Thursday, December 9, 2010

Traditions in Kenya

There are many different types of traditions and customs practiced by the different communities in Kenya.

Christmas in Kenya

Photo credit: Kirsty Mclullich

Christmas Decorations, Mombasa, Kenya.
Merry Christmas
Photo credit: Jeita's album

Christmas is widely celebrated by all countries around the world, and it is a joyous and memorable time for everyone. In Kenya, Christmas is the busiest period of the year as believers and non-believers alike celebrate in different ways. For the Christians in Kenya, preparations start as early as October. In the pastoral communities, poultry, sheep and goats are chosen as early as September and reared specifically to be slaughtered on this occasion.

Christmas is a family affair in Kenya. All members of the family will get together on this festive occasion to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal. Their Christmas  meal is usually barbecue, having Nyama Choma(roast goat meat) and Tuskers Beer as the flavour of the season. (Kenya Christmas)

Nyama Choma!

Photo credit: Google

On Christmas eve, Christians gather in churches for Christmas carols. The church youth groups will present concerts on the birth of Christ whereas different church groups will recite poems and biblical verses. When the night strike 12, the pastor and the church deacons will pray as they release the youth groups which will go around villages(boma) singing and dancing to announce the birth of Christ. They collect gifts for the new born presented to them in all forms such as reared animals, farm harvest or money.

As the group goes around, they will be joined by the others and the number grows big such that they sometime divide and take different routes. This process is a vital spectacular and will be the most memorable part of being a Christian youth. The groups will go around the 'bomas' till dawn when they will part. (A happy jumble)

Christmas day service was brief and family celebrations begins.

Wedding Traditions

Kenya have many tribes and communities, therefore she is very rich in different wedding traditions. An old Afican proverb says, "A man without wife is like a vase without flowers." In kenya, wedding is a family affair and involve the combination of two lives, two families and sometimes two communities. In all the communities, the bride plays a special role and is treated with respect because she is the link between the unborn and the ancestors. (Africa guide)

Maasai tribe: In massai tribe, marriage women are given to a man they do not know and who is much older then themselves. The bride will dressed in her finest jewelry with beads of every color. Before the bride leaves, the father of the bribe spits on her head and breasts as a form of blessing. The bride will then leaves with her husband. When walking to her new home, she never looks back fearing that she will turn to stone. To ward off bad lucks, the women of the groom family will insults the bride. Upon reaching the new house, the bride will not enter until she is satisfied with the gifts her new family offers.(Marriage rituals)

Photo credit: Emily

Masai wedding procession

Photo credit: expound

Bride's father blesses his daughter.
masai wedding
Photo credit: Mislav Popovic

Swahili: The bride will be bathe in sandalwood oils and apply henna tattoos on her limbs. A women elder, also known as somo, will gives instructions to the bride on how to please her husband. It may sound weird, but the somo will sometimes hide under the bed just in case there are any problems.

The picture shows the bride getting her henna done.
henna tattoos
Photo credit: Mislav Popovic

In kenya, the main feature of the wedding is the kupamba, which happens the night after the wedding. This is a ceremony that display the bride. It is a party just for the women, where they are able to take off their large veils and show off elaborate hairstyles and dresses. This party is also a competition because a women with a good husband will get her beautiful jewelry, clothes, and whatever she wants.

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