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Cultural Festivals in Gambia
 

Zimba danceThere are a number of Gambian festivals which have either been part of traditional society or have in modern times been recently created.  Some are agricultural in origin having there roots in the land while others are related to the sky above such as the rainmaking festivals involving the women of the village.

There is general consensus of the potential for festivals to communicate or affirm the values of Gambia's society and strengthen the bonds between its members. Such gatherings provide a forum to release pent-up social tensions and an escape from the daily grind of everyday life.

There are other types of ceremonies not covered in this section. These range from elaborate inauguration ceremonies of Ngansinba - female leader associated with initiation cult ceremonies.

Whilst there is growth in multi-ethnic expressions, the quest for the Gambia's groups to reaffirm their identities remains. The recent rekindling of celebrations of constituent festivals in Janjangbureh. Dankunku (Maribantang Cultural Festival), Banjul Demba Festival, and the Gambian-African Festival at Kanilai confirms a cultural revival with specific claims and identities.

Because Africa is now more exposed more than ever to external influences and in particular globalization. As well as changes in the physical markets Gambians are also exposed to an onslaught on the cultural sphere. Today more and more young people are listening to foreign, imported music and are adopting foreign fashions than ever before.

The challenge is now for cultural institutions, scholars and champions to identify some of the changes that are taking place and define the implications these will have for the future. They must establish how Gambians could revive and retain their cultural traditions for the benefit of all people.

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