To discover the meaning of the popular festivals in Botswana, you must first know that this country has a rich cultural heritage. The festivities in Botswana continue to be celebrated as they were hundreds of years ago, and they follow the principles of ancestral tradition and culture.
The festivities and popular festivals in Botswana depend on the diverse ethnic groups which inhabit the country. The Herero, the Kavango, the Khoisan, the Lozi, the Ndebele, the Shoto, and the Tswana are the main ethnic groups which make up the original population of Botswana.
These men and women have managed to avoid the collapse of the colonial era and tribal conflicts. Dominated by the absolutism of family monarchies for centuries, however, it was not a source of slaves, unlike many other African countries. Its political institutions have been modernized, and debates replace tribal clashes.
Although there are inequalities in the quality of life among the different ethnic groups, the country has managed to maintain peace, being a safe destination for millions of tourists. With these factors in mind, let's look at Botswana's most popular festivals month by month.
In January, the inhabitants of this country celebrate the New Year with outdoor parties, traditional music, dances and popular events with lots of food and drink. More than seventy percent of the population is Christian, so it is hardly surprising that they celebrate this festival of Christian origin just like in the rest of the world.
For the inhabitants of this country, protection of the environment is a key issue, so in this regard, they actively participate in World Wetlands Day, which is celebrated in February. If you are visiting the country in February, you will be able to attend some of the popular events and festivals in Botswana which are celebrated for this important reason, such as the protection of their wildlife.
One of the most important festivities in Botswana is the Maitisong Festival, a popular festival which takes place in March and lasts nine days. For more than a week, the people take to the streets to enjoy numerous shows of traditional music, performing arts and cultural events. It is a kind of carnival, but with cultural and artistic content, and it takes place in Gaborone.
If you are in the northwest in April, you can attend one of the most culturally rich festivals in Botswana. The Festival of Maun combines tribal dances, music, poetry and everything which has to do with the tribal culture of this area of the country. A very authentic celebration, which you cannot miss.
May is the month which hosts another of the most important festivities in Botswana, the TjiLenje Cultural Festival. To enjoy the events which take place in this festival, you will have to visit the city of Nlapkhwane. The traditional dances, the ancestral games, and the typical food and drink of the region are the protagonists of this festivity.
Lovers of the motor will have their time in June during the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, an annual race which attracts fans from all over the country. If you like motorcycle, motor or even quad-biking racing, you can't miss this sporting event.
July is the setting in which to celebrate President's Day, one of the most patriotic Motswana festivities. For four days, popular events are organized with dances, songs, and speeches to honor the country's president.
If you visit the Kalahari desert in August, you're in luck, because you will see one of the most unique Motswana festivals. The bushmen celebrate at the Kuru Dance Festival, a traditional festival full of music, dance, and songs. The celebration lasts three days and is an authentic celebration which highlights how alive the Bushman culture is today.
September gives way to one of the Motswana festivities with the biggest taste of freedom, Independence Day. This day, which is celebrated every 30th September, is characterized by many street parties, parades, and events related to the culture and traditions of the different ethnic groups which make up the country.
October and November
At the end of October and the beginning of November, the Spirit Of Praise is celebrated, an annual music event which attracts artists from all over the country. The exciting event is a competition to choose the best artists through a 7-week search. The public select their favorite artist from among all the participants.
As the majority of the population are Christian, Christmas is another popular holiday in Botswana. The Motswana are very faithful, so these dates are celebrated with great religious fervor. In addition to the typical Christmas dinners, there are concerts of Christmas carols and local choirs which celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus.