The word “Burkina” means “free man”. This name was given to the country in 1084 to suit the people better. After years of colonial rule and coups things have stabilized in and this is now one of the most peaceful countries of the world. The people here are warm, gentle and humble.
Burkina Faso is a place of great ethnic and linguistic diversity. The major religion is Islam with 50 pc of the people following this religion. People mainly belong to the “sunni” group with some percentage of “shias” as well. Around 40pc of the people follow the traditional ethnic practices here and rest 10pc are Christians.
This country has a total of 60 ethnic and linguistic groups. The colonial rule has played a crucial role in the development of such cultural diversity. The slaves brought in from other places to work here and some of the people from colonies settling in here and the like. This has led to development of an intense mixture of people with great variation in the cultural and ethnic beliefs.
From the cultural perspective, overall the people here are somewhat conservative. The members of the opposite sex walk at a distance from each other and display of affection publicly is not allowed. Usually people shy away from a direct eye contact when they talk to each other but it is present to some extent. Too much of it is, however, considered a threat. The children too respect their elders a lot and do not look directly into their eyes.
There are a number of places where a number of people are out during the night. This has become more common with the increasing number of tourists. The night life at Burkina Faso is more vibrant, especially when the hot wind blows across this country in summers.
As the people here are conservative, the women here are treated more like the second class citizens, particularly in the villages. The women in the cities have somewhat more equal status and are allowed to hang out and their view point is as well. Still the there is not that freedom as is prevalent in the west.
This place bears a strict law and order. Law becomes sticker when a village is wholly dwelled by the Muslims. They won’t allow the things like alcohol and drugs enter their village boundaries. However, there is no such thing in case people from different communities live in a village. Crimes like theft are dealt sternly and the people may beat the thief to death. Even if police catches the thief, he is arrested and punished. Similarly, the crimes like drug trafficking and use are also associated with severity.
Food and drinks
Being predominantly a Muslim country, the culture shows the impact of Islamic teachings. You have to make sure you use spoon if your hands are unclean but preferably use you right hand to relish the food here as using the left hand is not considered clean.
The food involves both the non-vegetarian delights preferably the chicken and guinea fowl and their soup. The traditional delights include Riz Gras (Rice cooked in Tomato sauce), Riz Sauce, Haricots verts (green beans) and salade etc. The snacks include Gateau (fried dough), Beignets (bean flour, fried), Alloco etc. The important drinks include sweet ginger drink (Gingembre or Yamoku), millet beer (Dolo), hibiscus leaf cold sweet tea (Bisap) etc.
With the influx of the growing number of tourists there are certain changes in the food and drinking habits of the people. There are a number of hotels in Burkina Faso, where a variety of dishes of foreign origin are served. Some of these dishes have been opted and chosen by some locals as well. The interaction of the locals with the foreigners is changing certain things here as well besides, the natives who visit different countries for variety of purposes. All this is changing the course of this country to certain level.
Facts and Figures
Area: 105,869 sq miles
Nearest Airport: Ouagadougou
Currency: CFA Franc