Nyama Choma is roasted plain and brought to the table sliced into bite-sized chunks. It is also mainly accompanied with a side dish of mashed vegetables or Kachumbari which is a mixture of raw tomatoes, onions and green or red pepper. Ugali refers to dough made from a mixture of maize corn flour and boiled water.
Most Kenyans eat this meal on a daily basis together with various accompanying dishes such as stews, chopped kales and spinach, and meat. This is a simple and inexpensive Kenyan dish that is mostly taken together with ugali. It comprises or kales and spinach chopped into small bits and pieces that are fried with tomatoes, onions, green pepper, and meat. Kenya features many festivals and celebrations all over the country with some more famous than others.
Below is a list of three major festivals that are famous and big enough to steal the limelight today:. The various communities display their unique cultural dances, dressing, and food that highlight their rich cultures. Located on the north coast of Kenya, Lamu is an island that is one of the major abodes of the Swahili people.
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Considered the most famous cultural festival, this annual week-long festival involves the culmination of various captivating races and competitions. Above all the Lamu festival is a celebration of the culture and beliefs that make up the soul and heart of the Lamu community. Events devised to foster local practices and skills include Swahili poetry, Bao competition, and Henna painting. Other notable competitions include dhow racing, swimming competition, and donkey racing.
Most people will fall in love with the cool, laidback and peaceful atmosphere of Lamu.
Culture of Kenya
Above all, they get to experience the joyous and exuberant life of the people and their sumptuous cuisine of Kenyan Coastal region. Maralal a dusty and sleepy town located in the North Rift region of Kenya roars alive every once a year during the iconic Maralal Camel Derby. It is an eccentric and electrifying race that sees some of the finest and fastest camels in the region paraded on the touchline.
The race begins at the center of the town where competitors are flagged off by local dignitaries. It is often a time often highlighted by funny experiences as excited camels often decide to go in the opposite direction when the green light is given as others take the course at a breakneck speed.
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The Maralal camel derby is not just a competition but also an exciting social festival that brings the desert town of Maralal to life. Kenyan People Kenya is a heterogeneous country ethnicity wise. Religion Kenyan people practice different religions due to the fact that the Kenyan constitution allows for freedom of worship.
Cultural practices of Kenya
Thus, traditional cultures in Kenya attached great importance to the qualities of good leadership. This is in spite of the fact that almost all these cultures did not have centralized systems of government. At whatever level of leadership, whether as individuals or members of councils of elders, the leaders had to possess certain qualities that were acceptable to the people as characteristics of good leadership.
These qualities included seniority in age, wealth, reputation as a warrior and other characteristics of leadership. Seniority in age was considered to be important because old age was associated with wisdom. Wisdom was considered important because one of the main responsibilities of any leader was the settlement of disputes. A leader who did not have this quality, therefore, would have been at a disadvantage.
Wealth bestowed prestige and influence on an individual. But, more importantly, it enabled the individual to offer hospitality to his people, give loans to his relatives and organize feasts for the community. It was recognized that once in a while, there would be people in the community who would need assistance from the leaders, especially in the form of food.
Wealth was, therefore, measured in terms of livestock for the pastoralists, grain for the agriculturalists, and both livestock and grain for mixed farmers. Success in warfare served as a means of gaining wealth, and also bestowed prestige on the individual. In addition, the more successful the warrior, the more prestige he acquired among his people. It is therefore not surprising that reputation as a warrior was considered a good quality of leadership. Finally, for one to become a leader, one had to possess certain qualities.
A Glimpse of Kenyan Culture, Customs, Food, and Festivals
This brief presentation demonstrates that the traditional cultures of Kenya valued marriage, respect for human life, morality, respect for people's property, and good leadership. These values provided the moral code for the people to follow. Marriage was valued because it provided people with the institution for procreation and the perpetuation of one's lineage.
It also had the social value of bestowing respect and honour on a person. Marriage was, therefore, serious business unlike now where many people just marry for convenience. Traditionally, people were socialized never to take someone's life in vain. The only killing that was permitted was that of an enemy.
Today, the media is full of stories of people killing others for very minor reasons. For example, people kill others over a ten-shilling debt! What has gone wrong? Morality and respect for other people's property both have to do with honesty and righteousness. That is why traditional cultures in Kenya socialized their children to embrace moral values.
People were taught that stealing was a sign of dishonesty, and right from childhood, thieves were severely punished. Today, white-collar thieves go scot-free to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth. Finally, traditional cultures recognized the value of wealth as one of the basic ingredients of good leadership. Thus, unless one was wealthy, one did not stand the chance of becoming a leader. In Kenya today, many people vie for positions of leadership in order to acquire wealth. This is obviously the reason why many of our leaders get involved in corrupt deals left and right.
Instructor's edition. Englewood Cliffs, N. The Bantu of Western Kenya. London: Oxford University Press, , p. The Southern Kikuyu before , Vol. London: Academic Press, , p.
Ethnology of Akamba and other East African tribes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The organization and laws of some Bantu tribes of East Africa. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya, Akong'a, ed. District socio-cultural profiles report: Baringo District draft report. Unpublished document.
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It is also the norm to find parents of the husband coming to live with their nuclear family once they are old and can no longer take care of themselves. Kenyans are hospitable and friendly people regardless of their ethnic affiliation. Traditional customs and etiquette is very important when it comes to business and social interactions. Kenyan customs and etiquette is mainly manifested in how old people are treated with reverence and respect, during meals, communication style, meeting and greeting and gift giving.
Kenyans are very conservative people who will rarely engage in direct or frank conversation.
In an attempt to save face and preserve relationships Kenyans will always try to pass their message in a clever way so as not to offend the other party. In a culture whereby maintaining dignity and honor is of paramount importance, Kenyans would rather give an expected response rather than that which is sure to embarrass the other party.
If you come from a culture that values direct talk and forwardness, you may wish to put your delivery style to moderation. It is also important to maintain eye contact during a conversation in order to build trust. Gift giving is a normal practice among the Kenyan people. It is mainly practiced during important social and religious events.
It is also customary for people to give gifts to servants, service workers, and tradespeople during Christmas. In case you are invited for supper in a Kenyan home, it is a good gesture to carry along sweets, pastries, and flowers for your hostess. In rural areas however it is common practice to carry along tea leaves, foodstuffs, and sugar.
Gifts should however never be handed out using the left hand as this is considered rude for the host. The most common greeting among the Kenyan people is the handshake although it not uncommon to find close female friends hugging and kissing one another on the cheeks instead of shaking hands. Skipping this protocol is considered the height of bad manners among the Kenyan people. The rich ethnic diversity in Kenya means that the cuisine among the various ethnic groups is varied and represents the different lifestyles they lead.
The people from the coastal region of Kenya have however come up with a distinct cuisine that has Indian, African and Arabian influences. Coconuts and spices are used heavily in the myriad coastal dishes. Nyama Choma refers to charcoal grilled or roasted beef or goat meat. The fact that the meat is however not softened and the only seasoning includes lemon juice, salt, and pepper help to give it a distinctively dry and chewy texture. Nyama Choma is roasted plain and brought to the table sliced into bite-sized chunks.