Costums and Traditions in SUDAN

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Traditions and Customs in Sudan 1 Costumes & Traditions IN S u d a n

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Here in Sudan we have many and differentiation customs and traditions . We gathered in this research some of these traditions and customs . INTRODUCTION Traditions and Customs in Sudan 2


Ethnicity Sudan is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world]. It has nearly 200 ethnic groups speaking over 900 languages and dialects, though some of Sudan's smaller ethnic and linguistic groups have disappeared especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Migration of various groups played a part, as migrants often forget their native tongue when they move to an area dominated by another language. Some linguistic groups were absorbed by accommodation, others by conflict[]. In all of this, however, due to the strong Arabic cultural influence in the country, particularly in the northern part of the country, the Sudanese dialect of Arabic is the lingua franca spoken amongst Sudanese people needed though the English language may be spoken among the Sudanese elite and portions of the Sudanese populace[Many Sudanese are multilingual]. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 3

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The most important religious occasions are:- Traditions and Customs in Sudan 4

Religious schools - khalwa :

Religious schools - khalwa Although the Sudan adopted sharia lawn in the late 20th century, there has always been a strong Moslem influence for centuries. Originally learning was obtained from the khalwas , the religious schools where the youth learned the Koran by heart. Many of the influential people of recent times have been graduates of such schools. One of the famous institutions of this type is at Umm Dowamban , which lies on the eastern bank of the Nile beyond Geraif East and El Elafon . An eternal flame burns in the place, as was customary in all khalwas . It is a symbol also of the light that is gained through education. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 5


Ramadan Traditions and Customs in Sudan 6 Ramadan is the month when Muslims refrain from eating , drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset. Licking stamps, taking medicine; in fact anything entering the mouth is forbidden . Also vomiting or bringing up food will invalidate the fast. Sexual thoughts and actions are not allowed until after the fast is broken. They should also refrain from having bad thoughts or showing anger. In some countries the break-fast is the only meal, in others there will be another meal in the late evening and a snack in the hours before sunrise. The type of food varies too. In Sudan the main dish is usually aseeda with a sauce made of dried meat or mince and dry okra sauce [ wayka ]. In addition can be served: Soup. Salad . A meat dish- fried meat, kufta , chicken or fish. Yoghurt with cucumber. Boiled eggs. Samboksa . There will also be jugs of juice : lemon, grapefruit, mango, kerkadeh , tamarind, gamardin [ gamar el dine, apricot leather] and the staple helamour . oves .

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Ramadan makes everyone equal, so that the rich feel hunger and thirst like the poor. Many people eat together, so visitors may see groups of men seated on the ground. Each man may have brought a tray with food and drink, which is eaten communally. Passers -by are invited to partake of the food. Later the faithful [both men and women] will go to the mosque to do special prayers called el terawih which are only done in Ramadan.. During Ramadan, cafes and restaurants are not allowed to sell food until the sunset prayers have been done. Non-Muslims should respect the fact that Muslims are fasting and not eat , drink or smoke in their presence. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 7

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* Aseeda is a porridge like dish made from sorghum which has been slightly fermented, and to which fresh sorghum flour and water are added daily. Some of the runny mixture is cooked in a pan with a small amount of water while stirring briskly with a special stick- mufraka ., until the dough separates from the sides of the pan. When it is cool, it is turned out onto a deep plate and eaten with the meat sauce. A white and a black thread using natural daylight. The fasting stops at sunset. Even if you're a foreigner or a non-Muslim it would be considered most rude and impolite to eat, drink or smoke during the day so avoid it if possible. Old and sick people are excepted as well as women with their period. During Ramadan most things in the Muslim parts of Sudan goes very slowly. Shops close for prayers and generally don't open until after sunset. Around 6.45PM the Muslims have their breakfast and then go to the mosque or participate in one of the any events around. If you know Arabic you will have many opportunities to see Sudanese comedians and singers. The Meridian Hotel in Khartoum is a popular destination in the evenings. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 8

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Ramadan drink Helamour comes from the words for sweet [ helu ] and sour [ mour ], as the drink is sweet but with a slight bitter a taste. It can be an acquired taste for foreigners. Helamour is made from fermented sorghum with spices such as root and stem ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The sorghum is allowed to sprout. The preparation begins a month or more before Ramadan. When the mixture is ready, a fire is laid and a thick metal plate is put on the fire. Some of the mixture is spread on the plate [as is done with kisra ] and allowed to dry until it is a brown sheet. The ready sheets are put into cardboard cartons and distributed to other family members who do not know how to make their own. To make the drink, several sheets are put in a bucket to soak for a few hours. Then the liquid is strained and sugar added to taste. Ice will be added. Although this is made specifically for Ramadan, if any sheets are left over , helamour can be drunk at any time. Other popular drinks are gamardine [apricot leather], grapefruit or lemon juice, kerkadeh , and tamarind juice. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 9

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During Ramadan most things in the Muslim parts of Sudan goes very slowly. Shops close for prayers and generally don't open until after sunset. Around 6.45PM the Muslims have their breakfast and then go to the mosque or participate in one of the any events around. If you know Arabic you will have many opportunities to see Sudanese comedians and singers. The Meridian Hotel in Khartoum is a popular destination in the evenings. Laila-tul-quadr (the night of power) is in the last 10 days of the Ramadan month. This is the night when the Prophet Muhammad received the first Surah from the Archangel Gabriel. If Muslims pray on this night it counts for 100 months of prayer. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 10

Eid el Adha:

Eid el Adha Eid el Adha is held once a year. It is to commemorate when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismail. As a true believer, Abraham took his son and prepared to cut the boy's throat. Seeing the extent of Abraham's devotion and obedience , God sent a ram to sacrifice instead of Ismail. Ever since Muslims commemorate this occasion. For days before the Eid , flocks of sheep will be gathered at market places, street corners or roadsides awaiting customers. It is obligatory on every adult Muslim male to sacrifice a sheep if he can afford it. On the morning of the Eid the prayers are held. Men, old women and children congregate in their new or best clothes. After the prayers,people go home or visiting. , Then the rams are slaughtered. The person who does the slaughter [ a butcher or other man] is usually given the skin, a piece of meat, or even the head, as well as being paid a fee. After that people go visiting friends, relatives and neighbours to congratulate them on the Eid . Meat is fried or grilled and offered to guests. In some houses ' sherboat ' is made. It is a fermented drink made of dates and spices, non-alcoholic, but if left a couple of days can give a bit of a buzz! Traditions and Customs in Sudan 11

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PEOPLE IN S U D A N Traditions and Customs in Sudan 12

Personal Appearance:

P ersonal A ppearance 1. Hair Men in Sudan are expected to have facial hair i.e. a moustache and a tuft of hair under the lower lip, and a beard. All Muslims will have the former and a great number have all three. The stricter sects tend to allow the beard to grow and do not cut it. Removal of body hair is practiced by both sexes. Men shave , whereas women sugar or wax. When there is the death of a very close relative some men shave their heads. Women prefer to leave their hair uncut, and the tradition of plaiting the head with tiny plaits [ moshat ] is still common. 2. Finger nails are usually kept very short indeed, although a few men will allow the nail of the pinkie [little finger] to grow very long. There is no restriction on length for women, but usually they are kept short. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 13

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3. Kohl is a ‘must’ for most Sudanese women. They either use kohl or eyeliner to outline the upper and lower lids. Sometimes a bridegroom will have kohl applied to his eyes. The same is done to tiny babies in the early weeks. 4. In the past men and women would be given tribal marks . The most common were three vertical cuts on the cheeks , often with a single horizontal line at the lower end. If a close relative died, a child would often have been marked with a T on one or both cheeks. The Shaigia tribe in the north had three vertical lines [cat’s whiskers]. This custom is no longer practiced, so people born in the 1940s on are rarely found with tribal marks. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 14

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5. In the past in the north before a woman married, her lips would be pricked with a thorn, and ash would be rubbed in, so that the lips would be tattoed a blue/black color, which was considered beautiful.. 6.Many people have small cuts beside their eyes. This shows they had eye problems when very young. Cutting and cauterizing were common medical practices: burn scars on the arms were a cure for jaundice, cuts on the chest for chest ailments, on the stomach for stomach pains. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 15

Generosity and Hospitality:

Generosity and Hospitality The Sudanese are known for being hospitable and generous. Strangers are welcomed readily, and it is not uncommon for a traveller to be invited to stay the night [or longer], and be treated to as a welcome guest by having a sheep, goat, or chicken slaughtered to provide a meal. It is unwise to remark on anything eg an ornament , for you will be probably presented with it. Weddings can be lavish occasions and though in the past the work was done by the women, nowadays private caterers can be hired to prepare for the hundreds or thousands of guests who have been invited. In fact anyone is welcome so many people just come along without an invitation, unless the gathering is in a private club. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 16

Meeting and greeting style:

Meeting and greeting style Sudanese love to greet people, whether it's been 10 years or 10 minutes since they last saw them. The Sudanese greeting must be one of the longest in the world - in fact it usually lasts longer than the conversation! It also follows a very set procedure. As-Salaam alaykum - peace be upon you Kef? - how are you? Tamam / kwais - good or well. Can be used either as an answer or question. Al- hamdulillah ! - Thanks be to God Insha'allah kwais - you are well, God willing? Traditions and Customs in Sudan 17


THE MOST INTERESTING CERMONY wedding in Sudan So-called marriage in Sudanese dialect to "wedding" , Also called (My Guidance) language Altgari of Arab origin spoken by a large number of people of central and eastern Sudan, and starts the celebration long before, where what is known (strong push good) First, the marriage application carried out by the family of the young and the elders his family and friends after the acceptance of the bride locked her any concealed by placing them in an intensive program of nutrition and lack of exposure to the sun so that the pictures of the bride from her father on the night of the marriage, which preceded the night of henna ceremony held for the bride and groom separately. Although the vast majority of Sudan's various ethnic groups are basically conservative in the matter of marriage and are often asked to accept the marriage if he did not have a serious moral defects, regardless of its financial position and without Irhagah , dowry demands and conditions. And often are held the Koran in a mosque closer to the house of the bride's family. However, there are some forms of practices Sudanese distinctive tiled conservative method for the majority of people like the dance of the bride, and the Sudanese dialect spoken dance of bride, which is usually not acceptable and is followed when a lot of Sudanese. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 18

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The dance of the bride: - Is a special ceremony ladies of my family the couple is usually the morning of the wedding night, provided is often not attend any man except the groom and not to film, especially with video cameras, are singing by a singer specializing in color art especially known in the circles of Sudan on behalf of the songs of girls, a term given to sing a simple single-play girls, about marriage, beauty, love and praise the qualities of women and men Shim and sometimes ridicule. And miss the men from this celebration of the fact that the bride wanton display of themselves to the fullest extent possible: is thought to occur for several reasons Saiklogih backgrounds and social, including: Self-assertion in a purely feminine. Hefei reveal her body to prove her lack of any kind of health problems, aesthetic, and the subsequent silence the tongues of women to non-satisfied with the marriage of two families. Attempt to honor the husband and his bride to prove the merits by the sovereign right aesthetic. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 19

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Highlight the potential material for the husband because this celebration is usually very expensive, because the cost of fabulous singers and the bride wears as much as possible of gold and jewelry, at every dance must change her clothes and jewels and adornments. While others believe just the opposite, for violating Islamic ethics, as well as being destroyed for money and ignite the spirit of competition and envy among girls in the interests of useless luxury. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 20

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Henna Henna is an ancient form of decoration going back thousands of years in much of the Middle East and Indian sub-continent. Basically henna leaves are dried and crushed to a powder, then made into a paste which is applied to the hands and feet. Boys and girls have henna applied at circumcision. Brides have elaborate designs applied before the wedding day, and then as a married woman henna is applied on a regular basis. The methods of applying it and the designs vary from place to place and follow fashions. Men apply henna without any decoration when they get married. In the Sudan. the leaves are mixed with water and sometimes ' nashada ', a kind of ammonia, which will make it a dark color or even black when dry. Or nowadays a chemical [ dye] is added especially for brides to achieve the black color quickly. Some people develop rashes and allergies as a result of this. First the feet will be washed and dried, and then the paste is smoothed onto the soles of the feet and tips of the toes. A clean line will be left for men but for women patterns will then be drawn sometimes as far as the knee for a bride, or an inch or so for everyday use. Then the hands will be cleaned, dried and then have an oil [ mahlabiyya ] applied to the finger tips . Then the intricate designs are done using either a cone made from a plastic bag with the tip cut off like a forcing bag when icing, an old syringe without the needle, or just a fine piece of dried reed or a matchstick. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 21

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The person having the henna done, then sits for several hours until the henna dries and comes off easily. Sometimes the hands will be reapplied several times as the fine decoration also dries rapidly. When the whole process is deemed finished, the henna is removed, hands and feet are washed and oil is applied to help set and bring out the color. Although most women prefer the henna to be dark, some lighter -skinned may prefer to achieve a deep maroon effect. The hennana [woman who applies the henna] is usually paid quite generously. Sometimes she is a professional working for a hairdresser or at a beauty parlor. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 22

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wedding breakfast and lunch Whenever there is a wedding, hundreds /thousands turn up for the meals. The breakfast traditionally will have aseeda [sorghum porridge] or kisra with a sauce either made from sour milk or mince and tomato. Ful (bean ) is always a staple, as is taamia / felafel [see separate tip], salad and shairiya [noodles with sugar] and fateer [flakey pastry with sugar]. For lunch there will be a dry roasted piece of beef, salad, a macaroni/pasta dish, mince with fried potatoes, rigla / molochiya or okra, ' kabab ' , stuffed vegetables [ maashi ], salads of aborigine or mixed vegetable in mayonnaise, followed by custard and fruit, and Medawar or ' ragil '=man. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 23

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The traditional food Food in Daily Life. The day usually begins with a cup of tea. Breakfast is eaten in the mid- to late morning, generally consisting of beans, salad, liver, and bread. Millet is the staple food, and is prepared as a porridge called asida or a flat bread called kisra . Vegetables are prepared in stews or salads. Ful , a dish of broad beans cooked in oil, is common, as are cassavas and sweet potatoes. Nomads in the north rely on dairy products and meat from camels. In general, meat is expensive and not often consumed. Sheep are killed for feasts or to honor a special guest. The intestines, lungs, and liver of the animal are prepared with chili pepper in a special dish called marara . Tea and coffee are both popular drinks. Coffee beans are fried, then ground with cloves and spices. The liquid is strained through a grass sieve and served in tiny cups. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 24

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Kisra Anyone invited to a Sudanese meal is likely to be faced with kisra . This is the unleavened bread made from sorghum. It is similar to the Ethiopian injera , but the latter is thicker and more spongy. Kisra is thicker than a wafer and larger, though is served folded for the diner to break pieces off, or else it is put in a deep bowl and certain dishes are poured onto it [ eg . um rugaiga , molochiya mafrooka , or bamia mafrooka ]. At weddings, during Ramadan and sometimes for breakfast another sorghum dish can be served. It resembles a porridge coloured jelly, but is actually delicious with a mince based sauce. Kisra is made from fermented sorghum, and cooked on an iron griddle over a wood fire. Usually one person is responsible for making a day's supply. Nowadays, however, kisra can be bought from women , who sit in the street with a stall. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 25

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Coffee making the Sudanese way is almost a ritual. The beans are first roasted in a pan over charcoal or butagaz until dark brown/black. Then they are pounded in a pestle and mortar until fine. Water is put to boil and then coffee is put into the water with whole pieces of cardomom , ginger and cinnamon When it comes to the boil, it is filtered into a clay long=necked coffee pot , which sits on a beaded padded base. When it is served, the dark aromatic liquid is poured into a fingan [ a small handle less cup] which has been generously filled with sugar. The cup is not stirred, and the coffee is sipped, and refilled as often as possible. At weddings now some people hire Ethiopians to make coffee. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 26


Music Sudan has a rich and unique musical culture that has been through chronic instability and repression during the modern history of Sudan. Beginning with the imposition of strict sharia law in 1989, many of the country's most prominent poets, like Mahjoub Sharif, were imprisoned while others, like Mohammed el Amin (returned to Sudan in mid of 1990s) and Mohammed Wardi (returned to Sudan 2003), fled to Cairo. Traditional music suffered too, with traditional Zar ceremonies being interrupted and drums confiscated . At the same time, however, the European militaries contributed to the development of Sudanese music by introducing new instruments and styles; military bands, especially the Scottish bagpipes, were renowned, and set traditional music to military march music. The march March Shulkawi No 1, is an example, set to the sounds of the Shilluk . Traditions and Customs in Sudan 27

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Modern tribal music The Nuba , on the front lines between the north and the south of Sudan, have retained a vibrant folk tradition. The musical harvest festival Kambala is still a major part of Nuba culture. The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) include a group called the Black Stars, a unit dedicated to "cultural advocacy and performance". Members include the guitarist and singer Ismael Koinyi , as well as Jelle , Jamus and Tahir Jezar Traditions and Customs in Sudan 28


Sport The most popular sports in Sudan are athletics, like track and field, and soccer, which has a particularly rich history within the country. Sudan was one of four African nations - the others being Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa - which formed African football. Sudan hosted the first African Cup of Nations in 1956, and has won the African Cup Of Nations once, in 1970. Two years later, the Sudan National Football Team participated in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Adding to football's rich history in Sudan, the nation's capital is home to the Khartoum League, which is considered to be the oldest league in Africa. Sudan is also home to a number of other teams - such as Al- Hilal and El- Merreikh , which are among the nation's strongest teams, as well as other teams like Khartoum, El-Neel, and Hay-Al Arab, which are starting to grow in popularity. Though not as successful as football, handball, basketball, and volleyball are also popular in Sudan. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 29


Clothing Western-style clothing (long trousers, with a shirt) is commonly worn by Sudanese men in professional workplaces. Elsewhere they prefer traditional dress: long pastel-colored robes ( jalabiya ), a skullcap ( tagia ) and a length of cloth (' imma ) covering their head. Laborers wear baggy pants ( sirwal ) covered by a thigh-length tunic ( ragi ). Women in public today are bound to wear Islamic dress. For much of the twentieth century, this was simply a 30-foot (9-meter) length of material ( tob ) wound around their body. Today it also includes an Islamic shawl (hijab) pulled over the head, and may include a sort of heavy overcoat ( chadur ) common for women in Iran. In the privacy of their own homes, women simply wear light dresses Traditions and Customs in Sudan 30

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A similar garment common to Sudan is the thobe or thawb . Like the jalabiya , the thawb is a long, tunic-like garment, although it may have a collar, be less loose-fitting, or have shorter sleeves or length than the jalabiya . The word " thawb " means "garment" in Arabic, and the thawb itself is the traditional Arab dress for men, although the word may also refer to similar tunic-like garments worn by women. The African nation of Sudan is a country with strong Islamic and Christian influences. Partially ruled by Islamic law, the type of clothes worn in Sudan is similar to those worn in the surrounding nations of Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. Many factors come into play in a region like Sudan, in which religion, status, climate and way of life all affect how one dresses. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 31

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Climate and Clothing Because of the hot climate, light, loose-fitting clothing is typically worn. However, women and men follow certain guidelines that most citizens follow closely. According to an article on, "Muslim women in the north follow the tradition of covering their heads and entire bodies to the ankles. They wrap themselves in a ' tobe ,' a length of semi-transparent fabric that goes over other clothing." Men also cover most of their bodies with a light, loose-fitting, white robe. They too cover their heads with either a small cap or a turban. Head covering serves to protect the people from the sun and heat as well as honor their religious beliefs. For instance, the women's head scarf, the "hijab," "refers to the veil which separates man or the world from God." Traditions and Customs in Sudan 32


Significance As with most cultures, it seems gender does play a major role in dress and women are showing up in numbers to gain equal footing, at least in the more urban sectors of the region. Additionally, the weather in Sudan mainly lends itself to loose, airy clothing. These men and women have no need for winter wear and most of their coats and hats are worn as protection from the sun. In a culture so ruled by religion and laws, the Sudanese remain, for the most part, a conservatively dressed society. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 33


Conclusion This is what we could gather it but there are more and more About S u d a n to know. Traditions and Customs in Sudan 34



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