Women carry their reeds during a procession following the chief princess.

Reed Dance also reinforces a sense of solidarity among the female dancers, as they work together to perform for royalty and spectators. It’s a time of celebration for the rite of passage to womanhood, as they select reeds (which is why it’s called a reed dance) and form a procession behind the chief princess. In Zulu mythology, the ancestors came from a reed bed, so the entire display is of enormous significance as a symbolic representation of nature’s power. The reed selection also has an additional cultural factor since in mythic terms, the reed remains intact only if the dancer is chaste. The dramatic effect is intense. Imagine the embarrassment if the reed were to break, indicating lost innocence, because the Zulu princess is the first one to select the reed and the one to lay the reed at the king’s feet. The entertainment continues until the king joins the dancing.



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