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Culture of Zambia - village huts

Culture of Zambia

Discover the traditions, heritage and culture of Zambia with tips from our experts.

The Zambian culture has its roots in native traditions but it is usually only in the rural regions that they are strictly followed, such as lobola, a dowry that is given to the parents of a new bride. Most Zambian people follow Christianity although there are a few Muslims and Hindus and followers of traditional tribal belief systems. When a member of a community dies, morning is done loudly and emotionally during the burial.

Music and dance are an integral part of the culture of Zambia. When you enjoy one of our Zambia tours you will find that there are many initiation ceremonies in the society that involve drumming and dance. A thumb piano known as the mbira is an integral part of local music. It was near extinction in the 1930s, but made a comeback in the 1960s and is now popular in the world music scene.

Culture is best seen in the busy markets where the local Zambian people congregate and shop.

Kwela, a penny-whistle based street music, Afro-jazz, gospel, and jit (electric-guitar focused pop music), rumba and Bulawayo (Zimbabwean hip hop)are also all popular musical styles, which you can experience on your Zambia tours.

Top Zambian Travel Tips – Culture

  • If someone approaches you, it is expected that you will give the first greeting, which is important for establishing a conversation
  • Handshakes are popular but men should not offer their hand upon greeting a woman unless she offers it first
  • Gift giving is considered a sign of friendship and honor, therefore it is considered insulting to refuse a gift
  • Always accept gifts with both hands as you thank the person.
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