Essay about Holiday Traditions in South Africa

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Traditions, holidays, and festivals are all important in the Republic of South Africa. South Africa has a large population of 57 million people with three capital cities: Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Pretoria. Traditions are beliefs or customs people do regularly that have been done for many generations. South Africa is known as the 'Rainbow Nation' because it has lots of different cultures that influenced its traditions since most people in South Africa either are Bantu or European, and only a small amount of people are the aboriginal San and Khoi. South Africa has a variety of festivals, holidays, and parades, as well as traditional dances. Some traditions celebrated in South Africa are very popular in the whole world, such as Christmas and New Year, while some might be unfamiliar. South Africa has encountered apartheid which is when blacks and whites were forced to be separated, not to interact in any way. Each and every culture has its own traditions with the importance that have been going on for a long time.

Since South Africa has influences from countries across the world, South Africa also celebrates some traditions known worldwide. Friends and families gather to celebrate New Year. At midnight on January 1st, the church rings and people celebrate by cheering and enjoying fireworks. Tweede Nuwe Jaar is the Second New Year that is celebrated on January 2nd because that was the only day slaves were free. Kaapse Klopse is a festival and a parade in Cape Town for the Cape Minstrels of the Malay people on January 2nd and the following 7 days. At this festival troupes dress up with colored faces, glittery silk uniforms, ties, and hats, they wave parasols, play cheerful jazz music, and dance. This is a very popular tradition with over 30,000 attendances, 13 000 minstrels, and 70 troupes in the parade. Another common tradition is Christmas. Christmas is celebrated together with family, and shops, businesses, and schools are closed since it is a public holiday. Christmas is a Christian tradition celebrated because Jesus was born in Bethlehem on December 25th, and to commemorate this they start the day off in church and go singing Christmas carols in front of other people’s houses in the spirit of Christmas and to act like the angels in Bethlehem. The house is decorated with pine branches and a fake tree, as well as stockings for Santa. On Christmas Eve at midnight or first thing in the morning on Christmas Day, they enjoy the excitement of opening Christmas gifts. South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, which means that Christmas is celebrated during summertime with warm and bright weather. They usually have a barbecue where families bring their own meat or side dish to share. The traditional food eaten is turkey, roast beef, mince pies, suckling pig, yellow rice, raisins, plum pudding, and lekker pudding. They play games and at midnight there is a light show with fireworks. South Africa also celebrates New Year and Christmas differently from other cultures, but still with lots of fun events to participate in together.

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South Africa celebrates some traditions known worldwide, but just like each and every culture, they have some uncommon holiday traditions as well. A popular festival of the Durban holiday is the Royal Reed Dance Festival, a festival celebrated in early September in Zululand for young virgin Zulu maidens. It is a colorful and cultural festival with 10 000 participants. These maidens prepare beads and reeds which are done to reflect and connect with Zulu people, traditions, and ancestors because the plant represents the power of nature many months before the ceremony. They also sing and dance the Reed Dance at the parade at the Zulu Kings KwaNyokeni’s palace located in Kwa-Zulu, which promotes purity to girls and respect for women and teaches women about sexual risks and behaviors. At the ceremony, there are speeches and entertainment directed to the royal family, and the king also dances and sings at the celebration. Youth Day is a public holiday in South Africa, celebrated on June 16th as a reminder of the protest in Soweto against the Bantu education system. The Bantu education system was for black schools to teach some subjects in Afrikaans and some English, but the problem was that black children do not always speak Afrikaans and they did not like it because it was a racial curriculum and the school was not good either. The Soweto Uprising is the protest black students did against apartheid, but, unfortunately, many hundreds of students were killed by the police during the protest. Marches and rallies in Soweto are now held as a reminder of the protest and sacrifices youths made to fight against apartheid, as well as music and dance festivals for youths to attend. This day is used to inform youths about bad education and low-paying jobs to prevent youths from making mistakes and try to give them the best advantages they can. Even though these traditions are not usual across the world, South Africans still enjoy it and it is symbolic of their culture and history.

South Africa has lots of different kinds of holiday traditions, some known globally and some are just local. Whether they are based on ancestors and healers, apartheid, slavery, or just for fun, they are still an important part of people’s lives. South Africans enjoy spending time together with friends and family to celebrate traditions, as well as taking time to travel to certain places to participate in festivals during public holidays. Lots of countries across the world impacted the traditions of South Africa and therefore they have a large range of different traditions. “There is no 'single' culture in South Africa because of its ethnic diversity” (New World Encyclopedia). South Africa seems to have lots of interesting traditions, lifestyles beliefs, and dances that can express themselves. In South Africa, diversity has really enriched the cultural life.

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Essay about Holiday Traditions in South Africa. (2023, December 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-about-holiday-traditions-in-south-africa/
“Essay about Holiday Traditions in South Africa.” Edubirdie, 08 Dec. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/essay-about-holiday-traditions-in-south-africa/
Essay about Holiday Traditions in South Africa. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-about-holiday-traditions-in-south-africa/> [Accessed 25 Jul. 2024].
Essay about Holiday Traditions in South Africa [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Dec 08 [cited 2024 Jul 25]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-about-holiday-traditions-in-south-africa/
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