Story Prepared By:
Saturday, 1 March 2014
Luo Cultural Beliefs ‘Kweche Mag Luo’
The Luo tribe had very many beliefs and in all their beliefs the only remedy was the usage of different herbs ‘Manyasi’. For instance, it was a taboo for a daughter-in-law to enter the bedroom of the mother-in-law. If this happened, there was a herb used for bathing and drinking to avoid any calamity.
PLANTING ‘KOMO OR GOLO KODHI’
During planting ‘komo’ or ‘golo kodhi’ it was a taboo for young people to plant before the elders of the home (their fathers). The older people would plant first then followed by the young generation. If this happened then herbs ‘manyasi’ was used and chicken slaughtered for cleansing the person and the home.
The daughter-in-law waited for the mother-in-law to harvest ‘keyo’ first and fulfill some to-do rituals before she can harvest ‘keyo’. Failure to do so, the herbs ‘manyasi’ was used for the cleansing to avoid a taboo ‘chira’. The mother-in-law and the father-in-law were to be the first to eat the maize or millet from the harvest ‘keyo’ before any other person to avoid a taboo ‘chira’ in the family. If any of the elderly persons was not alive or present the one who is left would do it. Without the two it was done only by an older member of the family.
MOVING FROM YOUR FATHER’S HOME ‘GOYO DALA OR LIGALA’
‘Goyo dala’: The first son was to move before the other sons. This was done in a very traditional manner. The man and his son were to sleep in the new home and chicken was to be slaughtered. It was difficult for this ceremony to happen without the son from the first wife. Luos used to marry many wives those days. During this occasion there were special herbs ‘manyasi’ that were taken.
CEREMONY AFTER BURIAL ‘YWEYO LIEL’
This was done depending on the sex of the person who has passed away. If it was a man of the home people were to sleep outside the home for 4 days and if it was the mother 3 days. After those days each member of the family was to be shaved using razor blade and then herbs ‘manyasi’ were taken for cleansing.
BEATING THE HUSBAND USING UNDERWEAR ‘GOYO CHUORI GI SIRUARU’
When fighting with the husband, a luo wife was not supposed to beat the husband using her underwear. When such happened they would not be together as a man and wife untill they take the herbs ‘manyasi’ that was special for that.
• In the community there were many herbs ‘manyasi’ used for treatment of diseases and cleansing of rituals e.g. Dyschoriste radicans – ‘Ratek-min-Angasa’ (in dholuo)
• Toddalis asiatica – ‘Nyalwet—kwadu’
• Calvatia (Lycoperdacaceae) – ‘Obuoch-Juok’
• Mystroxyton aethiopicum – ‘ododo’
• Amaranthus ( Amaranthaceae) – ‘ong’ong’o’
• Sclerocarya birrea – ‘yaga’
• Kigela Africana – ‘amoyo’
• Cleome gynadra and many more plants were used.
Some of these believes are still being practiced by a few people but use of herbs will never stop as long as the community exists/lives on.
Story Prepared By:
Monica Ageng’o, Librarian (Herbarium – Nmk)