Joining the friends and relatives of thousands of young Zulu maidens attired in traditional Zulu dress to watch them sing, dance and celebrate their culture, is a powerful and moving experience. This annual ceremony, known as the Umkhosi woMhlanga, or the Zulu Reed Dance, is a centuries-old tradition. It takes place in September, right at the start of spring, at the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma, Zululand. Over 30,000 maidens from all over the country arrive in the area for the traditional Zulu festivities. The Reed Dance is also a celebration of the Zulu nation and performs the essential role of unifying nation and the king, who presides over the ceremony.