Buganu Festivals

Buganu Festivals

ENTC ADMIN ENTC ADMIN April 26, 2022 2 Comments Culture

Marula Festival

The cheerful, friendly Swati people have preserved their rich culture and traditions as a vital element in their day-to-day lives and colourful ceremonies are held every year to celebrate Swati traditions. The Swati people are united by culture and values; and the Marula or Buganu Festival, also locally known as ‘Emaganwini’, is one of them. Such events have kept this one tribe nation united and inseparable, making it the unique destination that it is.

The Swatis are united in song and dance during this festival, particularly women some of whom actually brew the marula beer. It’s all about dancing and celebrating the provision of the fruit that is not only used for the beer but also for different purposes such as production of skin care products.

The Buganu Festival in Eswatini

The Marula season usually begins each year in mid February and continues until May, bringing with it a celebration of the harvest of the marula fruit. Once the green fruits fall to the ground, women and children gather and store them until they ripen to a creamy yellow colour. The fruits are then placed in water, sugar is added to allow fermentation which is then distilled into a beer. This potent alcoholic mixture is called marula beer or buganu.

The Kingdom of Eswatini celebrates the start of the Marula season with the annual Buganu festival. The festival is increasing in popularity, and swiftly becoming one of the country’s most exciting traditional ceremonies. Each year King Mswati III and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, the Queen Mother, make their way to various regions of the Kingdom to celebrate the beginning of the Marula Season.

The largest of these festivals is held at the royal residence at Ebuhleni where the royal family join the nation in song and dance. Although the Marula Fruit is found widely throughout Africa, it is most popular in Eswatini. Seen by the Swati nation as much more than a food source, the Marula is rather regarded as a magical healing ingredient, with huge fertility properties. The King and Queen Mother are presented with Marula gifts and some Marula beer. Only after the royal family has had some of the beer, is the rest of the nation permitted to join in and drink as well.

Because of its many uses, the marula fruit is no longer just used to brew beer in Eswatini. It has further developed into production of beauty products as part of Her Majesty, The Indlovukazi’s job creation and poverty alleviation initiatives for rural women in Eswatini. Several families in Eswatini have benefited from this initiative.

The beauty products are manufactured under a company called Swati Secrets. A well fitting name for the secret of the marula fruit. These products also come in hotel packages and gift packages.

Marula Quick Facts

  •  Marula  fruit contains four times more valuable vitamin C than oranges.
  •  Marula edible seed oil is rich in nutritious proteins and minerals and contains active anti-oxidants.
  •  Marula essential oils an effective skin conditioner. Its cosmetic and anti-oxidant properties soften, soothe and re-hydrate the skin while fighting free radicals.
  • Marula legends abound –  from its use as a food source, magical qualities as a healing ingredient, to its virility and fertility properties, as well as the many uses of its bark, leaves, fruit, nut and kernels.

Buganu Festival Schedule

  • On the first day, the Queen Mother arrives at Buhleni Royal Residence, and the women of the area present bucket-loads of marula fruit harvested over the last week.  All the women are dressed in traditional attire; praise and thanks are given as a sign of respect.
  •  On the second day, the main day, the King usually joins the Queen Mother and the Marula brew – Buganu – is presented to their majesties, who partake of the brew and declare the season open.  This is celebrated by song and dance, specific to the occasion.
  •  Following this, marula brew, buganu, is officially blessed and may be consumed across the country.
  •  A second event of similar rituals is held at His Majesty’s Hlane Royal Residence.

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