A bit of traditional Luo culture!

2 07 2011

By Hussain Lalani



Searching for love makes the world go round and the quest to find your “other half” drives some crazy. But, make sure you like your mother-in-law just as much as your future man, especially if you are Luo that is!

After a stimulating conversation with a local leader, I learned some intriguing things about traditional Luo culture:

1)      Moving out of the Main family house is in done in stages:

  1. First, the newlywed son will have a house built on the compound of the Main house for about 5-10 years
  2. Then, the son can build his home on the land of his choice!

2)      The mother-in-law is the most important relative for the incoming bride in a Luo family because it is with her that the bride must share a kitchen for a few years as she learns the specifics of cooking and necessities of the household. Furthermore, it is the mother-in-law who distributes land to the bride after she is ready to have her own house. (Note that it is the woman’s house, not the man’s)

3)      All meals are communal and everyone in the family gets together in the Main house to eat together. Some food is brought by every household and shared with the rest. Traditionally, eating out is NOT acceptable and restaurants didn’t really exist for quite a long time. You better hope your family cooks well!

4)      Drinking is not allowed for young people because there are many other things they should be focusing on at that time. Only those in their late 40’s and onward are permitted to drink.

I must emphasize that these are traditional Luo practices and some of them are no longer intact as people have been influenced by a number of factors leading to more a liberal cultural representation. However, that is not to say that traditional Luo homes do not exist in Kunya because they certainly do and that is based on first-hand experience!





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