Chicken Delicacy and Chicken-Related Rituals: A Gateway to Understanding the Luhya
This article provides a detailed examination of the traditional Luhya people’s rituals involving chicken as a delicacy and an element of rituals. The aim of the study was to evaluate the significant place of such rituals in the present-day Luhya community. Traditionally, chicken served various functions, including settling family disputes, biding grandchildren upon visiting their relatives, and serving the purpose of the traditional ritual. Among the Luhya, a traditional ceremony and celebration cannot be meaningful without people having not only wafted but also tasted the delicacies of chicken. The elements of chicken rituals are based on a study of the chicken and the related rituals among the Bantu-speaking people of Western Kenya and Eastern Uganda in Africa. The study was inspired by the fact that the contemporary cultural context of chicken and rituals has undergone some transformation. Traditional practices were of a particular and rather narrow profile linked to appeasing the dead, source of food, especially ugali and chicken stew, identifying new sites for setting up a home, Olugala, and official inauguration of traditional ceremonies such as circumcision. It is this that has made Luhya to be mostly associated with chicken by other communities in East Africa. Equally, the chicken and rituals among Luhya are linked to the cultural performances and creative arts, which are understood, appreciated, preserved and practiced acceptably by the community hence accelerating the achievement of communal coexistence, and mutual national unity based on sound foundations of diverse cultural identities. The chicken rituals form the basic foundation of studies of the Luhya cultures. Traditional chicken slaughtering practices and their related rituals have become a valuable cultural identity with treasures if closely studied, researched, theorized and practiced. Therefore, this paper contributes an important avenue for a better understanding of the Luhya traditional culture and people.
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