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Why Traditional Circumcision is Preferred to Modern Hospital Initiation among the Luhya Communities

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There is always celebrations among the Luhya communities in the month of August of every even year. For instance, there were ceremonies in the year 2020 whereby young men were initiated to adulthood. The next time such will happen is the year 2022 since it is an even year. In the past, it was unheard of for a full grown man to be seen being initiated through modern way of being circumcised in the hospital. Nowadays, many people have indeed changed from these archaic practices and therefore no longer value the traditional way. However, those still in the past culture value the traditional way far much better than the modern way.

First of all, traditional circumcision involves many difficult practices where candidates go through a lot. Some candidates are literally slapped, made to dance the whole night with traditional bell like metals attached with sisal reeds. Some are only covered with animal skin or just a short without a shirt. They are expected to stay without a shirt the whole night. They are then led to the river in the morning when there is too much cold. This makes them more courageous and strong men. Making them pass through all these makes them strong men and therefore traditional way of circumcision appears better to them. Those initiated in the hospital are not considered strong men since they have not gone through this kind of hard and difficult process.

Secondly, traditional way of circumcision originated long time ago during the times of their ancestors. The Luhya community will therefore be proud if such customs are practiced in the present times. Following what their fore fathers did has proven to be their pride and therefore their ancestors are happy. Being circumcised in the hospital is considered as disobedience to their ancestors and therefore it is discouraged. Those circumcised at home are even not allowed to interact with those circumcised in the hospital.

However, the modern way of circumcision is considered safe, cheaper and faster. It will only involve one going to the hospital and getting circumcised. It has nothing to do with killing animals, buying unnecessary food stuffs and raw materials for traditional brew as it is done among in the traditional way. The knives used on one candidate will still be used on the other and therefore not safe. Incase one candidate has suffered a certain disease; it will be spread to the rest of the candidates who happens to use that knife. It is important therefore to be very careful since not every tradition has to be followed. It is a personal decision though since every one wants to fit in the community of his or her own. We have other tribes that do female circumcision whereby members proudly embrace.

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