In a typical Luhya homestead, Christmas Day came with pomp and color with a few things in the homestead, from the cooking to children’s attitude, and above all, the art.
The Luhya cultural observance of Christmas Day bought from the traditional art of drawing and decorations on walls to mark important days. Women would go for the quality clay soil found in river banks and swamps, mostly red or grey in color, mix it with cow dung and smear on walls and come up with fascinating patterns.
Ann Nasike, 44, reminisces the olden days when this was very meaningful and would give the Luhya people an identity, and regrets that the culture is fading away because people no longer live in mud houses or don’t regard Christmas Day with the reverence it used to get.
She has, however, kept this special tradition in her homestead, and her house is among the few in Kiwanja Ndege Village in Lugari Sub-County, Kakamega County, with the special drawings and patterns.
To come up with the amazing art, Anita breaks the soil into little particles and then mixes it with fresh cow dung and water, stirs it thoroughly into a smooth uniform mix and then, using her hands, smears it on the wall first to rebrand the whole building.
She then uses another type of clay with a different color to draw beautiful flowers on the walls. It can be flowers or anything significant, the traditional guard, pot, plants or even the symbol of Jesus Christ, and could be accompanied by words such as “Merry Xmas”, “Welcome All” or “Happy New Year”.
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