Rwanda Cultural Tours

Rwanda Cultural Tours are very interesting and a traveler is advised to engage in these tours so that they can learn about the cultural ways of the Rwandese.

Rwandan Culture Tours

Rwanda is a small landlocked country located in East Africa south of the equator and is also known as the “land of a thousand hills”. The capital city of Rwanda is Kigali. Languages spoken in Rwanda include French, English, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili which is also used in other east African countries.

One of Africa’s great lakes which is Lake Kivu is found in this country. Rwanda is bordered by Burundi, Democratic republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda.

From the cultural perspective(Rwanda cultural tours), Rwanda is one of the African with a well-preserved culture and the different cultures include the commonly known Hutu and Tutsi and the less popularly known Twa people.

The Hutu and the Tutsi are known for their rivalry which led to the 1994 Rwandan genocide which led to the killing of millions of both Hutu and Tutsi people. Rwanda continues to boost investment and agricultural output and other sectors such as the tourism sector. Ethnicity among the Rwandan people does not exist and everyone is considered Rwandan therefore people avoid asking for the tribe of the people as the people are still healing together to avoid future conflicts.   

Rwanda cultural tours

The rich Rwandan cultural attractions range from the food, the way of dressing, cultural dances and ceremonies, marriage rites, cultural beliefs and taboos, folk tales and many other cultural aspects which vary with the culture.

The local cuisine or food in Rwanda is served in different accommodation facilities such as hotels and restaurants and many other locations. The local food prepared is made with locally grown ingredients and is said to be neither spicy nor hot. Cattle which is considered a national symbol is therefore rarely slaughtered for eating and is commonly eaten among the urban families. Goat meat is also among the Rwandan cultural delicacies. 

A typical Rwandan meal consists of potatoes which were introduced by the German colonialists. Other foodstuffs that are eaten among the Rwandan people include beans and plantain which are mostly cooked together. Sorghum grain is among the staple foods in the Rwandan culture and the local beer is also brewed and consists of sorghum and plantain.

In Rwanda, the men enjoy drinking beer and however the women who are more gentle drink lots of milk and sugar and refusing food which is offered to someone is considered an insult in the Rwandan culture. There is a unique tendency among the Rwandan people when serving food where hosts sip from the drinks and taste the food before serving the guests as a sign that the food and drinks served are not poisoned and are safe for consumption. Among the Twa people, the dishes used for eating by the hosts are separate from those used by the visitors and they do not share containers. 

The rites of passage among the Rwanda people include the traditional initiations into cults such as Ryangombe and Nyabingi. It is also common to offer sacrifices such as cows during traditional rituals. This, however, does not mean that the Rwandan people do not have other religious obligations such as Christianity.

Other cultural rites among the Rwanda people include birth rites. These rites traditionally involve the mother and the newly born baby being left alone for up to eight days after which friends and relatives can bring gifts. After this period the baby can be shown in public and the name of the baby is also announced during this time.  

Family is an important aspect of society and among the Rwanda people, the family is referred to as “Inzu” which may also mean household or house. After the “Inzu” is another family unit known as “umuryango”. This family unit consists of several Inzus tracing their lineage to many generations before them to the same male ancestor.

From the factor of marriage, the Rwandan people are not allowed to marry from their own “Umuryango”. Marriage also involves the male who wishes to get married paying a visit to the father of the lady he wishes to marry and the father to the male who wishes to marry also companies his son and he also brings gifts. The two fathers then discuss the marriage and the male who wishes to marry and his father brings at least one cow for the bridewealth to the girl’s father. This paid bride wealth renders any of the children born by this couple legal. 

The traditional way of dressing among the Rwandan people consists of animal skins and bark cloth which are displayed for viewing in the museums. The Rwandan people have currently adopted the modern way of dressing and they tend to dress up since they take pride in their appearance.

The arts and crafts in the Rwandan culture mainly involve weaving baskets and mats with detailed designs. Among the Twa people, pottery is one of the items of art which they make with similar designs on large cooking pots by the Twa potters. Other crafts include wood carving, sculptures, and paintings among others. Different art galleries are located around Rwanda with different historical importance attached to them and the art centers are made with a lot of innovation and this greatly influences the tourism sector in Rwanda.   

Traditional music and dance are a major cultural aspect among the Rwandan people and this music is performed during ceremonies, festivals, at social gatherings and during storytelling. Some of the main features of music and dance in the Rwandan culture are referred to as “gakondo”. 

Traditional music instruments in the Rwandan culture is of a variety and includes the “Inanga” which is a cultural harp, “umuduli”, “inigiri”, “icyembe”, “ingoma”, “urusengo”, “umwirongi”, “amakondera”, “amahembe”, “ikembe”, “ikinyuguri” also referred to as “urunyege”, “urutaro” also referred to as “intara”, “amayugi”. Traditional music in Rwanda today is greatly influenced by modern music and traditional instruments are often accompanied by modern instruments.

Traditional dances in the Rwandan culture involves performances such as “intore” and “amaraba” performed by a traditional group. The attire of the dancers during the performances consists of headdresses made from dried grass and small shields on their left arms. The Twa people are among the Rwandan people who are known for their talent in music. 

The “intore” is a sort of war dance and for those who wage war or wish to hunt, it acts as an encouragement. The word “intore” translates to mean leader, elite and can also mean chosen one. These war dances are performed in a way that they look like it is an actual fight which can be experienced by observing the movements of the traditional dancers. The traditional dancers performing the “intore” are chosen to base on their physical and moral abilities.

The “Amaraba” dance in contrast with the “intore” dance is more gentle and consists of dance movements like the ballet performed by the women, the dance of heroes performed by the men and it also involves drums. The dance performance involves both the women and men whereby the men in groups of 7 to 9 drum and the women dance.   

From the political point of view in the Rwandan culture, the king of Rwanda in pre-colonial times was referred to as “umwami” who was helped by a hierarchy of nobles and gentry. The central government was under the management of the “abiru” who were ritual loyalists living within the king’s palace. The role of the “abiru” was to secretly determine the next king and define the kings mission during his reign. The “abiru” would also foresee the future and explain occurrences which was among their main purposes.

The king was assisted by three different chiefs such as the cattle chiefs, the military chiefs and the chiefs of land. The chiefs of land were mostly the “Hutus” while the cattle chiefs and military chiefs consisted of the “Tutsi”.

The royal symbol of power for the king also referred to as “mwami” was the “kalinga” a sacred drum on which the genitals of enemies were hung. The whole structure of the kingdom was designed to reinforce the power and the position of the “mwami”.

Many folk tales are also associated with the cultural origins of the Rwandan people such as the myth of divine origin which is as follows; three siblings called Kigwa, Mututsi and their sister Nyampundu were born in heaven and accidentally fell on earth one day bringing with them fire, iron, the forge, and cattle. Nyampundu got married to Kigwa and this led to the formation of the Tutsi clan referred to as Abanyiginya”. The lineage in this clan is traced following the ancestors “ibimanuka” which means “those fallen from heaven” to the founder referred to as “Gihanga”.

The naming of babies in the Rwandan culture is known as “Kwita Izina” and the Rwandan names have a deep significance and greatly reflect on the unique culture and family. There is a lot to discover about the Rwandan names.

A person is allowed to have three names in the Rwandan culture and this includes the Kinyarwanda given name or surname, a family name (got from the father’s side), and a Christian or Muslim name. some Rwandan families give the children a chance to choose the names they wish to have while other families give their children the same family name which gives a sort of strong family background. A month after a baby is born, a naming ceremony is held and friends and family gather to suggest names for the newborn baby and to celebrate the birth of the baby.

In the Rwandan culture, giving birth to twins is of great authority and blessings which allows the mother of the twins to greet and bless her in-laws. The in-laws are treated with a certain level of respect in Rwandan culture and married couples are forbidden from greeting their in-laws with certain exceptions given to certain couples such as a couple with twins. 

Rwandan Culture Tours
A traveler engages in the amazing Rwandan Culture Tours

Parents with twins are also believed to have supernatural powers of healing rare illnesses in children and the twins themselves are said to have a powerful connection to each other, unlike any other sibling connection. Some of the chores at home exempt twins from doing them such as cleaning the kraal as it is believed that in the Rwandan culture when twins clean the kraal, the animals in the kraal die.

Punishing one twin and leaving the other twin according to the Rwandan culture is said to emotionally torture the unpunished twin. And during the marriage, twins are expected to marry together to avoid misfortunes which happen when one twin remains unmarried.

Visit the land of a thousand hills and experience the rich Rwandan culture.

book a safari