DestinationsAfricaDemocratic Republic of the CongoIn Fact, the People of Congo Only Enjoy ONE New Year in Life
In Fact, the People of Congo Only Enjoy ONE New Year in Life

In Fact, the People of Congo Only Enjoy ONE New Year in Life

That’s both right and wrong. In Vietnam, people say “Wait until the Congo New Year” to mean something that is very difficult or never completed. So, why do the Vietnamese say that? When will the Congo New Year come? Let’s learn more with The Broad Life!

What Country is Congo?

In fact, there are two countries in the world named Congo: the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Republic of the Congo (République du Congo)

  • Area: 342,000 km2
  • Population: about 5,876,725 (Dec 2022)
The Republic of the Congo area and flag color

The Republic of the Congo is also known as Congo-Brazzaville or simply Congo. The Congo is a sovereign state located in Central Africa, bordered by the five countries of Gabon and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Cameroon to the northwest, and the Central African Republic to the northeast. It is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the east and south, and to the southwest by the Angolan province of Cabinda.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (République Démocratique du Congo)

  • Area: 2.345 million km²
  • Population: about 96,893,265 (Dec 2022)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo area and flag color

The country is commonly abbreviated as DR Congo or DRC. It is a country in Central Africa. The country is also known as Congo-Leopoldville, or Congo-Kinshasa because its Capital is Kinshasa.

This country is the main subject that we want to talk about in this article.

What is the Congo New Year? Do the People Celebrate This Occasion?

Of course, people in these two countries celebrate the new year like any other country in the world.

 A woman greets visitors in a field visit to Mugunga IDP camp near Goma
A woman dances and greets visitors at an occasion. Image source: United Nations Photo on Flickr.

In Congo Brazzaville, people celebrate New Year widely. Every year, on this day, both adults don’t go to work and the children don’t go to school. Families gather, dance, and sing to say goodbye to the old year. In addition to Tet, they also celebrate other major holidays such as Easter and Noel.

Congo Kinshasa also has a new year according to the calendar like many other countries worldwide. However, people must wait many years to see the fireworks once. Indeed, in Congo Kinshasa, the neighboring country that shares a border with Congo Brazzaville and is part of the Francophone community, people have to wait 50 years to see fireworks to celebrate New Year once.

The Reasons Why It Takes So Long for DR Congo New Year

Despite being a large and populous country in Central Africa, Congo Kinshasa, or DR Congo, is the poorest and most backward country in the African continent. For decades, Congo Kinshasa has always been in the top 10 poorest countries in the world.

The cause comes from more than a century of Belgian rule, political crisis, conflict, and transition. Besides that, unemployment, health care, and education have not been invested in, leading to stagnation in economic development.

How Do DRCongolese People Celebrate the New Year?

However, New Year in this country is really a big festival with a joyful atmosphere. After half a century of waiting, the Congolese citizens eagerly decorate their houses and indulge in long parties for three months.

Congolese fans celebrate in the CHAN final between DR Congo and Mali on Sunday
The people of DR Congo celebrate an event.

There are many reasons to explain this one-of-a-kind New Year celebration. Some people think that this is a typical and long-standing culture of Congolese Kinshasa. Others argue that the constant civil war and poverty are barriers forcing people here to patiently “Wait for the Congo New Year”.

Although they do not celebrate New Year yearly, the people of this country still celebrate a number of other important holidays such as National Day (June 30), Father’s Day (August 1), or Youth Day (October 14).

I’m sure that you will want to join at least a holiday celebration there, especially the DR Congo’s New Year. Honestly, joining their next New Year celebration is the activity that’s on top of my bucket list.


congo new year celebration - the broad life pinterest board
celebrate congo new year - the broad life pinterest board

Khoi Nguyen builds The Broad Life with a desire to inspire people go exploring the world and live a more interesting, experience, and adventurous life. This blog shares the stories, pictures, and experiences at destinations where he has traveled to.


  • Alice Mola

    I had no idea about this phenomena or the saying ‘Wait until the Congo New Year’ but this post really informed me! I can’t believe some wait almost 50 years (which is a whole lifetime for some people) to see the fireworks, we had so many here in France. Great post!

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Yeah, the info is truly interesting to many people enjoying the New Year and fireworks every year.

  • Antonia O

    This is very informative. Thank you for teaching me things I didn’t know about The Congo.

  • tweenselmom

    New Year in Congo sounds fun for the people, so nice to know more about their culture and lifestyle!

  • Knycx Journeying

    Wow~ Learned something about Congo while I still have a chance to go to, and fascinating culture, and the new year is truly a great reason for people to celebrate, a new beginning. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Jennifer Prince

    How beautiful! I love how colorful and happy everything is. It seems that the folks in Congo really know how to celebrate life.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Haha, they are. Probably Congo is one of the best places in the world to participate in events.

  • Shilpa Bindlish

    It’s a colorful celebration here at Congo. Nice pictures.

  • Fransic verso

    This is very interesting and I like the colorful celebration. I’ve seen some videos about them but didn’t anything. So, good to know about this country.

  • Anonymous

    This is so interesting. I love discovering how different countries celebrate festivals and the reasoning behind them too.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Yeah, the festivals in African countries are truly attractive, vibrant, and colorful.

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