Are you the type that gets excited at national holidays like Braai day? Does the idea of having a good time and indulging in tasty meat excite you? Did you know that there is more to it than the fun that the holiday comes with? How about getting more informed on the significance of this ceremony?
Braai Day is a South African National holiday that is marked in September every year. The ceremony involves engaging in fun-filled activities that bring people together. Feeding on Braai has for the longest time been the symbol of the holiday. There, however, are more details about it that would come in handy in understanding it better.
What is Heritage Day, and why do we celebrate it?
Heritage Day, popularly known as Braai Day, is a public holiday that is commemorated on 24th September every year. The holiday traces its roots back to KwaZulu Natal where it was marked as Shaka Day.
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You might want to stop and ask, where does National Braai day originate from? The public holiday is presumed to have been set in remembrance of the death of King Shaka of the Zulu community. He is believed to have died on 24th September 1828. The king played a significant role in uniting the different clans of the Zulu community.
Where does National Braai Day originate from?
National Braai Day was an initiative that was brought into existence in 2005 by Jan Braai. The concept aimed at bringing different people from different cultures together and have them sit around a braai fire. This explains why people sit around the fire and eat meat on this occasion.
On 5th September 2007, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became the country's spokesperson of the event. Speaking about the importance of the event, Archbishop Desmond Tutu insisted that the ceremony was geared at bringing people from the different communities together.
Later that year, the ceremony was endorsed by the National Heritage Council of South Africa. On this day, it adopted a new name, Braai4Heritage.
Why do we braai on Heritage Day?
This is one question that most people ask when trying to draw the relationship between the intent of the national holiday and how it is celebrated. The 24 September public holiday is a unifying factor for the different cultures. According to Jan Braai, the man who came up with the idea of the national braai concept, making food over a fire was a practice that would bring people together.
The idea was backed up by Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he stated:
There are so many things that are pulling us apart, and “this has a wonderful potential to bring us all together…. We have 11 different official languages but only one word for the wonderful institution of braai: in Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, whatever.
The controversy involving rebranding of Braai day South Africa
Rebranding the 24 September holiday has caused a couple of controversies in the country. There is a group of individuals who do not support the idea claiming that celebrating the country's heritage does not go hand in hand with the celebrations that take place on that occasion. In a comment, one of those opposing the idea stated:
I don’t feel that it takes anything from Heritage Day because you do get everything of the culture from the food that you eat and you have fun as well.
Celebrating South African cultural heritage and not braais
One, Asanda Ngoasheng expressed his views on the issue regarding rebranding stating South African culture was being celebrated all over the world. He went further to state:
It should therefore not be a surprise when people from such cultures in South Africa don’t see the point behind Heritage Day. If your heritage is celebrated every day then you won’t see a need to dedicate a day to acknowledge and celebrate heritage.
Even though controversies are expressing different opinions about the ceremony, none of them is against the goal of the holiday, celebrating South African cultural heritage.
How Braai day is celebrated in South Africa
The holiday is marked by people cooking meat on an open flame. As the meat cooks, people sit around the fire and interact. The ceremony aims at bringing people together and sharing the meal.
Braai day images
These images are proof that the ceremony serves its purpose.
The ceremony involves having fun by binging on a couple of bottles of drinks.
Braai is the main dish that people feast on during this event.
South Africans embrace the country's cultural diversity.
In case you missed out the hype that 2019's Braai Day brought along, be sure to prepare for next years. You cannot afford to miss the fun that the national holiday carries.