There are more than 20 annual traditional ceremonies in Zambia, showcasing its customs, social life, rituals, oral history and spiritual culture. If you have the opportunity to attend one, do. They provide a valuable insight to a traditional culture that has been passed down from generation to generation.

The decline of traditional customs and culture has been brought about by the infiltration of the west and adoption of western ways and the melting pot of various tribes living in the same areas. There has recently been a realisation of the value of traditions and a conscious effort is being made to preserve them.

Most of the ceremonies have a deep meaning, in many cases designed to invoke memories of the transformation from childhood to adulthood. Most tribes in rural areas still practise harmless initiation ceremonies for girls that are generally conducted after puberty. They are intended to help the girls make the transition from childhood to womanhood and prepare them for marriage. Only a few tribes still practise male circumcision initiation ceremonies and those that do occur happen in total secrecy.

The open ceremonies that visitors can watch are those that signify ancient times, when new kingdoms were being founded by ancient chiefs and are usually splendid, colourful affairs with much symbolism in their dancing and drumming.