Kipsigis - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Many Kipsigis are Christians; they hold their faith with varying degrees of orthodoxy. Non-Christians believe in a watchful but distant god, whose main manifestation is the sun. Kipsigis are likely to trace personal misfortune to transgressions committed by themselves or by one of their close kin, particularly a parent.

Ceremonies. Kipsigis have ceremonies to "greet" a mother and her newborn child and also to celebrate the completion of a new house. Marriage ceremonies have become elaborate affairs, particularly in Christian families. There are joyful and sometimes raucous public ceremonies held during the first and final states of initiation.

Arts. The Kipsigis are great singers. Choral groups often compose original songs, which are performed at ceremonies and various public events. There is a small but well-established Kalenjin music industry. Popular singers combine upbeat Western and indigenous musical styles.

Death and Afterlife. The Kipsigis bury their dead quickly. The eldest son will bury his father, and the youngest son will bury his mother. After a death, the immediate family will retreat from public life to mourn. The spirit of a recently deceased patrilineal relative is believed to be reincarnated in a newborn child.

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