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Tanzanian traditions

June 10, 2020
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Tanzanian traditions

The United Republic of Tanzania is the 13th largest country in Africa with 947, 303 square kilometers. This country has got a rich culture that is followed by the people of all ages. The people of Tanzania have unique cultures and they have an annual event known as the Zanzibar International Cultural Festival.

Here is more about the culture of Tanzanians;

The national languages for Tanzania are Kiswahili and English. However, most citizens prefer using Kiswahili which they consider a sign of national unity. There are also a few locals who speak in English. Although there are other 26 local languages, it is rare to hear the people conversing in such languages unless in their households. It is regarded as detrimental when a person asks another about the tribe he/she comes from or the place of origin as this is a negative ethnicity. At Zanzibar, 99 percent are Muslims who advocate for zero public displays and modest dressing fashions unless you want to enjoy swimming.

Furthermore, half of Tanzanians are Muslims who like and understand Kiswahili. In restaurants, most of them close in the morning and open during evening and especially during Ramadan when the Muslims are celebrating the Holy Month. The other major religions are Christianity, Hindu and a few traditionalists. It is easy to impress the locals when you understand some words of Kiswahili even if you’re a foreigner.

Moreover, Tanzanians value greetings a lot. When people meet whether it is on the road or in other social gatherings, salutation is the first thing that they start with. It is advisable to respond accordingly because it is regarded as one of major ways of showing respect. Every family values discipline and promotes being kind to each person ranging from neighbours, visitors and even foreigners. According to research, the people of Tanzania advocate and value self control to avoid temper.   

Traditionally, the youth are not allowed to display the affection publicly in daylight although most of them break this custom in urban centres.

It is inappropriate for women to smoke or drink alcohol especially in rural areas. More so, they are neither allowed to talk in raised voices when addressing men nor are they permitted to cross their legs when standing. However, these regulations are not adhered to by the youth. When it comes to food, they eat a variety of traditional food including Tanzanian cuisine, coconut milk, wali(rice), nyama choma(grilled meat) ugali and bamia. There are also vegetables such as mchicha, njegere, maharage(Beans) and cassava leaves. Additionally, they add flavour of the food with some spices like biryani and salad. Besides, the Culture of Tanzianias is demonstrated by their eating habits where they believe in partaking meals with the right hand even for the guests. The right hand is perceived to be clean and strong  while the left hand is viewed as dirty hence being deemed appropriate for taking food as well as using it to shake hands.

When a person uses their left hand to extend a greeting, it is considered highly disrespectful and elders can enforce a punishment to the perpetrator.  In addition, the people of Tanzania like painting various artistic images on surfaces. For example, the most popular painting is Tingatinga where enamel paints are applied on canvas. The Tingatinga painting was started by Mr. Edward Said Tingatinga who was from South Tanzania. It became popular and was adopted by many painters in the whole country. In short, Tanzania has a rich diverse culture that is strictly followed by the locals. It ranges from their love for Kiswahili language, respect to religious laws and customs. Finally, they enjoy delicious foods such as biryani, Tanzanian cuisine filled with spices, coconut milk among others.

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