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Burundi Culture Traditions

by Vishal Kumar

Burundi Culture Traditions are enriched by the various ethnic groups that inhabit it. Burundi culture describes its religion, clothing, etc

The history of Burundi and the culture of Burundi are intermingled together. The oral literature of Burundi is an integrated part of the culture of Burundi. The tales, proverbs, poetry, and riddles reveal the life of the Burundi people.

All the huts have got their own compound. The bee-hive-style huts show that rural life is quite organized. The instruments, weapons various other things that are kept in the museum offer a detailed understanding of the Burundi Culture.

Though Burundi is one of the small countries in central Africa, it is quite densely populated. The original inhabitants of the country are the Twa Pygmies who form only 1% of the population presently. The Hutus come to this country in the 11th century followed by the Tutsis in the 14th century. Burundi Culture thus gets enriched by the contribution of all these ethnic groups. Culture in Burundi includes rich dance forms and music

Burundi Ethnic Groups

Burundi Ethnic Groups consist of several native tribes such as the Bantus, the Tutsis, and the Twa. Hutus or Bantus comprise the largest section of ethnic groups in Burundi. About 85% of the tribal population in Burundi is the Bantu followed by Tutsis that comprise 14% of the population and the remaining 1% of the population belongs to the Twa group. Hutu, the largest ethnic group in Burundi, are traditionally farmers of Burundi. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of this tribe. The Tutsis belong to the warrior group. They constitute the largest number in the military of Burundi. Twa constitutes the smallest section of ethnic groups in Burundi. Only one percent of the total tribal population of Burundi belongs to the Twa group. Twa is the oldest of all the tribes of the region. The Twa are the pygmy people of Burundi. They are distinguished by their short stature. The Tutsis, on the other hand, are exceptionally tall and sturdy. These characteristics make them great warriors.

The earliest tribes that inhabited Burundi were the Batwas. The Batwas were regarded as the native people of the land. The Bahutu tribe, comprising of land tillers, came to settle in Burundi in the 14th century. The Bantus are an offshoot of the Bahutu tribe. Most of the earlier tribes have dwindled in numbers in Burundi. The major ethnic groups that are left are the Bantus, Tutsis, and the Twa.

Other than these three Ethnic Groups in Burundi, the country has a small number of international expatriate communities which comprise Arabs, Greeks, Indians, and Pakistanis.

Burundi Religions

Burundi Religions comprise Roman Catholicism (60%), Protestantism (5%), and Islam (10%). The remaining small percentage of the population practices the indigenous religions. Statistics show that Christianity is the main religion of Burundi and about three-fifths of the population is Roman Catholic.

The Human Rights laws in Burundi provide freedom of choice to its citizens to follow any religion according to their preference. Abuse of any religious law is considered a serious offense by the Government of Burundi. Discrimination against any race or caste is against the law.

Freedom of religious practices in Burundi has been constitutionally established. In spite of having so many religions in Burundi, everyone respects each other’s religion. Freedom of religion is effectively practiced in this country.

Burundi Food

The Burundi food mainly constitutes plantains, beans, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and tubers. The people of Burundi enjoy having ugali. Ugali is prepared by boiling cassava flour in water and making a paste of it. These are the staple food of the Burundi people. In the important cities of Burundi, French bread is a hot favorite of the people. Drinking coffee and tea has become a common practice among Burundians. Red kidney beans are such a favorite food of the Burundians, that it is a must once in a day.

Sorghum beer and urwaga (banana beer) are the two traditional drinks of the Burundi people. The drinks are produced by themselves. The snack foods of Burundi include groundnut, sugarcane, and fruits. Serving desserts along with the meal is not a custom in Burundi food culture. The people are not in the favor of cooking sweet foods. In rural areas, Burundi foods are generally prepared over a wood fire.

Burundi Clothing

The Burundi clothing mainly consists of pagnes (wraparounds) which are the conventional outfits of the Burundians. In the rural parts of Burundi, young girls, women, and aged men generally wear this type of clothing. There is a special kind of two-piece cloth for the Burundian herders. The men are seen wearing a cord around their waist.

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