Notable Dates - Guatemala

Zambia celebrates New Year’s Eve and 1 January each year in a very diverse manner. It is family, religious, and socially oriented all at the same time.

There are big public events, often at major malls, where pop singers perform and fireworks culminate the evening. Some people may also spend the night wandering from night club to night club or bar to bar to drink the new year in. But many also choose to attend church for “cross over services” to carry them from the old year to the new one.

Families invariably gather together to celebrate and have barbecues, and they often go on short outings together as well. Kids like to set off fireworks, which is tolerated this time of year by the adults.

International Women’s Day in Zambia is held every 8 March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It is also a day used to highlight ongoing gender inequality and to call for further change. as in a number of other African nations, International Women’s Day is a major holiday that is taken very seriously by the people.

Every year, there is a grand parade in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, for Women’s Day. The parade often is very colourful and exciting, with gymnastics moves made by some women in the march.

Many companies have bands of women who take part in the parade to show the company’s solidarity with women’s rights’ goals. March 9, the day after the International Women's Day, has been declared a public holiday in Zambia.

Zambia celebrates Youth Day every 12 March to remember the contribution of the nation’s youth to Zambian society. Zambia has a very large youth population, and many of them live in dire poverty. Thus, there is also a focus on helping youth overcome economic and social obstacles on Youth Day in Zambia.

Many government and social action organisations will organise youth events like marches, sports matches and numerous other activities. There will also be many speeches and calls for political action to help the nation’s youth.

Zambia is not alone in having a special youth day. The UN International Youth Day is on 12 August and is celebrated in numerous countries in Africa and worldwide. But Zambians show a special emphasis on this day and typically see highly motivated young people from all walks of life participating and engaging in social and political causes on their Youth Day.

Every year, Youth Day in Zambia has a different theme designed to connect to the times and challenge youth to rise above their circumstances. And every year, droves of young people flood the streets in parades and all manner of other youth-focused events.

Easter is a major holiday period in Zambia, with three public holidays provided to give Zambians time for church and family activities. The three public holidays are on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Monday.

The festivities are largely centred at church services and in the home, though there are some public events here and there. Easter is certainly far less commercialised here than in the West.

The celebrations open on Palm Sunday, the final Sunday of Lent. People carry palm fronds, which they take to symbolise “peace and victory,” and re-enact the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. There is much singing and dancing during Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and in between.

The Easter Sunday service and the family meal following are the “main events”. The focus is on remembering the true meaning of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead and on spending time with family and loved ones in simple but jubilant get-togethers.

Holy Saturday the Saturday of Holy Week, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus' body lay in the tomb and the Harrowing of Hell.

Easter is a major holiday period in Zambia, with three public holidays provided to give Zambians time for church and family activities. The three public holidays are on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Monday.

International Labour Day is observed on 1 May in Zambia. It is considered an important holiday in Zambia and gets a lot of media attention each year.

From the beginning, Labour Day has been all about workers’ rights and economic development. It continues to be so in modern Zambia. Labour unions and government agencies alike take part in annual Labour Day marches in the capital city of Lusaka. They will march in the vicinity of The Freedom Statue, and there will be speeches and awards given out by Zambia’s president. But aside from political and big labour matters, the holiday also has its more domestic side. It is a day for a large family meal, a day out on the town, or time spent out of doors in the pleasant climate. For some, it may be a prime opportunity to catch up on some much-needed sleep!

Africa Day is a holiday in Zambia and some other African nations every 25 May. The day celebrates the founding of what is today called the African Union, but originally was called the Organisation for African Unity, which was founded on 25 May 1963.
In Zambia, Africa Day is the occasion of major celebration. A stately wreath laying ceremony is held in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, where the president and other high-ranking officials lay down a wreath on the Freedom Statue, a symbol of the sacrifice of Zambia’s people who fought and died to liberate the country from British colonial rule.
Zambia was one of the earliest nations on the African continent to gain full independence, and it has been a leader in African unity movements from that day till this.

Every first Monday of July, Zambia celebrates Heroes’ Day to remember those who fought, and sometimes died, in the struggle for Zambian independence. However, in more recent years, the list of national heroes and heroines has been expanded to include people from all walks of life who have contributed heroically to the nation’s advancement. bronze statue in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, visualises the meaning of Heroes’ Day. A man with no shirt and no shoes holds up the two broken ends of a chain of slavery he has ripped apart with his hands. This “chain” was broken in 1964, when Zambia won its independence from the British Empire.

There are sombre, patriotic ceremonies on this day, and there is some patriotic fervour. But many Zambians today forget the reason for the day and see Heroes’ Day as simply a day off from work.

In Zambia, Unity Day is a public holiday normally celebrated on the first Tuesday of July. Thus, it always falls on the day after Heroes’ Day, another Zambian patriotic holiday. The purpose of Unity Day is to encourage national unity among the 70-plus ethnic groups that make up the Zambian people. There is no single dominant ethnic group in Zambia, but there are nine major groups that make up the majority of the population. And there is also much linguistic, cultural, and religious diversity as well.

The very first president of Zambia, Ken Kaunda, first spoke the quote that is used as the Unity Day slogan: “One Zambia; One Nation!” As both Heroes’ Day and Unity Day are off-work days for Zambia’s people, they celebrate their national heritage and identity on two consecutive days every July.

On Unity Day, there are many government officials giving patriotic speeches, including one by the sitting president, who will urge the diverse people groups of Zambia to stand strong as one united nation. The president will remind them how the whole nation came together as one man to win the difficult struggle for independence from Britain and encourage them to continue in that spirit in the days and years ahead.

Every first Monday of August is “Farmers’ Day” in Zambia. It’s a day on which the great importance of agriculture to Zambia’s economy gains public recognition.

Around 85 percent of Zambian workers are farmers, plantation workers, or cattle men. The country is immensely dependent on the food, coffee, tobacco, cotton, and other agricultural products it produces, both for export and local consumption. Farmers’ Day is a chance when the workers get a chance to relax a little and celebrate. The weekend before Farmers’ Day Monday is full of special events.

National Day of Prayer and Fasting, or “Prayer Day” for short, is a public holiday in Zambia. The holiday takes place on 18 October, but some will fast and pray for a full 40 days leading up to the holiday itself, which then becomes the crescendo of a more than month-long “concert of prayer”. Zambians gather in large numbers at their local churches or other centres where prayer services take place on Prayer Day. They will pray for the future of the nation and for peace and reconciliation among families, ethnic groups, rich and poor, and at-odds political parties.

Each year, there is a different official theme for Prayer Day, bringing a degree of unity to the prayers of people of various denominations and religious persuasions.

Independence Day comes every 24 October in Zambia, the day it escaped out from under British rule back in 1964. The main event is a huge patriotic parade held in Lusaka, the capital city, but smaller events take place all over the country.

Christmas in Zambia is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28-day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.