parade takes place. At the end of the parade, what is known as the "Flame of Independence" is lit, which is the official symbol of the eternal freedom of the Republic of Zimbabwe. On this day the national anthem called Blessed Be the Land of Zimbabwe is also heard.
About 85% of Zimbabweans are Christians, including Protestants, Anglicans or Roman Catholics. Although there is also a large presence of elements which belong to ancient traditional religions.
During these dates, the children go to the Botanical Garden of Harare to look for Easter eggs, chocolates and sweets. Some dishes from this festival are also prepared. Holy Week in Zimbabwe is one of the most popular festivities in Zimbabwe for tourists since it is very influenced by the local culture, so it is very different from what we know.
National Heroes Day in Zimbabwe is celebrated on the second Monday in August, to remember those brave people who died during their struggle for independence. This day they are remembered in the National Heroes Acre where some of them are buried. The president and citizens come to pay their respects and offer wreaths. Patriotic songs are sung and marches are made to the place of the event. They also usually organise musical performances and dances.
This is a very important day in Zimbabwe, and it is celebrated every 18th April. In 1980 the country finally achieved its independence, after a long process of several decades. To commemorate it, flags are raised, military parades, patriotic speeches and flying displays are held. White doves are also released as a symbol of peace.
Day of National Unity
The Day of National Unity, on 22nd December, commemorates the signing of the Unity Agreement by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo in 1987. It is common for government officials to deliver political speeches. Different sporting events are held since the sport is an activity which is very present in the culture of Zimbabwe. A football championship is celebrated and the winner is awarded the Unity Cup. On that day there are many concerts with popular music to encourage people to attend. Many Zimbabweans are wary of events which are sponsored by the government because they consider them propaganda.
New Year’s Day
Lighting fills the city and the decoration beautifies businesses, streets and homes, especially Harare, the country's capital. In addition to family meals, cultural shows, live concerts and plays are also held.
On May Day, as in the rest of the world, Worker's or Labour Day is celebrated in Zimbabwe. In recent years in the country, there were frequent protests and strikes to demand an improvement in working conditions. On Labour Day, the protest mood increases and campaigns are carried out for workers' rights. Another way to celebrate that day is to place decorative elements on the posts such as balloons, flowers and streamers, or simply to meet with the family.
National Youth Day Robert Mugabe
This is one of the most popular festivals in Zimbabwe, established in 2017. It is celebrated on 21st February, the birthday of Robert Mugabe. Although he is no longer in power, the government has decided to keep this festivity. Mugabe played an important role in the establishment of Zimbabwe as an independent nation. He also had a significant influence on other aspects of the country's politics and that is why it was decided to create a national holiday in his honour. This event is very controversial, due to many of the decisions made during his time in power.