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Top 20 Taboos in Kalenjin Community: List of Beliefs, Traditions, Customs on Food & Circumcision

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Kalenjins are highly dynamic people in our progressive world, yet consolidated with strong cultural and traditional beliefs. One wonders how these Rift Valley tribesmen trade between heritage and extreme civilization. In our insight are the most outstanding taboos in Kalenjin community.

When compared to the other ethnic groups in the country, modernity has had minimal effect on the Maasai and Kalenjin. The Nilotic duo is as a result a source of admiration among cultural tourists and researchers.

Top 20 Taboos in Kalenjin community

Various prohibitions set the Kalenjins apart as a populace of one voice, especially in socio-economic affairs.

Enlisted are timeless Kalenjin culture and traditions with their meanings.

1. 60 days of no going to the kitchen for initiates

Fresh initiates in the Kalenjin community are strictly forbidden from going to the kitchen for at least sixty days.

It’s a cultural offence for a newly circumcised Kalenjin boy to step his feet in the kitchen because it is a zone for women and young girls.

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Similarly, initiates are not allowed to greet women because the period is crucial in developing a sense of superiority.

2. Kalenjin women are forbidden from bee-keeping

It is against morals for Kalenjin women to participate in the installation and maintenance of beehives.

However, fading customs are slowly opening doors for more Kalenjin women to participate in this lucrative business.

3. Pregnant women eating meat and oily foods

Kalenjin women are banned from taking specific meals such as animal meat, eggs, and related oily foods. Eating ugali-leftover “Mokoriet” is also unacceptable.

It is equally unacceptable for these heavy women to consume meat from a strangled animal fearing that its spirits will haunt the unborn baby to death.

Expectant women are also not allowed to consume animal tongue because they may end up with an excessively talking kid. The same logic applies to eating animal reproductive organs.

4. Marrying from the same clan is taboo

Dating a Kalenjin man will only end up in marriage if the lady is from a different clan.

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Clan boundaries aside, it is not allowed to espouse a partner from a clan with social issues until it is cleansed by the elders.

5. Cracking the Seetyo/Setyoot tree

Seetyo is culturally significant in regulating circumcision, age set calendar, and change of guard between age sets.

Cutting down, splitting, and cracking the Seetyo tree meant an indefinite suspension of circumcision in Kalenjin land.

Full List of taboos in Kalenjin community

Kalenjin culture and traditions are still standing the test of time with a binding effect on all locals.

We have even more bizarre taboos.

  1. Girls and women going to “Menjo,” where boys were initiated
  2. Women beating their husbands is a taboo
  3. Women and girls eating the leftovers of initiates
  4. Girls eating the cow’s testes
  5. Circumcised men entering their parents’ bedroom
  6. Children beating or insulting their parents
  7. Men going to the house where a woman who has given birth stays
  8. It is taboo for a man to sleep with his wife within two months of giving birth
  9. It is taboo in the Nandi to tie a rope around a cow’s neck
  10. Eating a snake and tortoise or even touching them
  11. Having sexual relationships with relatives
  12. Eating meat from animals such as dogs, cats, and donkeys
  13. It is forbidden for a man to look at his mother-in-law eye to eye or even sleep under the same roof
  14. Young women must not use menjo construction materials as firewood, they are preserved only for older women
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It is important to note that these beliefs and customs vary greatly across the 8-sub tribes.

A long list of taboos in Kalenjin community is mostly intact with no signs of losing its original meaning.

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