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Time to Dance - It's Harvest Time
13 Nov 2011 01:11 AM
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Time to Dance - It's Harvest Time
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The Jie Karamoja, found in North Eastern Uganda, are people still in touch with their culture. One of the traditional festivities is the edonga achemchem, a dance that precedes any harvest season. And now its harvest season in Karamoja.

As the sun disappears behind the plains, they converge at the chosen venue. They untie the stripped shawls from their necks, wrap them around the waists, firmly roll up the top of the wrapper, with the hem drawn upwards just above the knees. The colored, beaded plastic bracelets hug their biceps, bead necklace hover around their necks, aluminum earrings dangle from their ears. The youth at the prime of their life are now ready for edonga achemchem, a traditional dance held in honour of Narionobwo, the god of the harvest. Children hold their mouth in amusement, middle-aged look on with nostalgia and the elderly sit and watch in meditation format.

Dancers engage in rigorous circle dances, hands placed close to the chest, stamping the ground with the feet while twisting the waists. They bend over for a moment, then suddenly leap straight up to the sky in characteristic rhythm.  Girl dancers form a separate ring inside the boys' ring.

This festival dance is a thanksgiving ceremony to Narionobwo for the new harvest and also to ask her to bless the seeds that will be stored for the next planting season. It's also a chance for courtship and a time to identify potential suitors for marriage.


Follow Hillary Muheebwa, our Kampala-based editor, journalist and documentary producer, on Twitter or visit his site:

Filed in: Latest
Updated: 13 Nov 2011 01:12 AM
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