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Somali Pregnancy

Somali Childbearing usually commences shortly after marriage. A woman's status is enhanced the more children she bears. Thus it is not unusual for a Somali family to have seven or eight children. The concept of planning when to have or not to have children has little cultural relevance for Somalis



 Culture is a strong part of our lives      

We know that it is important to remember that everyone has an important viewpoint and role to play when it comes to culture. You don't have to be an expert to build relationships with people different from yourself; you only need that positive attitude that every culture is unique and if were learn more about them together we can make a difference in the society and nation at large.
Culture is a strong part of our lives. It influences our views, values, humor, hopes, loyalties, and our worries and fears. It gives as a sense of belonging and that’s why even some musician would love to sing songs about their culture to shape the way people understand the world

It’s also very important to work with people from different cultures because through this we will be able to build relationship with for future referrals and also to have some perspective and understanding of their culture. Culture diversity is the way to 

Importance of Culture

Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Many countries are largely populated by immigrants, and the culture is influenced by the many groups of people that now make up the country but Somali. The culture of Somali involves the traditions in Somalia that were developed independently and through interaction with neighboring and far away civilizations. The importance of culture includes; they give a sense of shared identity and belonging, they organize our world and give us a sense of structure, they teach cultural and religious heritage, they impart family values and beliefs, they help us navigate change, they help us solve problems together, they teach us practical skills, they provide comfort and security, they help us cope with loss and trauma, they generate wonderful memories.

OUR CULTURE
We know that it is important to remember that everyone has an important viewpoint and role to play when it comes to culture. You don't have to be an expert to build relationships with people different from yourself; you only need that positive attitude that every culture is unique and if were learn more about them together we can make a difference in the society and nation at large.
Culture is a strong part of our lives. It influences our views, values, humor, hopes, loyalties, and our worries and fears. It gives as a sense of belonging and that’s why even some musician would love to sing songs about their culture to shape the way people understand the world

It’s also very important to work with people from different cultures because through this we will be able to build relationship with for future referrals and also to have some perspective and understanding of their culture. Culture diversity is the way to go

SOMALIA FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
As can be expected after years of conflict which is still unresolved, Somalia does not hold many cultural festivals. There are, however, many festivals which are linked to the national religion of Islam, including Eid al-Fitr, which signals the end of Ramadan, and Day of Ashura, which is a day of mourning for those practicing Islam. These days are important for travelers to the region, especially in Somaliland, where the events are declared as public holidays.
Independence Day
June 26 marks National Independence Day for Somalia and more than two decades without Italian rule. In 2012, violence ceased long enough for residents to finally celebrate their freedom from colonial rule. Many have criticized this day, however, as true freedom from violence and oppression has not yet been achieved.
Neeroosh
Held annually in July, Neeroosh, or Dab-shid as it is alternatively known, celebrates the beginning of the solar year in Somalia and Somaliland. While Somalis are Muslim and abide by the lunar calendar, they also use the solar calendar to make decisions about religious days, harvest times, and so forth. The festival is known as the Festival of Fire internationally as locals build huge bonfires, splash water on each other, and dance to welcome the arrival of summer. This is one of the more jovial festivals on the calendar and should not be missed.
Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Every year in August, the Islamic population of Somaliland, Puntland, and greater Somalia celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This religious holiday marks of the end of Ramadan – the holy month during which those of the Islamic faith fast. This day really is a celebration of everyone’s efforts and sacrifices. The day is marked with ceremonies in mosques around the region, the gathering of friends and families to enjoy great feasts, and perhaps the most special activity for some – the purchasing of new outfits to wear on the day.
Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
October marks the arrival an important day on the Islamic calendar. Also known as Tabaski in other North African countries, the holiday lasts for two or three days and is held to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his first born son to the Lord. In accordance with the story, locals slaughter a sheep, thus performing the same act as Ibrahim. The sheep is then cooked and used as a basis for a feast among family and friends.
Day of Ashura
Rounding off the religious calendar in November is the Day of Ashura, a day of mourning for the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who died at the Battle of Karbala. The day is commemorated by

Both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims, and is a public holiday in Somalia, during which time Muslim communities come out into the streets in their thousands to show their mourning. It is an interesting religious festival to witness or partake in.

SOMALI WEDDING CEREMONY.
For Somali communities, weddings are important communal occasions. Traditionally, Somali wedding festivities last for three entire nights. On these three nights there, is plenty of singing, dancing and celebrating on the part of the bride, groom and their guests. On some of these nights, women and men do not mingle or celebrate together; the men celebrate in one location while the women celebrate in a different site.  Among the celebrations held at night, there is a particular festivity called the Gaaf. People close to the wedding couple including those who live in far places come together to recite and listen poems; riddles and sing throughout the night during the Gaaf celebrations.
In Somali culture, it is customary for the bride, groom and their families to arrange for a lavish feast for their guests at the reception. Different traditional as well as modern types of foods are usually served for the guests to enjoy as they carry on with the festivities. A further important tradition in Somali marriage is the exchanging of gifts. The exchange is normally done between the bride’s family and groom’s family and between the invited guests and the wedding couple. The couple exchange gifts as a sign of appreciation. The invited guests on the other hand normally give gifts to the couples as a means congratulating them. The gifts can be in form of jewelry, money and other types of contributions. Somali couples marrying in Somali or those getting married in countries in the Diaspora like Canada, undergo a Muslim wedding ceremony. The marriage ceremony is normally officiated by an Imam. The Imam usually reads from the Quran and gives the couple blessings from the Quran as well. During a traditional Somalia wedding ceremony, the bride and groom give verbal acceptance of the marriage contract and exchange rings they are supposed to keep for the rest of their lives. The rings are a symbol of their unity.
Somali Wedding Ceremony
Somali wedding attire vary depending on the couple’s location, family traditions and personal preferences. Modern Somali attire is a collection of diverse influences in the Somali culture.  However traditionally, the Somali wedding attire for women include an exquisite Guntino or Dirac, a garbasaar covering for the head as well as a googaro slip that is worn under the dress. Men also dress in their traditional attire in traditional weddings.

In Somali weddings, the bride comes in first in the reception hall. The bride walks in slowly with her bridal party that includes her sister’s friends, mother and other females present. The bridal party and the marriage ceremony guests only get to sit down after the bride takes her sit in front of the hall facing the guests. The groom usually follows a few hours later with his own groom’s men in tow amid song and dance from the wedding guests. The couple then sits together facing their guests. It is customary for the couple to cut cake and serve it to their guests as well in Somali nuptials.


SOMALIA ATTIRE MEN
When not dressed in Westernized clothing such as jeans and t-shirts, Somali men typically wear the macawis (ma'awiis), which is a sarong-like garment worn around the waist and a large cloth wrapped around the upper part of their body. On their heads, they often wrap a colorful turban or wear the koofiyad, an embroidered taqiyah.
 Due to Somalia's proximity to and close ties with the Arabian Peninsula, many Somali men also wear the khamis (kamis in Somali), a long white garment common in the Arab world.

WOMEN: Somali woman in traditional garbasaar and shash.
During regular, day-to-day activities, women usually wear the guntiino, a long stretch of cloth tied over the shoulder and draped around the waist. The guntiino is traditionally made out of plain white fabric sometimes featuring with decorative borders, although nowadays alindi, a textile common in the Horn region and some parts of North Africa, is more frequently used. The garment can be worn in many different styles and with different fabrics. For more formal settings such as weddings or religious celebrations like Eid, women wear the dirac, a long, light, diaphanous voile dress made of cotton, polyester or saree fabric. The dirac is related to the short-sleeved Arabian kaftan dress. It is worn over a full-length half-slip and a brassiere. Known as the gorgorad, the underskirt is made out of silk and serves as a key part of the overall outfit. The dirac is usually sparkly and very colorful, the most popular styles being those with guilded borders or threads. The fabric is typically acquired from Somali clothing stores in tandem with the gorgorad. In the past, dirac fabric was also frequently purchased from South Asian merchandisers.
Married women tend to sport head-scarves referred to as shash, and also often cover their upper body with a shawl known as garbasaar. Unmarried or young women, however, do not always cover their heads. Traditional Arabian garb such as the jilbab is also commonly worn.
Additionally, Somali women have a long tradition of wearing gold and silver jewelry, particularly bangles. During weddings, the bride is frequently adorned in gold. Many Somali women by tradition also wear gold necklaces and anklets. Additionally, xirsi, an Islamic necklace likewise donned in Ethiopia and Yemen, is frequently worn.

Sayyid Muhammad Abdullah Hassan The Mad Mullah

 Sayyid Muhammad Abdullah Hassan (born 1856, Somalia, died 1920, Ogaden) was Somalia's religious and nationalist leader (called the ‘Mad Mullah’ by the British). For 20 years he led armed resistance against British, Italian, and Ethiopian colonialist forces in Somalia.

He was the eldest son of Sheikh Abdille, a religious Ogaden Somali. Hassan's hero was his maternal grandfather, Sade Mogan, who was a great warrior chief. In addition to being a good horseman, by 11, Hassan had learned the entire Qur'an by heart. In 1875, he worked as a Qur'anic teacher. He then devoted 10 years to visiting centres of Islamic learning in Somalia and Sudan.

In 1891 he married and in 1894, he went on Hajj. He stayed in Makkah for a year and half and joined the Saalihiya suffi order. In 1895, he returned to Somalia. By then the Ethiopians were plundering and occupying Somali Ogaden. Somalia came under rule of several countries including UK, Italy and Ethiopia.

In 1897, fearing Christian influence he started preaching religious reform. Hassan got weapons from Turkey, Sudan, and other Muslim countries. He appointed ministers in different areas of Somalia and sent emissaries appealing for Somalis to join his movement.

In 1900 Hassan attacked the Ethiopian garrison at Jijiga successfully. He then raided British areas. From 1901-1904, the Dervish army inflicted heavy losses on Ethiopian, British and Italian forces. By 1913, Hassen ruled the entire hinterland of the Somali peninsula.

In 1920, the British struck Hassan’s settlements with a air and land attack and inflicted defeats. Hassan’s army fled to Ogaden. Here he tried to rebuild. He refused a British subsidy peace deal. Then smallpox and rinderpest broke out in Ogaden and half of Hassan’s forces died.

A tribal raid under Somalis armed by the British killed the remaining Dervish but failed to catch Hassan. Along with some followers, he escaped to Arsi Oromo in Ethiopia where he tried to stabilize his position.

In 1920, Hassan died of influenza at the age of 64.

Araweelo The Somali Ancient Queen 

Arawelo was a Somali queen. She was the first born of three daughters and natural heir to the dynasty. Like many female rulers, Arawelo fought for female empowerment; she believed society should be based on a matriarchy. She is one of the earliest female rulers in the world who was also a figure of female empowerment, and was known to castrate male prisoners. Arawelo was well-known throughout Africa, and the Queen of Sheba was said to send gifts to her in the form of gold coins as a congratulatory gesture (although the Queen of Sheba is usually placed in the 10th century BC).
The queen was well known for defying gender roles. Before she was queen, during the Buraan droughts, she and a team of women fetched water and hunted to prevent her town from migrating and to relieve starvation. During her reign, Arawelo's husband objected to her self-ascribed role as the breadwinner to all of society, as he thought women should be restrict themselves to merely domestic duties about the house and leave everything else to men. In response, Arawelo demanded that all women across the land abandon their womanly role in society, and started hanging men by their testicles. The strike was successful, forcing men to assume more child-rearing and creating a role reversal in society.
Arawelo thought this role reversal was necessary since she saw women as natural peacekeepers. Growing up she noticed that men were more often instigators, participators and conductors of war. She did not only fight for the liberation of women in feudal society but for the dominance of women as she saw them as better, more efficient leaders. Her throne was passed down to an unknown next of kin, though many versions suggest it was her niece, Araxsan.


LET’S LEARN ABOUT THE ETHIOPIAN CULTURE


Ethiopia has a diverse mix of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. It is a country with more than 80 different ethnic groups each with its own language, culture, custom and tradition. One of the most significant areas of Ethiopian culture is its literature, which is represented predominantly by translations from ancient Greek and Hebrew religious texts into the ancient language Ge'ez, modern Amharic and Tigrigna languages.
Gender
In Ethiopia, men and women have clearly defined roles. Traditionally men are responsible for providing for the family and for dealing with family contact outside the home whereas women are responsible for domestic work and looking after the children.
Parents are stricter with their daughters than their sons; often parents give more freedom to males than females. The traditional view was men neither cook nor do shopping because housework tends to be women's job. This view continues to be held in many areas of the country
Although many people continue to follow these traditional roles, life is constantly evolving including the role of men and women. This can be seen particularly true in urban areas where women are beginning to take a major role in all areas of employment and men are beginning to take a greater role in domestic life.
Costume
The Ethiopian traditional costume is made of woven cotton. Ethiopian men and women wear this traditional costume called gabbi or Netella. Women often wear dresses (Kemis) and netella with borders of coloured embroidered woven crosses, but other designs are also used.
Other ethnic groups and tribes in the south and west of the country wear different costumes that reflect their own traditions. Some tribes partially cover their body with leather but others do not wear any clothes at all, merely decorating their faces and bodies with distinctive images.
Food
The Ethiopian national dish is called wat. It is a hot spicy stew accompanied by injera (traditional large spongy pancake made of teff flour and water). Teff is unique to the country and is grown on the Ethiopian highlands. There are many varieties of wat, e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, lentils, and ground split peas stewed with hot spice called berbere
Berbere is made of dried red hot pepper, herbs, spices, dried onions, dried garlic and salt ingredients. Wat is served by placing it on top of the injera which is served in a mesob (large basket tray). The food is eaten with fingers by tearing off a piece of injera and dipping it in the wat.
Vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains, fruit, varieties of vegetable stew accompanied by injera and/or bread are only eaten during fasting days. Meat and diary products are only eaten on feasting days i.e. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and at all other times. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, Jews and Muslims do not eat pork as it forbidden by their religious beliefs.
. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church belief, the faithful must abstain from eating meat and diary products to attain forgiveness of sins committed during the year, and undergo a rigorous schedule of prayers and atonement. cheese) on Wednesdays and Fridays except the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, the Fast of the Prophets, the fast of Nineveh, Lent, the Fast of the Apostles and the fast of the Holy Virgin Mary. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church belief, the faithful must abstain from eating meat and dairy products to attain forgiveness of sins committed during the year, and undergo a rigorous schedule of prayers and atonement.

Vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains, fruit, and varieties of vegetable stew accompanied by injera and/or bread are only eaten during fasting days. Meat and dairy products are only eaten on feasting days i.e. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and at all other times. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, Jews and Muslims do not eat pork as it forbidden by their religious beliefs.
Drink
The favourite drink of many Ethiopians is bunna (coffee). Bunna is drunk in Ethiopia in a unique and traditional way known as a "coffee ceremony". First the coffee is roasted, then ground and placed in a Jebena (coffee pot) with boiling water. When ready it is then served to people in little cups, up to three times per ceremony.
Other locally produced beverages are tella and tej, which are served and drunk on major religious festivals, Saints Days and weddings. Tella and tej are also sold by numerous designated commercial houses all over the country.


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THE SOMALI CULTURE

The Somali people share a common language, Somali, and most are Muslims. In spite of national boundaries, all Somalis consider themselves one people. This unity makes them one of Africa's largest ethnic groups. The most widely recognized symbol is the camel, because it provides transportation, milk, meat, income, and status to a majority of Somalis. Other symbols of Somalia are the five-pointed white star on the Somali flag and the crescent, which represents the new moon and is a universal symbol of the Islamic faith. Each point of the star represents a land that is home to Somali people: the portion within the national boundaries. Somalis hope that one day all these territories that cause war will become a unified Somali nation.
FOOD AND ECONOMY.
Food in daily life: Milk from camels, goats, and cows is a major food for Somali herdsmen and nomadic families. Young men tending camel herds during the rainy season may drink up to ten quarts of milk a day. Aging camels may be slaughtered for their meat, especially when guests are expected for a celebration, and the fatty camel's hump is considered a delicacy. Meat, including liver, from sheep and goats also is popular, but meat is served only a few times a month, usually on special occasions. Durra (grain sorghum), honey, dates, rice, and tea are other food staples for nomads. Farmers in southern Somalia grow corn, beans, sorghum, millet, squash, and a few other vegetables and fruits. Boiled millet and rice are staples, but rice must be imported. The most popular bread is muufo, flat bread made from ground corn flour. Somalis season their food with butter and ghee, the clear liquid skimmed from melted butter. They also sweeten their food with sugar, sorghum, or honey. A holdover from Italian occupation in the south is a love for pasta and marinara sauce. Although fish is plentiful in the waters off the Somali coast, Somalis generally do not like fish. In accordance with the Muslim faith, they do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Milk, tea, coffee, and water are favorite drinks. Carbonated drinks are available in cities.Among nomads and farmers, cooking is usually done over a wood or charcoal fire outdoors or in a communal cooking




Somali traditional dance


The African country of Somalia has many traditional dances. Dances like dhantur (also known as Dhaanto) are performed by groups of women and men, who dance opposite one another, sometimes taking partners and sometimes dancing in their gender groups. Somalian dances are generally set to a 4/4 time signature. Most involve simple, rhythmic footwork. In Dhaanto, the dancers enter by skipping: this is a move the majority of Westerners will know. You begin on your right foot, pushing off and jumping up. Land on your right foot again, and hop onto your left foot, pushing off and jumping up. Land on your left foot, and repeat the entire sequence of moves. Dhaanto involves a lot of clapping. You'll clap on beats 1 and 3 of a four-beat bar. Alternate which hand goes on top as you clap: first, clap with your right hand on top and your left underneath, then switch. Another Dhaanto arm movement is a simple swing. As you move forward or backward, swing your arms as if you were walking fast, with your elbows slightly bent and your hand ending up about a foot and a half in front of you, at your head's height. Swing up on beat one, and back down on beat two. Begin with the right arm, and then swing the left on beats three and four.

  By: Sally Wafula - E.Y.F Secretary

The Culture of Somalis is an Amalgamation of Traditions indigenously Developed or Accumulated over a Timeline spanning Several Millennia of Somali Civilization's Interaction through Cultural diffusion with Neighboring and far away Civilizations such as Ethiopia, Yemen, India and Persia.
Due to the Somali people's Passionate Love for and facility with Poetry, Somalia has often been referred to by scholars as a "Nation of Poets" and a "Nation of Bards" including, among others, the Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence
All of these Traditions, including Festivals, Martial arts, Dress, Literature, Sport and Games such as Shax, have immensely contributed to the Enrichment of Somali Heritage.