Uganda Cultural Practices / Traditional in Uganda-Safaris

Uganda Cultural Practices ; Cultural practices refers of traditional and social treasure such as folk tales, rituals, rites and ceremonies, traditional stories, dances and music, hand crafts, blacksmithing, hunting, farming many more. However ,there are several  examples of cultural practices that can be meaningful to you  such as the religious and spiritual , medical treatment practice ,natural resource management ,housing and construction , childcare ,cultural institutions ,dietary preferences and culinary  , forms of artistic expression practices among many .Remember these cultural practices  has values according to traditions including the sense of community life , sense of hospitality ,sense of the sacred ,sense of the sacredness of life  and religions  ,sense of time and sense of respect for authority and the elders.

In other words ,Uganda being referred to be called Pearl of Africa has ranked it to be among the best tourists destination in Africa and it does not stop to be called Pearl of Africa  but  also  is blended with good  conducive climate and weather ,the scenic landscape  that stuns  with the second highest mountain  in Africa  -famously known  as Majestically Mount  Rwenzori  a snow capped land and water bodies ,Uganda is surrounded with waters of the second largest lake in Africa ,diversity of wildlife  such as the Big Five  like Lions ,Elephants ,Buffaloes ,Rhinos and Leopards as well as primates  like  the great mountain gorillas and chimpanzee the most sought after on Uganda safaris. Uganda being with a stunning landscape surrounded with the source of River Nile, Lake Victoria plus other large water bodies and green vegetation, tropical rainfall and hospitable people thus leading to its impact on tourism hub.

Currently, Uganda is splintered into four regions such as the Northern, Eastern, Western and Central regions.  However, it is touched with 56 tribes that makes up a diverse cultural heritage and beliefs and through visiting some of these tribes   it’s the best away  you can learn Uganda’s traditions life style ,by organizing their ceremonies ,rituals and how they carry out their cultural  practices  through  singing and dancing with unique traditional equipment.

Originally, Uganda has different tribes and ethnic cultural background including the Nilotic, the Bantu and the Hamites who moved in Uganda with different unique cultures and tradition practices which have made them extra-ordinary and different from one another. In general, Uganda has three main linguistic groups that is; the Bantu who are the dominant group from central, western and southern parts of the country, the Nilotic and Central Sudanic in the north  ,north Eastern and the west Nile regions of Uganda. Uganda is occupied with a lot of impressive tribe and culture those in the northeast the Karamoja people who have a rich cultural background of cattle keeping while the northwest is occupied by people   who have similar language   related to that of the current Sudan’s.  There some other tribes under each group who speak languages that are closely related but they have different cultures, beliefs and practices. Before there was no national language in the country then after on Swahili language was introduced as a joint language for all both the literate and illiterates to have a common language. Later no, the coming of British colonialism introduced English in the country   which became a national language in Uganda and now can be spoken in every part of the country.

Below are some of the cultural practices of the different tribes in Uganda as listed;

Dressing code –Ways

 Traditionally, In Uganda’s central and Eastern regions have ‘Gomesi’ as their dress code that Ugandan women wear for events and ceremonies whereas the men wear ‘Kanzu’. These are common traditional attires in the country that shows decency and respect of historical background of Ugandan people. The Karamoja region have their unique dressing called ‘’Suuka’’. Then the western part of Uganda the Banyankole, Batooro and Banyoro –traditionally put on ‘’Mushanana ‘’ for the women and ‘’Bussuti’’ for men. These dressing attires are mainly put on during marriage functions and any kind of ceremony and celebrations.

Uganda Cultural Practices
banyankole traditional wear

Traditional Marriage

In Uganda safaris, marriage ceremony is one of the most beautiful and impressive cultural experienced to visit. Has we all know that marriage is a treasured thing in life of the grown up people, where men acquire their wives ‘’women’ from their parent’s homes after paying bride price which is a sign of respect and appreciations to the wife’s side. Therefore, before taking that lady as wife, there some items asked to pay but each tribe pays bride’s wealth differently. Like in the western and far Eastern and northern Uganda, Cattle is treasure and the bride is paid inform of cattle which is among the Banyankole, Batooro, Acholi, Karamojong, Itesots among other tribes.

Note this; traditional marriage is done in two levels that is, ’kukyala in Baganda ‘’ where the man visits the bride’s family and he can be given the cut of bride price to pay on the set up dates for official exchange. Then in the western region; it is called Kuhinjira.

Long age, traditionally people used to live on polygamous marriage where man could marry many wives as he can, which was considered that many children from different woman that is the wealthy he has. Fortunately, this changed because of the introduction of Christianity which largely dominates in the country.

Please Note; Basing on traditional, a man paying a bride price to her parent’s house is the only way that indicates that the man is the head of the family.

Family and Gender Status

 Traditionally, families have decisions made up by the head of the family who is the husband/father without any influence from the wife or children. Today, in most communities within the country this still happens. Due to the change in the level of education and Christianity, women emancipation in a way that all family members have influence on different family making decisions. Men have become the provider for the family while women take care of the family. They are no long like those of the old where women highly depended on men in a family with provision of food, school fees for children and construction of the house many more. When the father passes way the sons are the heir yet now days’ girls can be the heir also. During those old ages, women were inferior to men in a way that some things were forbidden for the women for example; Women were denied to attend meetings it was for men only, women were not allowed to eat some dishes such as mad fishes, chicken, eggs and women were for the kitchen only.

Food and Beverages

 Each tribe have specific foods  which is consumed food known as a Staple food. Like the Bantu who include; the Baganda, Banyankole, Basonga, Sabin ad Bagishu these are commonly known for consuming more of Matooke more than any other foods. However, some of them include; Batooro who consume millet and the Bakiga consume Irish potatoes. Then the Nilotic who mainly eat mingled millet touched with other different types of sauce. The consumption of different foods by different tribal groups is one of the reasons why there is lots of foods produced in Uganda. Other consumed food in Uganda include; Cassava, sweet potatoes by the Basonga people, Irish potatoes by the Bakiga, Maize, yams, rice ,vegetables and variety of fruits among others. Uganda as a country has gotten national food that impacted the nation globally including the ‘’Rolex which is a blend of chapatti and eggs, Nsenene –known as Grasshoppers which is a seasonal food.

Nationally, Uganda has beverages that makes it a remarkable country basing in the tribes. There is commonly traditional drink ‘’alcohol’’ like for the Ajono for the Itesots, Baganda –Munanansi and Ntoto for the western tribes. This local drink they usually present it on the traditional marriage ceremonies and during leisure time after work as a sign of socializing in the community with the local members.

Religious affiliation

Big part of Ugandans are mainly Christians and this is because of the population census which was carried out in 2014, showing a record of the largest population of Christians were recorded with 82%, Roman Catholic making 39 %. Anglicans with 32% population, followed by Pentecostal Christians with 11% and 14% population of Moslem religion.

Uganda Cultural Practices
Uganda Martyrs Namugongo Shrine

Other religions in Uganda include the Seven Day Adventists, Baptist and Orthodox. Though there are still people who still have attendance of believing in traditional religion as it was before Christianity being spread in the country. To some Ugandans still go to shrines and other still worship the small gods who they believe that he provides wealth and protects marriages.


 Traditionally, shaking hands is a form of greetings. Etiquette is all about family meals where meals is ready and all the members of the household have to sit together and wash their hands on the floor mats. And the unexpectedly visitors and neighbors who arrives during time for eating are allowed to join the family at a meal. Children are not allowed to talking while eating but when are asked a question. Note, traditionally it is impolite to leave the room while others are eating and stretching of yours at the meal is a sign of disrespect. After eating, everyone has to give a compliment to the mother and the cook to thrill while on Uganda Safaris Tours.

Children have to respect their parents through talking to them in humble way and greeting elders while kneeling on their knees by the girl child.

Cultural and Traditional Practices

 In Uganda each tribe has a cultural practice that makes it a famous from other tribes thus making Uganda a combined nation for a unique culture such as; the Bagishu people who practice circumcision for young boys as an initiation to adulthood. In Bagishu people it is believed that if a Masaba boy is not circumcised traditionally, he cannot be considered as a man. The Bagishu circumcision ceremony is only done on boys as a sign that shows a man of courage. Then Sabin people who live in Kapchorwa region of Uganda, they also do traditional circumcision of girls. Currently, have been discouraged by the Government of Uganda because on the other side seems to be dangerous practice thus leading to loss of lives among girls in the region.

Lastly, Uganda is rich in cultural practices that can be visited in all aspects. Though many cultural sites have not been talked about but you visit them while on a Uganda Cultural Safari or on a combined safari with wildlife’s. Other Ugandan cultural practices can be explored in such sites like Visiting the Uganda Museum ,Igongo Cultural Centre ,Buganda royal tombs ‘’the Kasubi tombs ‘’,Ssemagulu Royal Museum and visiting the Karamanj region.

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