The richness of Kenya culture and traditions

By Jenna Jolie

Kenya culture and traditions: The equator-crossing nation of Kenya is well-known for being in East Africa. Along with a stunning environment, the richness of Kenya culture also piques visitors' curiosity.

5 Fascinating Facts About Kenya Culture, Customs And Traditions

KENYA is what many people think of when they hear the word “Africa.” Others view Kenya as the epitome of Africa—the land of Maasai warriors, untamed animals, and safaris. Moreover, Kenya is a nation with a wide range of cultures and ethnicities, as well as distinct and evolving cultural traditions. The Kenya customs and traditions of every ethnic group cannot be described in detail for a variety of reasons. One is the diversity of people.

  • Various interesting Kenya culture make up a multilingual system

KENYA is a country with great diversity. People and cultures from East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have interacted in Kenya for hundreds of years. The diverse geography makes not only Kenya culture but also Kenya linguistics. Tribal African languages compose the majority of these, with a small number of Middle Eastern and Asian languages. A multilingual nation, Kenya is home to immigrants' offspring (for example Arabic, Hindi, etc).

62 languages are spoken in the nation, even though Swahili and English are their official languages. The three language families that makeup Kenya languages are Bantu (spoken in the center and southeast), Nilotic (spoken in the west), and Cushitic (in the northeast).

Maasai people in Kenya - A Kenya culture and tradition

Maasai people in Kenya - A Kenya culture and tradition

  • The culture of Kenya is characterized by communal living

Kenyans are less individualistic and more focused on their groups. In the culture of Kenya, Harambee, a Bantu word that means "to pull together," describes how people interact with one another in daily life. Fundamentally, the idea is about cooperation, accountability, and self-reliance among community members. Kenyans don't tend to separate themselves, especially during difficult circumstances. Instead, they use their neighborhood as a refuge from danger.

Every ethnicity with its roots in cooperative farming or herding has historically adhered to this concept as well. Historically, when Jomo Kenyatta utilized the tune to unite the nation during the time of independence, Harambee acquired a stronger political connotation. Their society is protected by mutuality through sharing tasks like farming, herding, and even creating social goals and good cultural practices in Kenya.

Maasai people in Kenya community

Maasai people in Kenya community

Kenyans Respect Their Ancestors In Kenya Culture Facts

One of the most interesting Kenya culture facts is ancestral worship. Kenyans emphasize respect and regard for their departed ancestors, much like the majority of Africans do. This is not idolatry; instead, it is the conviction that after death, a person's spirit lives on and has to be respected. The ancestors are believed to persist or, in a manner, remain alive in Kenya culture until the "living people" forget them.

Furthermore, because they are in the afterlife and are nearer to God than they were alive, it is believed that one's ancestors have the power to affect the course of one's life. Kenyans, torn between the hereafter and this world, think that ancestors are closer to God than living people are. Ancestors serve as a bridge between families and a higher power.

Kenyans consequently think that those who have just passed away can control events. In this way, asking for advice from one's ancestors is a typical tradition among Kenyans to express respect and worship. Offerings like prayers and sacrifices demonstrated to the ancestors that they were in need.

Kenya Ancestors Memorial

Kenya Ancestors Memorial

  • Dining Etiquette in the Kenya food culture

A formal event, home dining is in Kenya food culture. The majority of Kenyans are welcoming and warm. The natives of Kenya are quite poor and will invite you into their homes with food offers. Greetings are an integral part of social contact in Kenya.

Coming from the Bantu word, "Mgeni ni Baraka" literally translates as "guest is a blessing." Kenyans, therefore, have the right and obligation to provide you with food. In the culture of Kenya, it is considered impolite to deny food or tea that is typically supplied to guests at a home. There is a lot of respect and consideration shown toward the elderly.

According to formal protocol, dining at the table is observed in Kenya traditions and customs. If it's a special event, the guest of honor will have an assigned seat; otherwise, feel free to occupy any available space. The celebrated person is the first to get food, followed by the oldest male, other males, boys, and finally ladies. Don't forget to wait for the eldest male to start his meal before you actually eat.

Do not overfill your plate unless you want to be considered as being wasteful. It is polite to finish everything that's on your plate. Additionally, be aware that drinks will be served after the meal since it is considered disrespectful to drink while dining. After the meal, beverages will be provided.

Narbori food in Kenya

Narbori food in Kenya

  • Indirect communication is appreciated in Kenya culture

Kenya culture is particularly distinct since it is focused on preserving connections through polite, indirect communication. Instead of directly articulating what they did wrong, Kenyans always make an effort to qualify their statements in order to convey their meaning in an appropriate manner.

The need to preserve relationships and people's faces are at the root of this. The style of communication will change to become blunter if the relationship is close. Diplomacy will be of the highest importance in freshly formed and more formal ties.

In Kenya culture, offending a member of the public is equivalent to insulting oneself. Kenya employs this technique to safeguard other people's pictures. If they wish, someone will criticize or express their rage in private. Therefore, it won't happen often unless there is a trade conflict.

Samburu people in Kenya

Samburu people in Kenya

What is the traditional clothing in Kenya? Kenya  Traditional clothing

Most individuals think that there is no such thing as 'Kenya national clothing'. First and foremost, Kenya is made up of over 70 ethnic groups (tribes), each with their own unique traditional clothing style. Second, most Kenyans dress in a more or less Western way. Along the coast, such as in Mombasa or Lamu, where the majority of the population is Muslim, some people dress in Arabic manner.

In fact, Kenyan woman who were expected to represent their country at international conferences purchased traditional Nigerian apparel since they couldn't distinguish the real Kenyan outfit.
There have been various attempts to develop a national dress. Kenyan designers Mary Kadenge and Margaret Akumu Gould have been working on this project for decades. Mrs Gould organised the first ever National Dress Competition in the 1980s in Nairobi. While she did not receive much support at the time, she has now partnered up with the Kenya Tourism Foundation (KTF) and the Ministry of Culture and Social Services, both of which recognize the need of having a national dress for national unity and public relations objectives.

Traditional tribal dress

However, some tribes have maintained their traditional attire and lifestyle. The Masai Maria (sometimes written Maasai Mara) are the most well-known, but this also applies to the Samburu (who are closely related to the Masai) and Turkana peoples in the north. However, even among these tribes, technology is gaining traction, with traditionally clad warriors carrying digital watches or, in some cases, cell phones in order to greet tourists.

Among the tribes that have traditionally accepted Western lifestyles are the Kikuyu from the highlands, the Akamba east of Nairobi, and the Luo in the west. Not unexpectedly, the Kikuyu and Luo have the most political and economic influence in the country.

Masai traditional dress

Masai women frequently wear large plate-like bead necklaces and colorful wraps known as kanga. The guys are known for donning a red-checked shuka (Maasai blanket) and carrying a unique ball-ended club. For Masai, red dress represents power. Many Masai wear simple shoes with soles made of motorbike tires. Around the age of 14, guys become morans (warriors), and their hair is usually dyed red with ochre and fat.

Now Discovering Kenya Culture And Traditions

It's time to start exploring Kenya now that you are aware of the dos and don'ts of Kenya culture and traditions. To enjoy a delightful trip across Kenya's breathtaking landscapes, let's bear in mind a few pieces of travel information.

  • Please contact us at Kenya Immigration Services, if you require help with the Kenya ETA  or any other services related to your trip to Kenya.
  • Our team at Kenya Immigration Services, with more than 10 years of experience in visa consulting services, will help you easily secure your e-Visa so you can go to Kenya.