Thursday 11 May 2017

Equatorial Guinea : Holidays and Celebrations

New Years Day.  January 1. Most people celebrate it like the rest of the world.
The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism put on a fabulous fireworks display. It's free and broadcast throughout the country.

Good Friday / Easter. Varies. Good Friday goes by several names (Mourning Friday or Black Friday); it represents the day Christians believe Jesus was crucified on the cross. Most Christians will attend a special Good Friday mass and spend the day in solemnity. Easter is considered the most important holiday for Equatoguinean Christians. Since this is the day that Christians celebrate Jesus being resurrected from the dead, many people spend the day (or at least morning) in church services and visiting family and friends later.

Labour Day.  May 1. Also called International Worker's Day, this holiday is designed to celebrate the worker and discuss labor issues. Both public and private businesses are closed on this day.

Africa Day. May 25. This holiday was created in 1963 with the creation of the African Union. The African Union itself was designed to bring all 53 member states together to deal with issues regarding economic issues, crime and trafficking issues, and poverty that affects everyone in the African community. It's also designed to celebrate the spirit and vivacity of Africa. Celebrations vary, but it is celebrated in both Africa and its Diaspora with games, music, food, and dances for all. Seminars and panel discussions are often held during this time to discuss pressing affairs.

Corpus Christi.  May 30. Corpus Christi is the Christian celebration of the Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Many Equatoguinean Christians will attend a special mass on this day.

President's Day. June 5. This is the birthday of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. In 1979, he led a successful coup d'état to oust his uncle, the first president of the country. Large celebrations are held in his honor, including lavish meals and cultural programs.

Armed Forces Day. August 3. This holiday commemorates the historic coup led by now President Mbasogo. It also honors the members of the country's military (army, navy, and air force). Most often, this day includes military parades and memorials to its veterans.

Constitution Day.  August 15. The original constitution was drafted and accepted in 1982, identifying the country as a one-party state. The president's term is seven years, and the legislators' terms are for a period of five years. However, in 1991, they added an important referendum to the constitution making the country a multi-party state.

Independence Day. October 12.  This day commemorates Equatorial Guinea's independence from Spain in 1968. They changed their name from Spanish Guinea to Republic of New Guinea, and then again to Equatorial Guinea. One of the key events is the president's address, honoring all of the nation's fallen soldiers. Military parades and cultural displays of music, dance, and art are presented in towns and cities across the country.

Christmas Day. December 25.
Equatoguinean Christians start shopping well in advance, like many other countries do. They decorate their homes for the season in lights, ribbons, and balloons. Christmas Eve is a big night: people attend a special mass, which includes a lot of singing that carries over long after the service is over. People sing and dance their way to the early hours of the morning.  Christmas Day itself is spent visiting family and friends and exchanging gifts and sharing meals.

Traditional music and dance is often incorporated into the holiday celebrations.

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