Sudan Local Custom Tips by grets Top 5 Page for this destination
Sudan Local Customs: 69 reviews and 121 photos
The tradition of using henna as body paint dates back to Neolithic times, and was very popular in Nubia at the time of Queen Hatshepsut in 1500 BC, specifically for adornemenr of brides. Later the use of henna was incorporated into Islamic traditions.
Henna is a bush which grows primarily in hot, dry countries, and is pruned back several times a year to harvest the leaves. The leaves are ground and sold in powder form, as in this photo.
Once you want to apply the henna to your feet or hands, the powder is mixed with citrus juice or vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. It is the hennotannic acid molecule Lawsone that causes the stain to your skin. Adding sugar or honey to the henna mix will make it stick better to the skin. It can take anything from a couple of hours to several days for the dye to be released and the henna ready to be applied.
Henna can be applied with a brush, stick, or syringe, and there are literally thousands of patterns to chose from, some more traditional than others. The henna patterns will last up to three weeks or so, depending on your skin and other outside factors.
I the various souks we came across a lot of stalls selling beautiful gold jewellery, at quite reasonable prices. Not being one to wear jewellery, I didn't buy any, but I was quite bemused to see this man sitting by the side of the road, caryying out repair work to a ring while the ring's owner looked on. It's nice to see that in some places the use and discard mentality hasn't taken over yet.
Man in traditional %ijellabiyya%i
Literally peace be upon you.
I always like to learn a few words of the language in the place I visit, out of curiosity, respect and fun.
shukran = thank you
jellabiyya = long Arab shirt
khawaja = white man, foreigner
qoz = rolling sand dunes
inshallah = god be willing
suq = market
Arabic is poken by almost 200 million people worldwide.
The English word camel comes from the Arabic jamel, which also means beauty, signifying the love and respect the Arabs have for camels.
I Arabic, there are many different words meaning camel:
hiq = young camel, three or four years old
naib = leader, adult camel
naqa = female camel
raba' = adolescent camel, six or seven years old
sadiis = fully grown adult camel, over seven years old
sharaat = nervous camel
Michael mounting the camel
Michael Asher gave us a quick lesson in how to mount a camel before we set off:
Holding the head rope taught, lift your right leg forward and hook your knee over the horn on the front of the saddle, keeping the lowe leg to the left of the camel's neck. Sit yourself on the saddle at the same time as bringing your left leg up, crossing the lower leg over the camel's neck. This position is the most comfortable and stable.
Padding the sadlle with a blanket
Once the saddle has been mounted on the camel, it is best to pad the frame with a blanket or similar for comfort. Saddle sores can make the whole camel riding experience most uncomfortable. On the second day, in addition to the blanket, I placed a mattress and a cushion on my saddle. This did make it more comfortable, but it also made you sit higher and it felt a little insecure and wobbly.
The saddles used by the nomadic tribes for riding camels, are very basic contraptions. Just a simple square frome with a Y-shaped horn either end. A strap attaches the saddle to the camels around its stomach.
In the Sudan, these saddles are known as hawiya-a.
Outside most permanent dwellings in Sudan, water jars such as this can be found. The jars are made from a porous material allowing the evaporation of water through the membrane by a phenomenon called osmosis, thus keeping the water cool.
Often these jars are found alongisde the road too, placed there to aid thirsty travellers on their jouneys.
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