Uganda Martyrs’ Day Celebrations are held every 3rd June at the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine, Namugongo, Kampala-Uganda. In Uganda, this day is a public holiday, which gives chance to millions of people from near and far to make pilgrimage to this Holy Land.
The Martyrs’ Day celebrations begin with a Novena in various parts of the country especially in places where different Martyrs were either born or killed. The Novena begins from 25th May to 2nd June. The Novena at Namugongo is also attended by pilgrims from neighbouring countries like; Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and from some other continents.
Many of these pilgrims, young and old, walk miles and miles from their home areas up to Namugongo as a sign of honour to the Martyrs who shed their blood for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pilgrims also spend weeks on this long journey trying to invoke the Uganda Martyrs to intercede for them in overcoming their problems. These, indeed have often testified Martyrs’ positive reaction to their prayers as they get salvaged from their bonds.
In preparation for Uganda Martyrs Day, not only pilgrims or faithful flock to the place, business people as well come to Namugongo in big numbers to sell foodstuffs and other merchandise to fellow business people and to pilgrims. This makes the numbers shoot high not only at Namugongo but even in the neighbouring trading centres.
The climax is the celebrations of a Pontifical High Mass on 3rd June. The liturgy celebrations are organized by various dioceses, year after the other. Mass begins at 10 (East African Standard Time) with processions accompanied by liturgical dances organized by the leading diocese. Important persons from Uganda government, embassies and other countries usually attend the celebrations. The security is always beefed up by police and the army. This makes the celebrations very peaceful despite the big numbers (millions) that turn up for the celebrations