United Republic of Tanzania (formerly United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar)
List of Public and National Holidays for Tanzania, Africa for the year 2016
INDEPENDENCE: 09 December 1961
TIME: GMT +3 hours
POPULATION: As of 1 January 2016, the population of Tanzania was estimated to be
51 726 028 people
AREA: 945,090 hm2 (886,040 km2 land including Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba Islands; 59,050 km2 water)
CURRENCY: Tanzania shilling (TSh or TZS)
PRESIDENT: President John Magufuli ( since 5th November 2015)
LANGUAGE: Swahili is the official language of Tanzania. It is used in primary education. English is the second official language and the Tanzania’s commercial language as well as the main teaching language for all scientific subjects in secondary schools and higher education institutions.
There are several Swahili dialects, but standard spoken Swahili is based on the language of Zanzibar town. Written Swahili is based on the language spoken on the east African coast. Arabic is widely spoken in the coastal areas, particularly in Zanzibar.
CULTURE: Tanzania has an harmonious national culture, one that is based on a subtle but strong social code of courtesy and respect. Tanzania’s culture is a result of African, Arab, European and Indian influences. The African people of Tanzania represent about 120 tribal groups. The largest groups are of Bantu origin, including Dukuma, Nyamwezi, Makonde, Haya and Chagga. The Maasai are of Nilotic origin, as are the Arusha and the Samburu.
Tanzania is one of the least urbanised countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but traditional African ideals are being deliberately adapted to modern life. The Tanzanians are friendly to foreigners and amongst themselves. Politeness, respect and modesty are also highly valued, so it would be very helpful to learn some Swahili greetings before visiting. Take the time to greet people before you ask them for directions.
Handshakes are very important in social etiquette. Tanzanians frequently continue holding hands throughout a conversation. Tanzanians are very warm and friendly so they will try to talk to you in whatever occasion to practice their English. Yet, be cautious for they may have different motives.
Affection: Public displays of affection are disapproved of. Kissing, holding hands and hugging in the street are unacceptable. Yet friendly affection between members of the same sex is considered perfectly fine, such as holding hands among the same sex. However, homosexuality is not only taboo in Tanzania but is also illegal.
Bargaining: It is common to bargain in the markets and shops but not in supermarkets. Vendors usually raise up the price when they see foreigners coming. Therefore shopping with a local friend who knows the price and the language is a good idea.
Attire: There is no such thing as a dress code in Tanzania. Tanzanians, despite their low income and poor condition, like to appear and dress well. For some areas where Muslims are dominant, women are supposed to wear decent clothes that cover the whole body. Tourists, showing their bare legs and shoulders, and chest are tolerated but not liked in public.
Time: The concept of time in Tanzanian is very different from Western countries. There are 12 hours during the day and 12 hours during the night. The day Swahili time is started when the sun rises, and the night time is started when the sun sets. So 7:00am is 1st hour of the day & 7:00pm is 1st hour of night.