Arts

Art and artifacts, are manually crafted using materials from local craftsmen and artists. Many of these precious artifacts, such as hand carved statues, beaded jewelry, and beautiful Kikoyas or African sarongs, are sold to both local and international tourists.

Language

Uasin Gishu County is largely a cosmopolitan region, with the Nandi people of indigenous Kalenjin communities having the highest settlement. Apart from Kalenjin sub tribes, other communities with notable presence in the county especially in urban settlements include Luhya, Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Kisii among others. One aspect that makes the social culture of the people of Uasin Gishu so fascinating, is that for decades, the traditions of African Social evolution have blended with modern influences of the 20th century to make the culture of Uasin Gishu what it is today. Uasin Gishu is dynamic in culture. Being cosmopolitan for decades, they have established themselves in many ways. Much like modern cultures we experience every day, Uasin Gishu has established its very own values, languages, and expressions, as well as immersing its people into culinary, musical, artistic, intelligent, and historical worlds, which, combined with their unique ethnic traditions and social norms, create a lifestyle that can only be called Kenyan. Although English and Swahili are Kenya’s national languages, across the county, multiple dialects can be heard from each of its different ethnic groups.

Religion

Most people living in Uasin Gishu today profess Christian faith, with A.I.C denomination having the most following especially within the Kalenjin communities. Roman Catholic and Anglicans (A.C.K) are other denominations with a substantial following. There’s also a substantial increase of evangelical churches both in the rural and urban areas. Other faiths such as Islam and Hinduism are mainly practiced in major towns albeit in a low scale. For the major Kalenjin people, religion is/was based upon a belief in a supreme god, Asis or Cheptalel, who is represented in the form of the sun. Diviners, called Orkoik, are believed to have magical powers which can assist in appeals for rain or to end droughts. The traditional religious beliefs are no longer commonly practiced.

Cuisine

Ugali, a meal made from cornmeal, millet or sorghum, is the people’s staple food. Like many other Kenyans, people often use their bare hands to eat the ugali meal, which may be served with cooked green vegetables such as kale. The people’s favorite meat includes roasted goat meat, beef, or chicken. A popular beverage is mursik, a traditional fermented milk variant of the Kalenjin people. It can be made from cow or goat milk and is fermented in a specially made calabash gourd locally known as a sotet. The gourd is lined with soot from specific trees which add flavor to the fermented milk. It is normally consumed with ugali or on its own and is served at room temperature or chilled. Cuisine as a whole is quite diverse, including breads such as Chapati, rices such as Ugali, and meats including chicken, beef, goat and fish. Vegetables and fruits are also very plentiful in the fertile lands of Uasin Gishu. Traditional foods are still quite popular among the people today. Many people enjoy cooked vegetables, and many of the meats that can be found throughout the county. The people are also fond of Kenya’s national dish, Nyama Choma, which is a form of char-grilled beef. The diet also includes lots of tea, which is often served with almost any meal.

Cultural Attires

Customary clothing is/was made of the skins of either domesticated or wild animals. Both male and female Kalenjin wore earrings made of heavy brass coils that stretched the earlobe down to shoulder level. Today, the people of Uasin Gishu have adopted a modern style of dressing.

Ceremonies and Rites of passage

Customary clothing is/was made of the skins of either domesticated or wild animals. Both male and female Kalenjin wore earrings made of heavy brass coils that stretched the earlobe down to shoulder level. Today, the people of Uasin Gishu have adopted a modern style of dressing.

Music

Uasin Gishu has a strong tradition of music, that has always been the most practiced art by this population. Singing and dancing has been a major aspect of social culture. One way for the people to preserve their history is to remember the songs and the dancing. One main part of the music is the storytelling music, or storytelling riddles. Music has always had a functional role to underline important events such as religious ceremonies, political events, festivals or sporting events. Rites of Passage and Coming of Age Songs and Dances are performed to mark the coming of age of young men. This builds pride, as well as a stronger sense of community. Songs and Dances of Welcome show respect and pleasure to visitors, as well as a show of how talented & attractive the host villagers are. Music is mainly defined by language; instruments such as the traditional African drums, the guitar, rattles and shakers, and small harps are used to create harmonious beats and rhythms, essential for traditional style singing and dancing. Traditional costumes and ornaments are designed to improve and make more evident the movements rather than to beautify the wearer. Today, the music is influenced by Western instruments, especially the guitar both acoustic and electric that is used by the musical groups and persons. The people of Uasin Gishu have a dynamic recording industry that includes gospel and popular music in their traditional pentatonic scale and western music styles.

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