Uganda and 14 public holidays (part 2)

Uganda has many national holidays that allows workers to have days off and celebrate together, even the Electronic System of the Government. Therefore, the visa process may be postponed on these days.

8.    Martyrs' Day

Martyrs’ Day is held on 3rd June to commemorate the historical date when 45 martyrs (both Catholic and Anglican) were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II. Although this is a religious holiday, it has been commercialized since it brings a big avenue for the tourism industry. For most tourists, the Uganda martyrs shrine is a site of religious tourism. People come there for pilgrimages. Pilgrims have been provided with professional tour guide services by the Uganda Tourist Guide Association and Free medical checkups by International Medical Link (IML) so that the trip is ensured to be a comfortable and a memorable one.




9.    Eid-al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)

The date of Eid-ul-Fitr in Uganda, which has also called as “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is traditionally determined by the sighting of the Shawwal moon in Saudi Arabia, specifically, the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal.  Islam is the largest minority religion in Uganda, just following Christianity. That is why Eid-al-Fitr is considered as one of their national holidays. 

It commemorates the end of Islam’s holiest month (about 29 to 30 days in the ninth month of Islamic lunar calendar) when Muslims must adhere to a strict Fast observed from dawn to sunset. For Muslims, Fast is viewed as a period of time they practice self-controlling, cleansing their mind, body, and spirit. The fast also reminds them of food and water appreciation. 



They are stretching their hands to ask for a cup of water on the Eid-al-Fitr date


On this national holiday, many Muslims attend prayers in large avenues together. They even wear new clothes, prepare festive meals, sending a card and greets other with wishes featuring the word “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed Eid).


10.    National Heroes’ Day

That national holiday has been observed on June 9th since 2001 to honor the sacrifice and dedication of people who lost their lives in the Ugandan Bush War (1981-1986) for a better life for Ugandan citizens. On those days, the government and authority agencies celebrate the worships and formal ceremony to tribute their national heroes.  




11.    Eid-al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)

Along with Eid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha (also known as “Feast of the Sacrifice”) is also a religious holiday for Muslims around the world. The exact date of Eid-al-Adha bases on the lunar calendar and different for each country. In this day, Muslims obey a traditional custom by sacrifice an animal (normally cow, goat or ram) to pay respects for Ibrahim. In some regions, the people only eat a third of their meal, the other parts of the meal are given for their friends and the poor. It is important that on this day no one is left without any sacrificial food.




12.    Independence Day 

It is celebrated on October 9th annually and marks Uganda's independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. Like many other countries which were once colonial one, this day is a big pride for Ugandan citizens. Hence, the ceremony always involves the presence of the President and well-known artists performing for the parade. The sky is filled with Ugandan flag as a demonstration for the pride of all citizens. 




13.    Christmas Day 

As most the countries following Christianity religion in the world, Christmas Day is the biggest and happiest holiday that is held officially on December 25th but the parties have often begun since the night of December 24th. The holiday is created to celebrate Jesus’s birth. Churches are opened and gained wide attention from all people to come and pray on these days. In Uganda, people also sell goods and gift cards so that people can send to their family, relatives, friends or lovers. Most people believe that Christmas Day stands for love, warmth, and happiness since, on that day, Jesus (believed as the son of God) was born. 




There are some interesting traditions about Christmas Day in several Ugandan rural villages. They gather a group of friends to visit many houses in the villages then sing Christmas carols together and receive greets and gifts from the host.  


14.    Boxing Day

This national holiday falls on the day just after Christmas Day, December 26th, so it is also considered as a part of Christmas. There is a theory about the root of Boxing Day. In wealthy households, servants have to work hard on Christmas Day. Hence, on the next day, they will be received a big box from the host as a present for their hard-working then enjoy the day off for themselves. But today, it's widely believed to be an extension of the Christmas holiday and a big day for sporting events and shopping since there are booming deals and sales for customers. 



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