Local traditions and culture in Burkina Faso

  • The women of the village
    The women of the village
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  • Dancers in move
    Dancers in move
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  • Local Customs
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Burkina Faso

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    THE CURRENCY OF BURKINA FASO

    by DAO Updated Oct 1, 2012


    The currency of Burkina Faso is the West African CFA Franc. You may see it written as "F CFA" and you will hear it pronounced "see-fuh" or "see-fah". Officially it is the Communaute Financiere Africaine (CFA) Franc issued by the Central Bank of the States of West Africa (BCEAO). If you are looking for the exchange rates for their currency you will need to look for the symbol “XOF”. The 8 countries that use this same currency make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and they are:
    Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sénégal and Togo.

    The denominations are:
    Coins 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 250, 500 francs
    Banknotes 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 francs

    Originally this currency was aligned with a parity value to the Euro – but this has slipped quite a bit. It is, however, externally convertibility as it is guaranteed by the French Treasury.

    A few words of caution:
    There is another CFA – issued by the Central Bank of the States of West Africa (BCEAO). It is called the Central African CFA Franc and you will see it listed as “XAF” in exchange rates. Theoretically they are exactly the same value, but the notes and coins are different. Don’t take Central African CFA from anyone. Also do not try and take any CFA home with you for exchange. Outside of Paris you may find it virtually impossible to exchange back.

    Don’t expect to see to many 1 and 5 CFA coins. The 50-500 range of coins are extremely useful, especially when you haggle for prices. Try to only have 1000 and 2000 notes. 10,000 notes (about 15 Euro, $20) are a nightmare to get rid of.

    Old notes that are falling to bits can still be used and people will accept them.

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    Local music: Balafons

    by hydronetta Written Feb 19, 2008

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    Balafon is a traditional musical instrumental typical of West Africa. In Burkina is found mainly in the areas in the South. Balafon consists of wooden keys of varying lengths positioned on a wooden frame. Below each key is a calabash (a vine grown for its fruit, but dried used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe!) which acts to make the typical sound. A balafon can differ on its shape length and key number according to the tribe using it. A fine occasion to see them is to visit the music museum in Bobo Dioulasso.

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    Gaoua museum - the sacrifice

    by pfsmalo Written Apr 12, 2007

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    The small statues outside of a Lobi house act as an altar and also for the bringing of good luck to the house. As such, there has to be a sacrifice to the statues to help them(the statues) make the decisions as regards the house. A Lobi will not undertake a voyage or make an important decision without first consulting his fetishes. People who know Africa will know that this is true of many Africans, even those that practice another religion, whether Christianism or Islam. Although this sacrifice was not really gory, it is not for the squeamish.

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    Fetiches 2

    by jantichm Written Jan 6, 2005

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    Normally people sacrifice hens or chickens.

    Although depending on the importance of the request they can can sacrifice lambs or cows too.

    Near Bobo Diulasso there's a river where it is custom to sacrifice animals and offer its guts to sacred fishes (siluros) that live there.

    There's frequent to see civil servants requesting ascents or not to be
    dismissed when the Gobernment changes

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    Fetiches

    by jantichm Written Jan 6, 2005

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    Burkina Faso is a country basically animist.

    Although an important part of the population of Burkina is Muslim or Christian, the majority practices animistic rites too.

    You can see altars for sacrifices or fetiches in the strangest places

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    Animal sacrificies

    by Svillegas Written Feb 3, 2004

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    You should remember that you are in Africa, there are some local cultural traditions that are still in practise like animal sacrifices. Try not to be too sensitive, although for you it can seem a barbaric it is normal for them and they really believe on it.

    Recuerda que estas en Africa, existen tradiciones locales que todavía estan en practica como por ejemplo los sacrificios de animales. Intenta no ser demasiado sensible, aunque a ti te parezca una barbarie para ellos es muy normal y realmente creen en ello.

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  • wedding gifts

    by lizad Updated Sep 8, 2003

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    Women in Burkina Faso receive a lot of wedding presents and these are displayed in the front room of the house for every one to see. Druing the wedding ceremonies they are displayed in the house of the bride and guest can come and admire them It is common for a bride and her relatives to have a photo taken with the presents.

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  • Unusual wedding customs

    by lizad Written Sep 8, 2003

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    the Jula ethnic group of Burkina Faso has a practice of carrying the bride around in a special bed, with adult men holding the bed and dancing to the drums and singing that accompanies the celebrations

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    Slow down!

    by sarahandgareth Written Jun 4, 2003

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    I think one of the most important things to develop in Burkina Faso is patience. Life moves at a very different rhythm to that of most Western travellers, and if you are going to enjoy your journey, you simply have to accept that.

    Sometimes, your bus will leave hours or even days late, because they want it to fill up completely or because there's some mechanical problem.

    Sometimes, it's just that people are curious to talk to you and you find your time is no longer really your own. But at the end, you're the visitor, so it's best to adjust. Even greetings can be quite demanding from a traveller's perspective: Burkinabè have ritualised greetings, like in many countries, so when taking your hand, they'll ask, How are you? And your family? And your job? And your journey?

    Again, get used to it: it's part of what makes the country fascinating, and make an effort to answer the questions and respond with a few of your own. The first time I asked people how their families and jobs were was the first time I really felt that I gone beyond just being a tourist, if only for a moment.

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    People are friendly in Burkina...

    by Narviking Written Aug 25, 2002

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    People are friendly in Burkina Faso. Dont refuse if the locals invite you for a cup of tea and want to chat with you. Its so interesting to meet them and see their way of life. PHOTO: SOME PEOPLE IN NORTHERN BURKINA FASO SITTING IN THEIR TENT.

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    In the Northern part of...

    by lichinga Written Aug 24, 2002

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    In the Northern part of Burkina, you may meet the Peul people. They wear a tipical coical-sahped hat, made with straw and leather. A lot of people buy them as a souvenir and they can be easily found in the main market places.

    By my point of view, it is extremely interesting to see how farming is organised in Burkina, taking into consideration that all the rain will fall in a limited number of days. People traditionally prepares holes, with half-moon shape, in which all the different kind of seeds are sown: the staple cereals - sorghum and pearl millet - manage to give a cob in 47 days. The problem is it is difficult for the farmers to keep their own seeds, which are the only ones to grant these characteristics: if they should rely on the seed from the market, no suitable variety may be found. Unfortunately, keeping the seeds is possible as far as you don't need to face shortages during the dry season: should this happen, farmers will have to eat their own seeds. This is the reason several NGO's projects aim at re-establishing some sort of village-level common organisation for redistribution of local seeds to farmers in need. As you may easily imagine, this is not the kind of policy that multinationals, the WTO rules and the priorities of people wanting to patent natural products will accept!

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Burkina Faso Local Customs

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