Located in central region of Africa, Rwanda is a land locked country that borders democratic republic of Congo in the west, Uganda in the north, Tanzania in the east and Burundi in the west. Rwanda is splinted into three tribal groups which are the Hutu (dominate), Tutsi and Twa people.
The common languages used in Rwanda are English, French and Kinyarwanda, Rwandese’s are mostly Christians mixed with traditional believers. Rwanda is a diverse country across from the culture into its meaning by the lifestyle, tradition, beliefs, cuisine, music & dance, arts &crafts, clothing and rituals that significantly distinguish the Rwandan people from the rest of the world’s population.
To begin with Rwandan cuisine , the Hutu and the twa are originally hunters and farmers and for the Tutsi they are pastoralists with large yards of cattle and these people mainly feed on dairy products like milk.
Cuisine and beverages
The staple food is bananas plantain, pulse, sweet potatoes, beans and cassava. The national foods is , ‘Ugali’ a maize paste mixed with water, ‘Isombe ‘ cassava leaves paste with water, ‘Ibihaza’ a pumpkin paste with beans, ikinyiga (ground nut past) and “Umustima w’uburo” a millet paste. Currently the Rwandese are evolving and introducing other cuisines from other countries, for example the Indian, Chinese, Italian and African cuisines. For beverages the nationals mostly feed on milk, fruit juice and beer.
Commercial beers drunk in Rwanda include mutzig, Amstel and primus. Urwagwa is a traditional brew made from fermented juice of bananas roasted with sorghum flour. Ubuki is made from fermented honey and made with 12% alcohol. Ikigage is also an alcoholic beverage made from sorghum and it believed to have medical powers.
Music & dance
Traditionally all the Rwandan dances are situated with society meaning as each dance was performed for a special occasion in the community i.e.
During the first harvest time in the ancient days, the local people performed the Umuganura dance for in respect and praise of the almighty and celebration of the harvest they made in the year. At this dance, they would also bless the seeds that would be planted the next season. At Umuganura (harvest dance) the locals would gather and share of the forest harvest and farm produce, they also would drink and make local brew and share fruits.
Then for the unmarried women they performed the kurambagiza dance, where they would portray there singleness until their potential husbands noticed and told. The kurambagiza (dance of fiancés) also featured birds’ movements such as the grey crested cranes mating dance which is very mesmerizing dance to watch.
The Umushangiriro dance is performed to show the gracefulness, godlessness, pride, peacefulness, radiance, kindness and beauty of the Rwandan women. This is mainly performed by woman as they make gentle and slow radiant movements as they move their arms and body.
And lastly the dance of warriors (Intore) dance, this is mainly performed by men as they are seen as leaders and warriors, which serves the meaning of (Intore). Men of great morals and physically abilities are chosen to perform this dance as there are tales told behind the dance for this dance was used to show capability during the battle fields.
For the art and crafts
Besides the delicious cuisine and mesmerizing traditional dances, Rwanda culture has also revolved around the making of unique arts and crafts that are originally connected to the people. Rwanda has exhibited its arts and crafts through woodcraft, paper craft, pottery, grass craft, textiles and weaving. Rwanda is mostly known for its famous Ageseke baskets the “peace baskets”, these are used to store food and where used as gifts for any kind of ceremony. Also the famous Imigongo paints that are made from cow dung that is beautifully crafted on large paper. These arts can been found in craft villages and art galleries such as Caplaki craft village, Ikaze showroom, Azizi life studio, Inema arts museum and Gahaya links.
Cultural dress code
Rwanda as being dominated by the three cultural groups of the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa, These people haven’t distinguished themselves in the dress-code as all of these people traditionally wear an attire called “mushanana” that is mainly wore at official ceremonies, weddings and any kind of celebrations. Women wear the “Mushanana” that is a wrap skirt, top and sash draper on one shoulder. Then for men wear white shirt stacked into a wrapped floor length skirt, this attire brings out the beauty and elegance of the Rwandan people.
The Rwandese traditional hairstyle of Amasunzu, cut by both women and men portrayed prestige, power and nobility. Though currently not adopted by many, this hairstyle still lives to the true beautiful identity of the Rwanda culture.
Rwanda being a country that is dominated by mostly Christians this has not put to end the initial Rwandan traditions that are still practiced by people. There are birth, marriage and blood rituals that are still in practice by the Rwandan people.
There is still the existence of cult communities, the Nyabingi and Ryangombe that believe and worship their ancestors. After the death of beloved ones Rwandese carry out “IKiriyo” which is mourning and “gukaraba” washing of the hands after burial.
There is payment of dowry to the family of the girl, Ubukwe ceremonies for the marriage and wedding rituals.
In Rwanda there are four ceremonies called out , “ kwita lzina” gorilla naming ceremony, “Umuganda “ public cleaning ceremony , international peace run and the Assumption day( prayer day).
The diversity of the Rwandan culture has continuously increased the beauty of the nation and also it has been a great interest for the tourists to visit the country.