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Rwanda, A Good Place to Be A Believer

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
3:26 pm

The Feast of Holy Sacrament-Christians in Musanze attend in mass the walk

Hundred thousands of Christians in Rwanda, since Thursday started a celebration weekend in memory of redemption path, especially the death and resurrection of the man they believe to be their Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The days correspond to the Last Supper or Holy Thursday when Jesus is believed to have shared the last meal with twelve disciples, the Holy Friday when he was crucified, persecuted with all evil before dying on the cross and Holy Saturday, a  Christian religious observance that ends the Lenten season. The observance commemorates the final day of Christ’s death, which many Christians traditionally associate with his triumphant descent into hell or “to the dead”.

Huge Gathering for the Holy Sacrament proceedings in Musanze

The weekend culminates into the celebration of Easter on Sunday, which corresponds to Jesus’s victory over death.

The Holy Friday, as well as Easter are national days which means, that the country gives a holiday to every person working in formal sector.

Rwanda is a secular republic, says the constitution, and by definition, a secular republic is one that is characterized by a separation between government and religion. Above all, it means to avoid the trappings of theocracy in all its variations.

To some, this might sound that Rwanda pays no attention to believers and do not care about what they do, but that thinking could mislead an audience, until they proceed with other articles of the constitution.

The constitution provides that Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, worship and public manifestation thereof is guaranteed by the State in accordance with the law.

With this in mind, churches in Rwanda prepare a wide range of events, some on national calendar like the two already mentioned, then Christmas, Assumption, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and many more.

Pilgrims in Kibeho

The country gives these events great importance such that they believe that they even deserve a second day off.

This is the case of Easter Monday which comes after Easter, and Boxing Day, which is a day after Christmas.

There are several other events in between, which have become popular, and have gained respect across many religions. Those may include Ashes Day, Pentecost, Palm Sunday, The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament and All Saints’ Day.

Ramadhan for the Muslims and Lent for the Roman Catholics are 40 days prayer and Fasting which have also become very important in Rwandan society.

A muslim breaking the fast

In Rwanda, it was not common for a referee to stop a football match to allow Muslim players to break the fast until recently when a referee did it at Nyamirambo regional stadium. Everyone would agree that the gesture is important and normal in a society which respects the rights to religion.

Some purely local events have even started to attract international pilgrims, and those include Kibeho Apparitions Anniversary and the Healing Service -Ruhango ‘Kwa Yezu Nyirimpuhwe”.

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