by Caroline Achieng Otieno
Within my community as in many African communities, death is seen as a great and irredeemable tragedy even when it occurs in old age. The reverence with which the Luo people view their ancestors is observed in the performance of a series of rituals and many feasts for the dead. They perform more than ten kinds of different rituals for the deceased, largely held in their rural homeland. In this regard, the Luos are generally known in Kenya as a people seriously concerned with their burial place, far more than any other ethnic group. The Luo believe that the dead can see what the living are doing and show their veneration for deceased ancestors by calling on them to bless their homes. The community holds the strong belief that if these rituals are not performed and if burial does not occur in a designated place, which is normally on the ancestral land, then chira (curse or bad luck) will follow the family left behind.