The Luhya tribe, also identified as Abaluhya, Baluhya, or Abaluyia, is a Bantu tribe currently living in the western region of Kenya. This is the second largest community after the Kikuyu and makes up approximately 14% of Kenya’s current population. They are neighbors of some Nilotic tribes including Luo, Kalenjin, Maasai and Teso. Even though considered as one tribe, the Abaluhya are actually made of over 18 sub-tribes, and each speaks a different dialect of the Luyia language. The Bukusu and Maragoli make the two largest Luhya sub tribes. The other dialects include Banyala, Banyore, Batsotso, Gisu, Idakho, Isukha, Kabras, Khayo, Kisa, Marachi, Marama, Masaaba, Samia, Tachoni, Tiriki, and Wanga.
The accurate origin of the Abaluhya is kind of mixed. As per their own word of mouth literature, they believed to have migrated to their current day location from Egypt in the Northern part of Africa. Some history researchers on the other hand believe that the Luhya migrated from Central parts of Africa together with other Bantus in some event historians called the Great Bantu Migration.
Like many other Kenya tribes, they lost most of their most of their land to the colonialists during the colonial rule in Kenya. They and more so the Bukusus, strongly resisted and fought many futile battles to recapture their land. On the other hand, the Wanga and Kabras sub-tribes collaborated with colonialists. According to tradition, the extensive family and the clan were at the centre of the Luhya culture. Dowry was paid in form of cattle, sheep, or goats during marriage. In place of giving cattle, sheep, or goats as bride price, one may pay dowry in cash. Nevertheless, marrying from ones clan is a taboo up to today.
Male circumcision is a vital ritual in most Luhya sub tribes. It symbolizes the initiation from boyhood to manhood. Up to now, traditional bullfights are seen as a popular sport in the Luhya ethnic tribe. The yearly bullfighting in Bukusu land still attracts many viewers. Agriculture is the key economic activity of the Luhya tribe, with sugarcane being the key cash crop from the region. Actually, most of the sugar in Kenya is produced in Luhya land. Further agricultural goods from this land include maize (corn) and wheat.
They are believed to be heavy eaters and one member of the community is said to have set a world record in eating after he ate ugali, a cake like food made from grinded corn, that was 20 kilograms and having only two eggs as stew.
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