Top Taboos in Kikuyu Community

Top 20 Taboos in Kikuyu Community: List of Traditions, Beliefs, Customs on Birth & Circumcision

Kikuyu people in central Kenya brags an enriched culture with deep roots in secured beliefs and customs. These include rituals woven around critical aspects of life such as birth, circumcision, marriage, death, and food. Enlisted are top 20 taboos in Kikuyu community.

The populous Agikuyu community is to this day driven by a variety of prohibitions and taboos, locally called Migiro and thahu. These are not only pillars of social relations but also symbols of religious purity.

Top 20 taboos in Kikuyu community

Unlike some millennials, the elderly know better about longstanding Kikuyu beliefs.

A section may have evolved but these 20 Kikuyu taboos are still intact. So, what are Kikuyu traditional beliefs?

1. Eating from a broken pot

It is taboo for a Kikuyu man to eat food from a broken pot because cracks while cooking are a sign from the ancestors that food should not be consumed in the household.

Only women past childbearing age are allowed to eat the food. If a man eats from the pot, he is inviting a serious curse to the family.

Also, if anyone deliberately breaks a gourd or cooking pot in a homestead, seven sheep and goats are to be sacrificed to purify the taboo breaker.

Majority of food taboos in kikuyu community revolves around the spirits and will of ancestors on the living.

2. Man sleeping at in-law’s home

It is taboo for a Kikuyu man to sleep with his in-laws or anywhere near the family. Culture does not allow him to sleep in the same area the in-laws reside in.

The old men and women believe in respect and distance when it comes to dealing with their in-laws.

Keeping distance from in-laws is one of the Kikuyu rituals aimed at avoiding misunderstandings and fostering a good relations between the two families.

3. Man sleeping at the side of the wall

Gikuyu men must not sleep on the side of their bed against the wall while lying with a woman.

What is the myth for Kikuyus? The strong Kikuyu men believe that a man should sleep on the side near the bedroom door to ensure security and respect.

4. Circumcised man approaching the side of his mother’s kitchen

Do Kikuyu men get circumcised? Yes. Circumcision is a rite of passage for the tribesmen. With it comes the dos and don’ts for the now mature men. 

For instance, it is a taboofor a circumcised man to approach the side of his mother’s side of the kitchen. Under no circumstance may he even touch her mother’s bed.

5. Eating animal that does not chew cud  

The Kikuyu people believe that no-cud animals such as hares and rabbits are bad luck and should not be eaten.

Furthermore, they associate pork with witchcraft and that eating it can lead to bad luck and ill health.

Full list of taboos in Kikuyu community

What are the taboos in Kikuyu culture? While the changing trends and modernization have led to the fading of some taboos, a section is still treasured.

More outstanding taboos in the Kikuyu community are as follows.

  1. Incestuous relationships between close relatives
  2. Father going into their son’s house
  3. Children swinging with the door lintel
  4. A man holding a baby girl, “kungwata mwana”
  5. Spitting in public
  6. Whistling at night
  7. Uttering the name of a dead person
  8. A person passing under the support pole of a banana plant
  9. A man falling down in his compound; he has to be picked up with a he-goat.
  10. A man touching the corpse of a person unknown to him or her
  11. Child swallowing milk teeth from the upper jaw
  12. A child to breastfeed another woman except for the mother
  13. A woman crossing over her husband’s legs or body
  14. Hyena or fox making noise outside the homestead
  15. Marrying a woman with a curse of the red thighs

Note that taboos in the Kikuyu community vary greatly and may not necessarily be followed by all sub-tribes.

Although some of the ancient cultural beliefs have been washed away by modernity, the top 20 taboos in Kikuyu community still provide a sense of identity and connection to the past. To continue preserving culture, we must continue creating it.

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