Day of the Vow

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The Day of the Vow, or Dingaansdag, was a public and religious holiday in South Africa that is traditionally celebrated on the 16th of December.


On December 16, 1838, during the Great Trek, 470 Voortrekkers were attacked by at least 10,000 to 15,000 Zulus at the Battle of Blood River. In the ensuing victory, only one Voortrekker, Andries Pretorius, was injured. Subsequently, the Voortrekkers prayed and made a daily vow that if God gave them protection, they and their descendants would commemorate that day as a Sabbath, and the glory of victory would be given to God.

Every year on 16 December, a ray of sunshine falls on the granite notch in the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, which symbolizes God's blessing on the Voortrekkers' lives.

In 1995, the African National Congress government replaced the religious holiday with Reconciliation Day. However, some of the Afrikaner population still celebrate the holiday.

The Vow

My brothers and fellow countrymen we stand here now for a moment before a holy God of Heaven and Earth to make a promise to him, if he would give us protection and be with us, and give our enemy into our hands so that we may defeat them we shall pass the day and date each year as an anniversary and a day of Thanksgiving in his honour like a sabbath. And we promise that we shall build a temple to his honour as it shall please him, and that we shall tell this our children so that they may share in this with us to remembrance also for our rising generations so that the glory of his name may be sanctified and the glory and honour of victory shall be given unto him.[1]