Sudan Local Customs

  • university graduation celebration
    university graduation celebration
    by hala71
  • university graduation celebration
    university graduation celebration
    by hala71
  • university graduation celebration
    university graduation celebration
    by hala71

Sudan Local Customs

  • Public transportation in Khartoum

    there are many public transportations in Khartoum according to its availability and price, some times you should have to wait for a long time for the cheap ones, but for taxi car you can find it immediatly and every where in khartoum (taxi fee some times twenty times double to public ones).

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  • Desert palm leaf handicrafts furniture...

    Desert palm leaf handicrafts work is known in almost all Sudan regions, and it is an old craft made by women mainly, they design their house accessories by them selves and some ladies sell it and earn some money especially in towns.According to my studies as a designer and my knowledge about this craft i try to develop the designs because the...

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  • Food - Kisra (traditional bread)

    It is a thin pie made of leavened sorghum flour its taste is semi similar to yoghurt, there are no commercial bakery for it, but ladies cook it at home then bring it to grocery. It is eaten with other cooked food. Normally it is eaten in lunch but rarely in breakfast but not at all in dinner.It is known that Sorghum is an ancient cereal grain and...

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  • Food - Aish (Local bread)

    It is main Sudanese bread and can be found in bakery and grocery shops, it is made by wheat flour. In rural areas, where there are no commercial ovens due to low population density, ladies cooked it at home.

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  • Waiting for a ferry...

    According to our roots in north of Sudan (Sheriek village) we have our relatives there so we share them in all their occasion and some times in Eids, my father's relatives are in a small island in the Nile river, so when we go there we should have take a ferry to cross the Nile, in those photos my family go there for a marriage occasion and they...

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  • University graduation celebrations in...

    Education is very important for most of Sudanese family, because in the past during the European control (1896-1955) till 1970's if you have educational qualification you can find a good job in the government, so education mean a better life in Sudanese beliefs, but now due to the collapse of government and private civil service in Sudan, and the...

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  • Drinks - Roselle drink

    It is used widely in Sudan especially in Ramadan (fasting month for muslims), water is add to the red flower after drying and it is better to add some flavour, mint leaves for example and sugar of course.

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  • Bridegroom Henna Ceremony

    It is a party before 2 days from the wedding day, where Henna is a dried leaves powder of a certain plant which have a property of making red colour when applying in hands and feet for about an hour, and if applied for 2 or 3 times it become black. A tray is decorated with flowers and a big dish contain Henna mixture (Henna powder + water+Mahlabya...

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  • Hospitality and generosity

    Most of Sudanese are simple and helpful if you need, especially for strangers, according to their beliefs helping others ,if they ask, is a duty and not a grant. Another thing, most of them are generous, for example if you pass by a group (even poor) and they are eating, you must join them even if you take a small piece that mean you respect...

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  • Ramadan

    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 vomitting 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...

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  • women at work

    Women in Muslim countries are thought to be restricted and protected, but in Sudan they have a lot of freedom. They even had the vote earlier than some European women, and have always been paid equal wages.However, in the rural areas life is hard. Women used to have to collect water from the river or well; collect wood for cooking; as well as help...

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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...

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  • Death comes to us all

    When someone dies in the Sudan, the body is taken for burial as soon as possible the same day after it is prepared and washed and perfumed. It is wrapped naked in a shroud and carried on an angareb [wooden bed] to the graveyard, where friends and relatives gather round the newly dug grave to recite the Koran..Then mourners return to the deceased's...

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  • Shoe-shine

    With few pavements, and very dusty conditions, shoes quickly become very dirty. But, there are many shoe-shine boys around who are willing to clean your shoes for as little as 50 piastres a pair. They often have a box with metal pieces that they jingle to let you know they are around.Many of them are homeless or displaced children/boys from the...

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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 is always a staple, as is taamia /felafel [see separate tip], salad and shairiya [noodles with sugar] and fateer [flakey pastry with...

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  • 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...

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  • Eating Sudanese style - the innards of a...

    Sudanese eat large amounts of meat, especially from the sheep. Nothing is wasted. The skin is tanned, the head is cooked and eaten , as are the intestines [komoniya].The intestines are carefully washed to remove all the contents. Water is repeatedly poured through the tubes and air is blown into them to facilitate the cleaning.At the Eid el Dahiya...

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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...

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  • Washing clothes

    So far laundries and launderettes are almost unheard of in the Sudan. Washing machines can be found, but many people still depend on a washerman or woman to do the laundry. Some of them have shops, but most go to individual's houses to wash and iron on a regular basis. We usually have ours come once a week. He gets breakfast, lunch and the odd...

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  • Drinking water

    It is important to drink lots of water in Sudan because the temperatures are very high most of the year. Most visitors depend on bottled water to drink, which is widely available. However, the local tap water in most areas, except during the flood season when the colour changes because of the suspended Nile silt, is safe to drink if you are stuck....

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  • The angareb

    The angareb is a local style of bed. A wooden frame has four shaped legs, and then rope, leather strips ,or nowadays plastic rope is woven to form a bed on which a cotton mattress is then placed.The legs may be turned to give an attractive shape. The pattern of the weave can vary from one district to another too. Even the size of the bed can be...

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  • Pets

    In general Sudanese do not keep pets. Cats are tolerated, but dogs are considered unclean, so unless a foreigner has brought a dog into the country , there are few dogs kept as pets, though some people will have one as a guard dog. Stray dogs are possible carriers of rabies, so if bitten, by any animal [dog, cat, monkey] , see a doctor and have...

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  • Shoes

    There are a few customs regarding shoes in the Sudan. Although it is not compulsory to remove your shoes when entering a house, many people do so if the floor is carpeted.At prayer times, people do their ablutions, and so take off their outdoor shoes and put on flipflops to enter the bathroom to do the ritual ablutions. Many houses keep a pair of...

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  • 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...

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  • personal appearance

    1. HairMen in Sudan are expected to have facial hair i.e. a moustach 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 practised by both sexes. Men shave , whereas women sugar or...

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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...

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  • eclipses

    In the 30+ years I have been living in the Sudan, I have seen several eclipses of both the sun and moon, total and partial. By day it is amazing when the whole world goes dark. No wonder the uneducated people in remote areas were scared when this happened . The people in the Nuba mountains used to beat drums to scare away whatever was eating the...

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  • Coffee

    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...

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  • personal appearance 2

    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 colour, which was considered beautiful..6.Many people have small cuts beside their eyes. This shows they had eye problems when very young. Cutting and cauterising were common medical...

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  • water difficulties

    In Sudan there are a lot of problems getting fresh potable water in many parts of the country. Even in the capital Khartoum, without an electric pump to push the water up into the watertank, there may be hours with no water coming into the houses.When we were young and lived outside Khartoum, the pump providing water for our area frequently fell...

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  • Decorated houses

    People from the far north of the Sudan [ former Wadi Halfa] often belong to the Nubian group of people found in southern Egypt and north Sudan. They have their own traditions in dress, dancing, language and housing. When Lake Nasser drowned Wadi Halfa, the Halfawis established themselves in their new homes whether in the east of the country or in...

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  • Cover-Up, Despite the Heat

    For western women in the Sudan, it is extremely important that they dress properly. This includes no halter tops and no shorts in public areas. These are offensive to the Sudanese and can result in insult to the western woman who is foolish enough to flaunt the Sudanese moral and religious customs. Also a teenage girl should be careful in her dress...

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  • Soles of Your Shoes

    It is quite rude for a guest, particularly for a western man, to point the soles of his feet at an Arab; also when one beckons, one does not do so in the American fashion by crooking one’s finger at a guest. This is considered grossly disrespectful. Instead, one extends one’s hand, palm downwards, and motions towards oneself.

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  • Always Offer a Drink

    Whenever a Sudanese caller is present, either on business or for social reasons, a drink is always offered as well as some form of refreshment such as potato chips, small pieces of candy, or other small refreshments. One does not ask the Sudanese visitor if he wants such a thing, one simply offers it. When a westerner visits a Sudanese home, he...

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  • Greetings

    The Sudanese have a very formal way of greeting. They will expect the foreigner to respond in similar fashion. The host generally inquires about the visitor, his family, his health and his general well being. After this the Sudanese host will begin to discuss business, if the meeting is to be business one. It is not considered impolite for a newly...

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  • Sudanese Food: AN Overview

    Although much maligned, once I got over the nervousness, the food was really pretty good in Sudan. Sudanese food is simple and Turkish or Lebanese in character. The staple diet is Fassoulia, a dish somewhat akin to baked beans that is served with bread and dura. The main breads are kisera, a thin unleavened maize pancake, and gurassa. Meat dishes...

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  • No Cameras in Government-Run Locales

    Cameras are a very bad idea, as is eating with your left hand when visiting and dining with village elders in the Islamic north.

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  • Ululation or Zaghareet

    When there is an occasion to celebrate, the high pitched ululation is made by women. They put two or three fingers beside the mouth and using the voice and throat make the sharp trilling noise, A yoo yoo yoo yoo..I first heard it in the film "Lawrence of Arabia" when the women were encouraging the men as they set off to fight. It was haunting.In...

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  • Sufis

    There are a number of Sufi sects to be found in the Sudan.The most famous are those who congregate at Hamad el Nil in Omdurman.They can be recognised by their unusual way of dress. All sects wear a patched jibba, usually of green.At the time of the Black Sultans, The Funj Sultanate of Sennar, the leader had a seat [throne] rather like a camal's...

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  • Meat

    The Sudanese eat large amounts of meat : beef. camel, goat, chicken , and especially sheep.The animals have to be slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. After invoking the name of God, the animal has its throat cut in a clean stroke. It is then hung up to drain the blood and skinned before the flesh is carved up into joints for cooking.Sheep and...

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  • Useful words and phrases during Ramadan

    Ramadan kareem - Have a generous Ramadan Alahu Akram - Allah is the most generous Savm - Fasting Fitr - Ramadan Breakfast Fatour - Breakfast Sahour - Dawn Breakfast Salat - Prayers Tilawa - Quran reciting ritual Inta sayim? - Are you fasting? Allahoma ana sayim - God witness that I'm fasting Ana atasham - I'm thirsty Ana giaan - I'm...

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  • Show respect during Ramadan

    Ramadan starts in the beginning of October and lasts for a month. According to the Quran muslims must stop eating, drinkingm smoking and have sex when they can clearly distinguish between 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...

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  • 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...

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  • Shura, Shura - Taking Pictures

    Of course people should be asked before taking pictures of them. In Sudan its very unlikely that someone will deny of being on a photo when you show your camera indicating what you want. The kids will shout “Shura, Shura!” and start posing in front of the camera. In remote areas where foreigners seldom come along, kids often haven’t seen pictures...

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  • Drinking water

    Everywhere in Northern Sudan there are clay pods filled with drinking water. Because the liquid is still evaporating through the clay the water inside the pod is cool. The disadvantage for the traveler is that the water is either tab water or coming from another source you better don’t know. Avoid drinking this water without purifying it!

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Sudan Local Customs

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