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Luo Tribe Facts: Culture & History of the Luo People of Kenya

History of the Luo Community

In the history of the Luo community is a Luo tribe found beyond the Kenyan boundaries. There are Luo people from the larger Luo community present in in Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Just like the other 42 ethnic groups found in Kenya, the people of Luoland have their own cultural practices, skills, values, and language.

The current Luo tribe in Kenya has 26 sub-tribes and rank third amongst the Kenyan communities in terms of the size of their population. They represent approximately 13% of the total Kenyan population.

History indicates that the genesis of the Luo people is Sudan, along the River Nile. They traveled from this region to Kenya more than five centuries or 500 years ago. Upon reaching the country, they settled around the largest freshwater lake in Africa, Lake Victoria.

However, they did not come in one phase. The first group of Luo tribe to reach the present settlements were the Joka-jok followed by the Jo-k’Owiny and then the Jok’ Omolo before the arrival of the last phase composed of the Luo Abasuba.

The Luo Abasuba came into being from intermarriage between the Ugandan Bantu and the Luo.

Luo Culture & Traditions

Luo people or community, just like any other solid tribe in Kenya and around the world has deeply rooted traditions and cultural practices that were not swayed away by civilization. The most striking weird customs and cultures found in this region is that of sleeping with the dead.

Unlike other communities found in the country, this traditional practice Luos from Nyanza appear the weirdest and most interesting beliefs and customs you can find around. In their belief, widows are by custom required to sleep in one room with their dead husband before they are buried.

According to this community, sleeping with the dead is regarded a cleansing ritual practiced as a way of purifying widows in preparation for their inheritance. The practice is referred to as tero buru and is done in the morning hours.

During this event, the women are expected for the last time, to dream of making love to their deceased husbands to be freed in readiness for their remarriage. The dream is mandatory because failure to have the experience, further elaborate cleansing rituals must be done.

But, with the advent and widespread of Christianity and modernization, this weird cultural practices among others such as one not getting married before the older sibling marries are gradually being faced off by some people.

Nonetheless, some mild bits of such bizarre beliefs are still being practiced, particularly among the population residing in the rural outposts. For instance, the primary aim of letting the older sibling get married before the younger one is to ensure everybody gets a chance to get married.

The other traditions and cultures you may find funny are a man offering his wife to his respected guest as a sign of honor.

There are severe repercussions and consequences for those who overlook such odd traditions including self-instigated death.

Luo Tribe Names

This table has some of the popular names from the Luo tribe:

Name Gender Meaning
Akinyi Female Born in early morning hours
Akeyo Female Born during time for harvest
Akello Female Born after twins
Adongo Female Second born of twins
Achieng Female Born at Mid-day
Abuya Female Born time when the garden was
Anindo Female Mother had more sleep during her pregnancy
Angweng Female Born during the white ants time
Amondi Female Born at dawn
Aluoch Female Born on overcast morning
Akoth Female Born during rainy season
Atieno Female Born at night
Athiambo Female Born late hours in the evening
Arogo Female Much nagging by the mother during birth
Apiyo Female First born of twins
Anyango Female Born at Mid-day
Awuor Female Born mid-morning
Awiti Female Born in the aftermath of a misfortune
Awino Female Born with the cord hanging around
Ochieng Male Born mid-day
Obuya Male Garden was the garden was
Jaramogi Male Courageous
Odongo Male Second born of twins
Odikinyi Male Born early morning
Ochieng Male Born daytime
Okoth Male Born when raining or rainy season
Okeyo Male Born during harvest season
Okello Male Born after twins
Ojwang Male Survived after being neglected
Odour Male Born mid-night
Onyango Male Born almost mid-day
Onindo Male Mother overslept during pregnancy
Ongweng Male Born during winy season
Omondi Male Born at dawn hours
Oluoch Male Born during a cloudy day
Otieno Male Born at night
Othiambo Male Born late evening
Othiamba Male Born in the afternoon
Osogo Male The birth was attended by the Osogo bird
Opiyo Male First born of twins
Waga Male Eldest died
Owuor Male Born mid-morning
Owiti Male Born in the aftermath of a misfortune
Owino Male Born with cord around
Ouma Male Born via caesarian surgery

Luo Comedy & Comedians

Luo comedy can really crack your ribs. It’s so hilarious and natural in nature. In fact, you would think comedy was made and brewed in Luoland.

Despite there being many comedians in this regions, there are a few contemporary one who have emerged to take the Kenyan comedy industry by storm.

Meet Erick Omondi, Jalang’o aka Jalas, and the father of Luo comedy, Geoffrey Omondi a.k.a Pengele, a guy who was born a comedian and you will understand what comedy is all about after watching his DVDs.

The now 40 years old, Geoffrey Odongo, has taken comedy in Luoland to the next level. The comedian takes comedy as not only a tool of entertainment, but also as a serious business.

Reliable sources show that Pengele discontinued his studies after finishing high school to pursue his talent in comedy. He declined an offer to join one of the public universities in Kenya for a career in this field.

The comedian has been in comedy for the last two decades. He has to make people laugh for a handsome payment. In fact, according to a testimony from Pengele himself, comedy pays and pays well. To him, it’s both a job and a calling.

The father of two specializes in comedy series played in Luo language. The most popular one is called Pengele. Nicknamed Wuon Otiato in this comedy series, Omondi depicts a traditionalist who values traditional beliefs, particularly, in wife inheritance, has a crooked sense of discipline.

Wuon Otiato sends away the wife any moment a bountiful harvest is about to bound and only allows the wife back home when the grain silo is almost empty and the season for planting and tilling draw near.

Moreover, the traditionalist is so mean that any time he leaves the house, he puts a signature on the flour to ensure that nobody in the home, including his wife makes Ugali while he is not at home.

Bibliography on Luo People of Kenya

  1. http://www.kenya-information-guide.com/luo-tribe.html
  2. https://www.sde.co.ke/article/2000225812/sleeping-with-the-dead-weird-cultures-customs-practiced-by-the-luo
  3. http://www.namesite.com/ethnic/Luo
  4. https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000023922/meet-father-of-luo-comedy-pengle

 

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