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Heroes' Day – February 1, 2023

Heroes’ Day is observed on February 1 in Rwanda every year. The day is dedicated to commemorating the lives and patriotic efforts of those who have fought for the country and helped restore peace. The holiday is celebrated in both private and public sectors of the nation with a ceremony in Kigali. The ceremony includes the laying of wreaths, as well as soccer, and concert activities.

History of Heroes' Day

Rwanda is located in Central Africa, landlocked between Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with Kigali as its capital city and a population of 12.6 million people. There are three subgroups in the Rwandan cultural and linguistic group, namely: Tutsi, Twa, and Hutu.

Heroes’ Day in Rwanda is dedicated to commemorate the Rwandan genocide in 1994, where the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda were killed in a plane that was shot down, and hundreds of thousands of Tutsi people were murdered. The day also especially recognizes the students who refused to point out their Tutsi classmates and were killed for it.

There are three categories of heroes celebrated on Rwanda Heroes’ Day: Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi. Imanzi is the category of ultimate heroes whose achievements show sacrifice and example. This category includes soldiers who fell during the liberation struggle and soldiers who fought for the nation. A notable hero in this category is Major General Fred Rwigyema, who died during the liberation struggle in 1990.

The Imena category are heroes known for their great sacrificial acts and examples. Notable in this category is Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the prime minister who was killed shortly after the start of the Rwandan genocide. Finally, the Ingenzi category are the living heroes known for their remarkable achievements and sacrifice for the nation.

Rwandan Heroes’ Day is celebrated with the laying of wreaths, dances, songs, and poems that talk of the bravery of fallen heroes. This is broadcasted on T.V. and radio stations nationwide.

Heroes' Day timeline

1884
The German Colony

Rwanda is colonized by Germany.

1962
An Independent Rwanda

Rwanda gains its independence from Belgium.

1994
Attack on Tutsi

The Genocide against the Tutsi tribe begins.

2021
Rwanda is Growing

Rwanda shows impressive growth in life expectancy and poverty rate.

Heroes' Day FAQs

What is the purpose of Heroes' Day?

This is a day dedicated to remembering and celebrating the people who fought and died for our nation. We owe them for the peace and comfort they fought for, which we now enjoy.

Is Rwanda safe to visit?

Yes. The crime rate is relatively low, so you can feel free to travel there for a visit.

Are there tourist attractions in Rwanda?

Yes, there are. There are historical sites like the Kigali Genocide Memorial, King’s Palace Museum, and Gorilla Guardian Village. There are also natural sites like Volcanoes National Park, Lake Kivu, Akagera National Park, and many other beautiful places to see.

How to Observe Heroes' Day

  1. Read up on Rwanda

    Find out more about Rwanda. Read up on its history and know more about the genocide, why it happened, and the aftermath.

  2. Visit Rwanda

    You can visit Rwanda on Heroes' Day to join the celebrations. You can also visit tourist sites and enjoy the natural splendor surrounding you.

  3. Create awareness

    Let many people know about Rwanda's Heroes' Day. Tell the story to friends and share it on social media.

5 Important Facts About Rwanda

  1. The largest religion

    The largest religion in Rwanda is Christianity.

  2. The seven-year term

    A political term lasts for seven years in Rwanda.

  3. The average population age

    The average age in Rwanda's population is 19

  4. The Kingdom of Rwanda

    Rwanda used to be a kingdom before it was colonized by Germany.

  5. It's small in size

    Rwanda has a land area of 9524,368 square miles.

Why Heroes' Day is Important

  1. We're reminded

    Heroes' Day reminds us of the need to maintain peace and tolerance in our society. War only leads to death and economic breakdown.

  2. We celebrate bravery

    These heroes have shown outstanding acts of courage. These are the acts we admire and celebrate on this day.

  3. We learn from them

    Celebrating the holiday helps us imitate the bravery and courage displayed by these heroes. We also learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure we do not repeat them.

Heroes' Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 1Wednesday
2024February 1Thursday
2025February 1Saturday
2026February 1Sunday
2027February 1Monday
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