Culture of Burundi

The main languages spoken in the Burundian republic are Kirundi, French (both official) and Swahili. It is the second most densely populated country on the African mainland (after Rwanda). The vast majority of people are Christians (75%), around 20% Burundians follow African religions with a few percent of people being Muslim. The major ethnic groups are Hutu (84%), Tutsi (14%) and Twa (1%).

The traditional clothing is a cloth wraparound called a pagne. In rural areas women, girls and elderly men still wear them over dresses, blouses or shirts. Women also wear scarves over their heads. Men always wear long pants as shorts are just worn by young children and schoolboys

Burundian cuisine often contains potatoes, bananas and beans and sometimes fish. Meat gets eaten just occasionally and through their reverence for cattle (status, wellbeing, security) it should not be their own and not a cow. In some regions it is taboo to heat or boil milk because people believe this might interfere with their cow’s dairy production.

During celebrations and gatherings, Burundians drink homemade banana wine and beer, sometimes drinking through straws from a single large container.

Traditional activities such as drumming and dancing contain aspects of both culture and competition: Traditional drumming of karyenda is an important part of Burundian cultural heritage, as indicated by the world-famous Royal Drummers of Burundi. Traditional dance often accompanies the drumming, which is frequently seen in celebrations and family gatherings, the Intore Dancers, a group that celebrates national folklore, has won numerous international folk dance competitions, and drummers compete with the traditional Karyenda drums. Burundi’s best-known cultural export is a troupe of traveling musicians called Les Maîtres-Tambours du Burundi (Drummers of Burundi).

The following relate to the culture of Burundi

Gishora Sacred Drums

Traditional Music Instruments in Burundi


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