Mwaka Kogwa

Mwaka kogwa is a four - day celebration to mark the beginning of the Persian New Year, and is most actively celebrated at Makunduchi, in the south of Zanzibar. The origins of this holiday are Zoroastrian (a Persian religion older than Islam). The day has a distinctive fairground feel to it, with hundreds of people clothed in semblance offancy dress or their best clothes, all out for a days fun and celebration. Some of the events include the burning of a mock - up house and the purifying or cleaning of small temples, which house the effigies of good and evil. There is also the purging of ill - will from both people and the land, to make ready for the New Year. This is imported by furious running battles between group of males, who beat each other with banana stems (in place of the wooden sticks and staves that were traditionally used) In this fighting, everyone gets a chance to clear his grievances and so clear the air as the new year rolls in. As the men fight, the women parade through fields singing songs about life and love. They are dressed in their best clothes and are taunted by the men after the fight is over. The festivities vary from village to village, but Makunduchi is where the biggest event takes place. The holiday is held every year around the third week of July. The dates are based on the Shiraz calendar and coincide with the Persian New Year, called Nairuzim.

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