All young maidens from every part of the country gather to take part in the Reed Dance.
Most of the participants are teenagers.
Umhlanga usually takes place in late August or early September.
The maidens pay respect to the Queen Mother.
At the ceremony the girls wear short beaded skirts with ankle bracelets and jewellery with colorful sashes.
The women sing and dance as they parade in front of the royal family as well as a crowd of spectators, tourists and foreign dignitaries.
After the parade, groups from select villages take to the center of the field and put on a special performance for the crowd.
The King's many daughters also participate in the Umhlanga ceremony and are distinguished by the crown of red feathers in their hair.
Usually the king chooses his wife at the reed dance ceremony from among the participants.