¡Shadows! Shadows? Yes, let us speak a little about shadows. You have probably heard of this word although you might have not paid much attention to it as it deserves. There is a taboo of a famous ethnic group of Kenya inhabiting the western part of the country. In this region, both the living and the dead are held in very high regards. In a community where agriculture is the main economic activity, traditionally after each harvest, a sacrifice is offered to the ancestors. This ceremony is always done in the nights of the full moon, around a fire where the sacrifice is burnt. Stop a bit. Why just during nights of the full moon? Well, it is because the shadows are more visible and this allows the incorporation of the dead in the ritual. It is a belief that the souls of the dead are pleased by the smoke that comes out of the fire that is lit up. Each family, including children, always meets after the harvest of the crops to do this ritual. In these moments the dead supposedly rise from the tombs and unite with the families in forms of the shadows. Shadows? Yes, shadows. They cannot be seen but it is believed that they are present. Therefore, it is said that when the smoke starts rising from the fire is forbidden to look the shadows. The power of these souls of the dead can lead one to the rivers and even kill him. Although this taboo has changed over time, people still continue respecting it. For example, today the parents threaten to the children not to look at their shadows in the night during dinner. They say this so that the children can concentrate on their food and not get distracted from the stories told during the family dinners.
Now you can understand why I, a western Kenyan, eat without looking at my shadow during the night; it's a part of my culture. Yes, the shadows.