Kuomboka traditional ceremony
The Umutomboko ceremony

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FESTIVALS

A highlight of any trip to Zambia is a visit to any of the many traditional festivals held throughout the country. Planning ahead can be tough though, as schedules are variable and not all are held yearly. Also, if you do manage to attend, bring along tolerance for heat, dust and crowds (increasingly drunk as the evening wears on) and patience for endless speeches by local functionaries. On the plus side, any foreigners attending can usually sneak into the VIP stands, although you may get hassled for photo permits. Ask for permission in advance.

Kazanga, Kaoma [Central Western Zambia] (June - August).
The Kazanga ceremony is considered Zambia's oldest traditional ceremony having been celebrated by the Nkoya people for over 500 years. The ceremony celebrates and maintains Nkoya traditions of music, dance and many other ancient practices.

Kuomboka, Lealui/Limulunga (Western Province, around Easter (March-April).
The most famous of Zambia's festivals, this is the ceremonial migration of the Lozi king (litunga) from his dry season abode at Lealui to his wet season palace at Limulunga. Wearing an elaborate victorian ambassadorís costume, the litunga is taken by a flotilla of barges down the river, with musical accompaniment and, of course, much feasting at the destination.

Ncwala, near Chipata, 24 February.
A Ngoni festival to celebrate the first fruit of the season, where the Ngoni chief ceremonially tastes the fruit of the land, then spears a bull and drinks its blood.

Kulamba, near Chipata, August.
A Chewa thanksgiving festival known for its Nyau secret society dancers.

Livingstone Cultural & Arts Festival.
This was first held in 1994, this festival brings traditional rulers from all the provinces of Zambia and visitors are also allowed with the knowledge of their culture in their tribe. This festival capture musicians, artist, poets, and dramatist.

Shimunenga is a ceremony to show devotion to ancestors. The ceremony takes place on a full moon on weekends in September and October. The Ba-ila (Ila) tribe celebrate this ceremony at Malla on the Kafue Flats.

 

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