I had the wonderful opportunity to see the Reed Dance or "Umhlanga" which takes place in. Young childless unmarried maidens from all over the Kingdom cut reeds with long knives and then gather and present them to the Queen Mother and dance, colourfully dressed and bare breasted. The ceremony lasts eight days with the King only attending the last day's ceremony. The girls wear coloured tassels and woollen streamers denoting whether they are betrothed or not. The Princesses wear red feathers in their hair. The Swazis are a proud, wonderfully friendly nation and Swaziland is a beautiful country to visit.
A colorful and controversial ritual. Young unmarried maidens from all over the Kingdom cut reeds with long knives and then gather and present them to the Queen Mother and dance, colourfully dressed and bare breasted. Carrying the reed symbolises virginity and purity. I had the opportunity to talk with some girls who at tended the celebration, and they were proud to take part of it. Some curiosities: if the girl use a red feather around the head, it is because she is already part of the royal family.
Umhlanga was created in the s in Eswatini under the rule of Sobhuza II , and is an adaptation of the much older Umcwasho ceremony. The dance in South Africa takes place in Nongoma , a royal kraal of the Zulu king. All girls are required to undergo a virginity test before they are allowed to participate in a royal dance.
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