Moonlight Festival

The Moonlight Festival is a traditional ritual in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, it’s as prestigious as it is traditional and deeply rooted in our rich culture. Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom is the oldest kingdom in Uganda.

The Festival is performed for 9 days, every month. This is held during what is deemed the moon time.

Throughout the festival, the Omukama of Bunyoro Kingdom sits on his royal throne for the celebratory 9 days. During this period, he treats his guests to sumptuous dinner. People drink tonto (banana brew). They have specific kinds of food they are supposed to eat. These include; millet, cow meet, matooke and goat’s meat. They also take a lot of milk and esabwe. It’s a period of celebrations and performing different rituals. Bunyoro Kingdom boosts of 52 clans and each clan has a specific duty it does in the kingdom during the Moonlight Festival.

The royal trumpeters, who are called Amakondere, blow their trumpets beautifully throughout the 9 days, from the palace. Every hour that ticks by, the royal drummers thump and play the royal drums. These, and more rituals, are performed to keep the kingdom in high esteem.

People who are allowed to be in the palace

During the Moonlight Festival, the palace is always out of bounds except for a certain section of people. Other people remain in their respective places of residences. People who are allowed to be in the palace include;

The Abebikwato: These people are the ones that clean the ritual regalia. They clean the regalia with only herbs and cow ghee. During the festival, Abebikwato are allowed to be in the palace and take care of the regalia.

Abarusuura: These are the royal guards. They are allowed to stay in the palace during the Moonlight Festival to provide peace, order and protect the palace.

Ababogora: These are special people chosen to carry the king’s luggage. Their role is to simply carry the luggage of the king which gives them access to the palace during the festival.

Abaranga: These are women who perform for the king. They are entertainers of the kingdom. Their role is to perform for the king during the Moonlight Festival.

. Traditional herbalists are also allowed to be in the palace during the Moonlight Festival.