Uhuru, Margaret Undergo Russian Ritual Moments After Landing

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, October 23, arrived in the Russian resort city of Sochi for the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit.

    President Kenyatta was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta arrived from Japan where he was a special guest of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the historic enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito on Tuesday, October 22.

    On arrival, the President was received at Sochi International Airport by senior Russian Government officials and the Kenyan Chargé D'Affaires, (a.i) in Moscow, Winnie Mwanjala.

    At the airport, the two were treated to one of the oldest Russian traditions - the Bread and Salt welcome Ceremony.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta

    According to the todiscoverrussia.com, the ceremony is held when welcoming important, respected or admired guests.

    Young women donning traditional costumes present the loaf of bread placed on a rushnik (embroidered towel).

    "A salt holder or a salt cellar is placed on top of the bread loaf or secured in a hole on the top of the loaf," the Russian website states.

    In photos shared by the Presidential Strategic and Communications Unit (PSCU), President Uhuru and the First Lady are seen nibbling on the special bread minutes after alighting from the plane.

    The tradition originated as a folk custom in western Russia. Bread in Russia symbolizes abundance and wealth.

    "If you are presented with a “Bread and Salt”, you should help yourself for sure: you need to break off a piece of bread, dip it in salt and eat it with a smile. You should not refuse, or the host would get greatly offended," the discovery site advises.

    On the sidelines of the Summit, which is being attended by over 40 Heads of State and Government, the President will hold bilateral talks with his host President Vladimir Putin of Russia.


    The Kenyan delegation will be pursuing trade and investment partnerships especially in the Big 4 Agenda focus areas of health, affordable housing, food security and manufacturing.