True variety of ethnicity
Shows itself in diverse ceremonies
Behold the carnival and traditions
Dancing vivaciously with folkloristic passion.
The land of now
With easy know-how
Guinea-Bissau, time to visit now.
FOLK AND HANDICRAFTS
It’s worth visiting Guinea not only for its natural beauty, but also for its extremely rich variety of folklore, handicraft and traditions.
Each ethnic group has different cultures and traditions, with has different forms for linguistic expressions, dance, music, handicraft.
Dance is truly a cultural expression, that changes deeply with the different ethnical groups.
Animistic cultures have always expressed their feelings trough dances of great aesthetical quality, with colorful choreographies.
They are not shows for tourists; dances are part of everyday local life during weddings, funerals, initiation ceremonies.
Music is mainly an african one. There are rhythms from Cabo Verde and Western Africa mixed with the “zouk” from Antille.
But the most common musical style is “gumbè”, city music typical of Guinea Bissau, born during the second world war.
Sculpture is Guinean main form of art, varied in the different ethnical groups.
The highest level is found in the art of Bijagòs islands. Many works draw their inspiration from the marine creatures like sharks and great predators that for centuries have populated the people’s culture. In these islands, art melts with magical and religious beliefs. The polychrome little statues’ quality is so high that attracts collectors of the entire world.
Another important section is related to overworldly life and produces works that represent the ancestors and allow to communicate with them. For this reason, the statues must be made following precise rules. One peculiar kind is the one that represents Iran, a traditional worshipped creature, half bird and half man, which protects whom who worships it and retaliates upon whom who despises it.
There are also many ornaments used by dancers.
Coming from art and music, Guinea’s handicraft is rich of all kinds of traditions. Crafts are made utilizing many local resources: metal, stone, ceramics, shells, wood, bamboo, withe, fabric and others.
The typical african cuisine in Guinea Bissau presents an interesting variety of menus.
Among the ingredients you find mancara’s juice (peanut), palm oil, meat (pig, chicken and gazelle), rice and rice flour. And then, any kind of the freshest fish, grilled and provided by fishermen all over the coast, on the islands, and on all the many branches of the rios even inside on the continent.
Sea shells, oisters and shrimps are excellent too.
You can also find typical dishes of near by countries, such as Cachupa from Cabo Verde or Yassa from Senegal, arranged following the Guinean taste.
With fruits gathered in Guinea Bissau are made very good juices: from Baobab (cabaceira), from cajù (anacard), from tambarina (tamarind). With the same fruits, and also with mango, are made marmelades. And flours of vegetable origin are used to make drinks and curative teas.
Wine production is widespread; distillates are made from oil palm and caju, the last ones not always appreciated by Europeans.
Where to buy
Artistic and gastronomy works are sold by the people all over the country, in the markets and in the cities. Some ONGs have them produced and sold in their shops, so to help villages to gain with their work.
FOLKLORE EVENTS IN SPECIAL MOMENTS OF THE YEAR
At different times of the year, there are many folkloristic manifestations.
Besides the various gastronomic feasts, the main events are:
Very important feast, very original and different from all other carnivals around the world. This event becomes a cultural and artistic manifestation that synthesizes the different ethnological groups’ beliefs, the animistic traditions, and Christian religion.
Traditional maturity ceremony for 25/30 years of age, hold in villages.
the Toca choro
Traditional ceremony in memory of a person.
Traditional fighting, usually hold between January and March.
In order to know when the events are programmed and to book, ask for information at the address on page CONTACTS.
In the boxes at right there are some suggestions.
Details on Carnival or on manifestations that are held on particular times of the year are in the boxes on page THE CARNIVAL.
|Guinea Bissau tourism||Network for Ecotourism|