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African Festivals
Other Festivals/Occasions

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    Heritage Day - A celebration of the art, music, and literature that South Africans have inherited.

    The Day of Reconciliation - Marks a new understanding between the different races of South Africa. It replaces the "Day of Vow," which marked the victory of the Boers over the Zulus at the battle of Blood River.

    Coon Carnival - A two day holiday which includes New Year's Day and "Tweede Nuwejaar" or 2nd New Year's Day. During this occasion the freed slaves from the Cape parade through the streets with bands and singing.

    Human Rights Day - This day is a reminder to South Africans that human rights now form the basis of their constitution.

    Freedom Day - Celebrates the first democratic election for South Africa on April 27, 1994.

    Workers' Day - A reminder that all people who work deserve fair wage and decent working conditions.

    Sheikh Yusuf Pilgrimage - Muslim pilgrims often the visit the kramat of Sheikh Yusuf. He was the first great Muslim leader in South Africa. Sheikh Yusuf kramat is believed to be the most holy of all six. These six kramats are special to the followers of the Muslim faith. They are said to form the "holy circle". Believers worship the shrine of the holy circle and often visit it, bringing expensive silk cloth, and bottles of water from the river. They believe if you leave the water in the shrine over night, then it will miraculously gain healing powers.

    Youth Day - Honors the young people who died in the struggle against Apartheid.

    Grahamstown Festival - A yearly Arts Festival that has activities ranging from shakespeare to slapstick comedy, music from opera to jazz, art exhibitions, a film festival, dance, storytelling, and food. The best actors, singers, musicians and dancers of South Africa all want to be a part of the program.

    National Women's Day - Gives courage to women everywhere who suffer from discrimination.

    There is an International Roots Festival held annually between 23 June and 1 July.

    Commonwealth Day is generally celebrated on the 2nd Monday in March. This date was chosen so that the holiday would fall on a school day in most, if not all, member states of the Commonwealth. There is no statutory requirement that this date be chosen and is occasionally observed on other days.

    The day is used to promote understanding about global issues, international co-operation and the work of the modern Commonwealth. Each year there is a different theme. Commonwealth Day is celebrated in many different ways. Some cities host multi-faith observances, the largest being held at Westminster Abbey in London and attended by Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth. Parliaments and legislatures also mark the day with speeches and events.

    During the Feast of Achura, which commemorates with martyrdom of Hussein, the prophet's grandson, Shiite Muslims whip themselves until the blood flows.

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