What Can Offer You
Around the sixteenth century, the ancestors of the Luo began migrating from the Bahr al- Ghazal region, south of the Nile, finally settling on the eastern side of the Lake Victoria basin. They continued arriving in a steady stream until the nineteenth century. Practitioners of pastoralism, they spoke a western Nilotic language known as DhoLuo, which is distinct from the language spoken by their neighbors.
Currently, the Luo are the third most populous tribe in Kenya, comprising over 13% (2.8 million) of the country’s population and many of its most influential intellectual and political minds. Due to the supra-national states created during the scramble for Africa by European colonists in 1884-85, there is also a significant number of Luo people living in neighboring Uganda and Tanzania
Culture permeates the daily life of the Luo. From the name one receives at birth, to the placement of one’s grave at death, culture and tradition dictate movements of the society. Because of countless deaths due to the AIDS virus, there are fewer and fewer elders to pass down customs, and the cultural fabric of the Luo society is unraveling.
An example of Luo culture, representative of life in Luoland, is the naming process of the Luo people. Luo names refer to forces or spirits that exist beyond the immediate presence of life on earth. When individuals are deceased, they are referred to as the spirits of the ancestors. The means by which children receive spirit names is tied directly to the position of the sun in relation to the earth when they are born. Different names carry different personality characteristics. So, when meeting a stranger on a dusty crossroad, one gains insight into the character of that person simply by learning the individual’s name.
Luos name their children at the time of day that they are born, for example: Atieno is a girl born at night, Akinyi is morning, Achien’g when the sun is high.
Akeyo is the name given during harvesting, and Apiyo and Adongo are twins, with Apiyo as the name of the first to be born. The first letter of a name also indicates gender: “A” signifies a woman, and “O” for a boy. For example, Otieno would be the name of a boy and Atieno for a girl, both of the same name.
- Why Luo Culture should be preserve
The Luo culture has been one of the most interesting and complicated cultures as perceived by many who don’t understand it. One of the most controversial issues that have rendered the culture to be of interest to many is the issue of wife inheritance. This has been a hot topic to many who would want to understand the cultural practices of the Luo community. This does not imply that there is no positive aspect of the culture that is admired by many.
- More about Culture
Among the many traditions practiced by the Luo of Kenya for centuries before European colonization, the ceremonies and rituals performed in the event of the death of a family member or community member were particularly meaningful. The Luo. The African continent, like other continents around the world, has many natural rock formations and other structural wonders with deep significance for the ethnic groups and communities living around them. One of these is Kit Mikayi.