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Retracing the Origin of Kalenjin “Rötet” Mass Prayer

Dr J Peristiany in his 1939 book, Social Institutions of the Kipgsis and Gerald Fish in his book, Kalenjin Heritage both pen that “Rötet” was an important ceremony which was performed every year by the Kalenjin to thank God for good life, wealth, a disease free-society, more children,good weather etc. Dr Kipkoeech araap Sambu too wrote at length about this ceremony in his recent works.

Rötet was performed in places now named Kapkoros(church) all over Kalenjiland. This ceremony involved all pure people going round the alter four times while singing special songs chief. It involved roasting the best part of the meat as it was believed that the smoke from the meat would reach Asis(God) in heaven. I would liken it to the current “Mass prayer” in our churches.

Rötet is abviously what gave Europe the verb, rotate! My dictionary describes ‘rotate” as “move or cause to move in a circle round an axis or centre” which in Kalenjin is root or phonetically “röt” ie to move anticlockwise during “Rötet” prayers in the Church (Kapkorosut).

Rotate is rotieren in Germany, rotere in Danish and Norwegian, rodar(Portuguese), roteieren in Luxembourgish language, although the Romanic equivalent roti is the closesest to Kalenjin verb “rote” or röti and closely rogaa in Somali language.

Rötet last performed in the 1940s or earlier before Kalenjin lost their pride and legacy reminds me of another Greek word, Etikos which gave us Ethics or ethos but also survive in Kalenjin as Etan or etanutik. There have been discussions among elders to revive and restore ‘Rötet’ .

Content created and supplied by: MissRova (via Opera News )

Europe Gerald Fish Kalenjin Heritage Kalenjin Rötet Kapkoros(


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