Tachoni and Bukusu clans hold a traditional youths pass out ceremony

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Some of the initiates

Tachoni and Bukusu clans of the larger Luhya community over the weekend held a pass out ceremony for more than 400 youths in a ceremony known as Okhulichana (Tachoni) Sisialukho (Bukusu) In Tachoni clan, the youths who got circumcised in August this year were taken to the sacred river called Esitabicha in the morning where they went through various Okhulichana rituals. At the sacred river, the youths are spoken to by elders picked from specific dialects, 36 in number, from the Tachoni clan. In this case we have Tachoni dialects like Avasioya, Avameywa maong others that are assigned to talk blessings to the youth (avaviti).

The youths are then brought back home before 2pm. This is to ensure that it doesn’t rain when they are still at the sacred river. After reaching their home where the ceremony is taking place, the youths will be given porridge before taking any other meal.

Later on in the evening, the youths moved from one family associated with the ceremony (Inyungu) to the next to claim food and other items that they will use during the night till morning. They sung different songs from the ones that were singing during day time as they went to the sacred river. In the morning they went to the river to clean up and returned home for a hair cut session and then received new clothes.

In the Bukusu tradition, the youths are released in the evening to spend the night out in the banana plantations till morning. Before they are released, there are various rituals to be performed. In this case the youths are given long dry grass (chimuli) prepared for them by special people in the community. Lit chimuli are used by the initiates, while they run from their home to the banana plantation.

In the banana plantation they are given raw bananas, potatoes, maize to roast in the fire and eat till morning. The boys are also given instructions not to fight each other bearing in mind they got circumcised the same year (bakoki).

In the morning they go to the river and get cleaned up, put on new clothes and they start singing a specific song to show that now they have graduated from childhood. They move from one family of an initiate to the other. They are given cooked bananas which they eat, and at the same time throw the food at each other as a final ritual to mark the end of the ceremony.

The ceremony also attracted the attention of leaders across the region, amongst them political leaders. KNUT secretary general Webuye east Mr. Aggrey Murumba who is also a stronger supporter of the Tachoni culture urged people from the Western region to embrace their culture by passing it to the next generation through practice.

Evans Murumba and Dr Iyaya who have shown interest in capturing the Webuye East parliamentary seat come 2022 also contributed positively by giving donations to various groups who took their children through the initiation process as a sign of embracing the rich culture of Western Kenya.