Africa is one of the richest and diversified countries of the world. Within the country, there are numerous cultures, languages, ethnic groups, music, etc. Anyone is bound to get enchanted by the variety it holds so beautifully together. African culture was first rejected by the westerners as they were more influenced by the European culture and Christianity, but with the uplift of African patriotism, its culture rejuvenated significantly spreading all across the globe. Till date, each African city manifests their own national identity in the form of ethnic group, music, art, dance and so on.
African Art and Craft:
Art signifies and represents the beautiful African culture and their distinctiveness. It is mostly based over the common theme that include a couple, a woman and a child, a male handling a weapon or animal and the last one being a stranger.
African people are not open to sexual intimacy and rarely would you see men and women expressing their affection and compassion in public. In African culture, a couple exemplifies strength and honor more than love and intimacy. The art including a woman and a child epitomizes the desire of African mothers for having children, indicating the culture is very family-oriented. A male with a weapon or animal is usually only presented to give honor to the departed ancestors. People, even today, take great pride in receiving such art than the ownership of an automobile.
Appearance is of great importance to African people and thus comes the matter of elegant symbolic jewelry. They usually are made up of cowrie shells which is their traditional look. Another imperative ornament includes the masks which represent a variety of things. To personify immense wealth and honor, masks are designed with elaborate hair and exotic jewelry. Most of the other masks are made for specific ceremonies where it depicts spirits of the ancestors, the dead, mythological being and those beings which are believed to have a greater power over humanity.
Highly-energetic and enthusiastic music are popular in the African culture. Both music and dance is a way of expressing their feelings and having the utmost fun. It is more often used as way of communication and they have their music and moves prepared for all kinds of occasions. In the modern society, people are influenced by the western culture and that shows in the music too.
South African Jazz is one of the most vibrant music types. Its roots emerge from Marabi, a traditional music sang over the townships of South Africa in the 1930s.It was then developed and modernized to become the South African jazz that people hear today. Kwela, a music only played on a tin flute is a simple musical style with a hint of African-American jazz and swing. Reggae from the Caribbean has also been molded into the African style with drums and the music conveying strong emotions through the lyrics. One of the popular reggae singer, Lucky Dube, was awarded the Best Selling African Recording Artist as the World Music Awards ceremony in 1996.
As African culture is family-oriented and take honor and pride a vital element of their character, weddings are also prepared in such ways which can live up to their standards. The wedding is not just the marriage between two people, but a family affair or sometimes even two communities.
The interesting fact lies on how different weddings are from one African continent to the other. A common perception is that the bride is the most special person and is treated with utmost respect as they see her as the primary link between the unborn child and the ancestors.
In Ethiopia, people believe in traditions like tattooing different symbols on the bride’s abdomen to increase her beauty. On the other hand, Amhara people discuss the marriage between the families and a simple ceremony seals the pact. A priest may also well be present at the ceremony. Massai people of Kenya are quite different than other African continents and so when they grow up playing and spending time with children of their age, they often form their own relationships. However, still having the conservative edge, they strictly marry woman to a man who is a complete stranger to them and mostly are quite older than them too.
African events and festivals:
With varied tribes, culture, arts and music, Africa also shows diversity in the kind of festivals celebrated throughout the country. They are colorful, vibrant and are in categories of cultural, musical, religious and so on.
In Chad, the Mbororo people meet in a gathering which lasts about one week. It is known as the Gerewol Festival where they decorate themselves with make-up and jewelry in order to display themselves to the younger woman looking for a partner. Buying African travel tickets just to watch this one festival would be mesmerizing enough for any.
In the Central Region of Ghana, Simpa people celebrate a festival to mark the migration of their ancestors from ancient Western Sudan Empire. According to them, the migration was led by two brother and a god called Otu.
On the other hand, in Nigeria, a Durbar festival is enthusiastically celebrated after the end of the two Grand Muslim festivals in the name of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. The festival portrays the glories of the African culture before the influence of Western culture.
An interesting festival is held in the Ivory Coast, called the Festival of Masks (Fêtes des Masques), usually in November. A number of small villages gather to hold a contest in order to determine the best dancer amongst them and also pay their homage to forest spirits by wearing elaborated masks.
Similarly, large numbers of festivals are held in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana and all the other African continents.