Rwanda and Seychelles – united in celebrating Assumption Day

TWO COUNTRIES 1.500 MILES APART – UNITED IN CELEBRATING ASSUMPTION DAY

(Posted 15th August 2014)

While in a few hours the Feast of Assumption will go underway on the island of La Digue / Seychelles, reported here in previous articles, will equally, some 1.500 miles distant, the Rwandan Catholics assemble in Kibeho, a small town in the rural part of the country, where over 30 years ago the apparition of Mary, Mother of Jesus was repeatedly seen, a fact acknowledged by the Vatican after extensive investigations.

This year some 40.000 + pilgrims are expected in Kibeho, most from within Rwanda but also many from the region, from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi – the border is not far off – and as far as the United States according to information received from regular tourism sources.

It was a year ago that the Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Department launched a religious pilgrimage option for visitors to the country and several tour groups have visited since then from as far as Goa, a predominantly Catholic part of India.

The main day of commemoration and celebration, when the most pilgrims flock to the site where Mary appeared, is on the 15th of August, when Assumption Day is remembered, the day when Mary ascended to heaven according to the scriptures. (http://kibeho-sanctuary.com/index.php/en/news/kibeho-news)

For Rwanda is this day as important and a main event, as is Martyrs Day for neighbouring Uganda. .

Both Rwanda and the Seychelles, while very distant African countries, rely hugely on tourism incomes and festivals of this sort help to attract visitors to the respective sites, Kibeho in Rwanda and La Digue in the Seychelles. Most visitors from within Rwanda travelled to the site in convoys of busses, though many pilgrims walked long distances, and in the Seychelles it is an armada of private boats, yachts and of course the high speed Cat Cocos ferries which take pilgrims and spectators from the main island of Mahe, and the second island of Praslin to La Digue.

On behalf of the entire eTN team I wish all those pilgrims in the two countries safe journeys and safe returns to their homes. For added information on Rwanda click on www.rwandatourism.com and about the Seychelles islands on www.seychelles.travel

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