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Posts Tagged ‘Somali Arts & Crafts’

drum

 

Once the drumming starts and the Gaaf is initiated, silence fills the air. Every ear is tuned towards the person reciting the poetry or singing, in order to assess and judge the worth of his/her words. Addressing everyone present, the young girl starts the ceremony with these lines:

 

Hoobe hobaala hoobala hoobalow

Ee hoobe hobaala hoobalayey hadaba

Salaamu calaykum safiya iyo daahirow

Salaama calaykum safkan meesha joogayow

Salaama calaykum soomaaliyey dhamaan

 

Hoobe hobaala hoobala hoobalow

Ee hoobe hobaala hoobalayey hadaba

Peace be upon you O’ Safiya and Daahir

Peace be upon you O’ who have assembled here

Peace be upon you Somalis in your entirety

 

One she has passed her greetings to everyone in the room, then she explains her reason for travelling so many nights to attend this grand occasion:

 

Beryaan soo dhaxayoo bogoxaa shishaan ka imid

Calaf ma dooneyn cagahana ma daalineyn

Oo soor ma dooneyn saaxiibna uma gudeyn

Boqorada iyo boqorka soo booqo baan is idhi

Ciyaarta ka tiiri oo caawi baan is idhi

 

For nights I have been travelling, coming from distant lands

Neither was I in search of my destined partner nor was I tiring my legs

I wasn’t in search of food and for a friend I did not travel

To visit the Queen and the King was my intention

To perfect their dance ceremony and help them was my intention

 

Then a few words of the merriment of the occasion and the Gaaf:

 

Oo wiilka guurkiisu gacaleeye waalanaa

Afartaa geesoodba gurmad baanu kaaga nahay

Oo gaafka kuu taagney wiilal iyo gabdhaba

Oo ku guulayso anna iga uga gudoon salaam

 

O’ how dear is the man’s wedding to us

From the four corners arrives you an entourage

And at your Gaaf we assembled both boys and girls

May this be a triumph for you and I bid you peace

 

Then she would praise the girl:

 

Gabadhu waa ubax la beeroo uroon indhaha

Waa iftiin belelayoo waa ilays la shiday

Ragbaa u janaaney jaaheeda inay arkaan

Badda kuwaa jiiray Beledweyne orod ku tegey

Kuwaa ka sahwiyey salaadii Ilaahigay

Kuwaa riyo moodey oo aan rumaysan weli

Kuwaa dhuuniga la quutaa dhunkaal ka yahay

Oo walaal Dhooley nimaad dhaaftay dhimasha gaar

 

The girl is pleasing to the eyes like a flower sown

She is a glaring beam; she is that kindled light

Many men have gone mad for a glimpse of her sight

The ocean many have stormed and reached Beledweyne in a sprint

Some have blundered and mistaken the prayers of Allah

Some thinking it a dream have not believed it yet

For some all things edible have become but poison

O’ dear Dhool, he whom you have missed has reached his death

 

Further praising the girl, she says:

 

Shan iyo toban geela niman baa ka shubi lahaa

Kun baa loo diidey boqolbaa berriga fadhiya

Adaase lagu qaadi waayee qalbiga ku hay

Oo gabadhu caynkay tahaan kuu cadaynayaa

Casaan weeyaanoo midabkeedu waa cajiib

Casarkii ma wareegto oo waaberi lama celcelin

Timaha ma casaysan oo baarra kama cashayn

Kuwa cishaha dheelmadana caado uma lahayn

Waxaa dhalay reera dhiirdhiiran oo kulkulul

Dheregna ma ay waayin guri dheelan bay ka timi

 

15 camels some men would have paid to have her

A thousand have been rejected; a hundred lie wretched on land

You were too worthy to let go, so that you should know

And now I will shed light on the type that the girl is

She is fair in complexion and her tone is astonishing

She neither roams in the evening nor restrained in the morning

She hasn’t dyed her hair and from bars did not eat

And those who travel at night, she isn’t among them

She is born to a family hot-blooded and passionate

And provisions she lacks not, coming from a wealthy house

 

Then, praising the man (I haven’t got many poems praising the man) she says:

 

Markuu lebisto markuu laamiyada marmaro

La wada damacyee ma dumar buu u qaybsamaa

 

When immaculately dressed and strolling the streets

Though desired by all, is he divisible amongst women?

 

Then giving advice to the man she says:

 

Gabadhu waa hogol guyoo waa hilaac mar baxay

Hadba ninbaa haybinaayoo adaa hantiyey

Harraad iyo gaajo midna yaaney halis u noqon

Oo yaaney saxar taabanoo siigo yaaney qaban

Minaad la qosleyso mooyee qallooc ka dhawr

 

A girl is like thunderous rain; she is a flash of lighting

Every now and again a man sought her but you won her

To thirst and hunger may she not succumb

May not a speck of dirt touch her, or dust stick to her body

Except that you’re laughing with her, protect her from evil

 

Giving a classification of men and women and praising the newly-weds, the young girl adds:

 

Nimanku ma gudboona guntigay ka siman yihiin

Garkaa wada marayoo garashey is dheeryihiin

Midbaa is garaadiyoo geesi loo filaa

Midbaa gurigii lasoo goodey kala gilgila

Midbaa garanwaaya hawshiisa gaar ahaan

Adiga guulaystow kuuma qabo gedaa

 

Not all men are of the same calibre though equal of the girdle

The beard runs along them all but wisdom, one another they excel

There is one that professes nobility and perceived to be brave

There is one that shakes and disassembles the assembled hut

There is one that is oblivious to his duty as a whole

You, o’ victor, among them I count you not

 

And the women:

 

Dumarku ma gudboona gambadey ka siman yihiin

Midbaa is guduudisoo gaarri loo filaa

Midbaa garanweyda hawsheeda gaar ahaan

Adiga guuleysatoy kuuma qabo gedaa

 

Not all women are of the same calibre though equal of the scarf

There is the one that brightens herself and perceived to be obedient

There is the one that is oblivious to her duty as a whole

You, O’ victor, among them I count you not

 

And she ends with a general advice for the girl:

 

Laba nin oo haybta sare ka siman

Naa hooda guur iyo haween bey ku kala hadhaan

Haweeyoy inanka hano hilib hadeynu nahay

 

Two men, though equal on the outer appearance

It is through marriage and women that they each other surpass

Look after your man, O woman, if we are of the same meat

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SOMALIA2 131   

As the sun plummets down the horizon, the joyous people of the village depart company after the Gelbis to prepare for the more interesting part of the ceremony and the festivities continue through the night. Demonstrative of the happy times they are having, everyone in the village as well as the neighbouring settlements congregate at the hut of the newly-weds. An unrestrained enthusiasm sweeps across the surroundings and the sounds of ululating women travels several kilometres upon the open fields.

Come nightfall and the Gaaf begins. With a mixture of several forms of poetry, songs and riddles, the Gaaf is perhaps the most entertaining part of the entire wedding ceremony. The villagers look forward to the Gaaf in anticipation. Settlers from far areas travel several nights just to witness the fun-filled night as a young girl recited in her poem in one Gaaf I attended:

 

Hoobe hobaala hoobala hoobalow

Ee hoobe hobaala hoobalayey hadaba

Beryaan soo dhaxayoo bogoxaa shishaan ka imid

Calaf ma dooneynoo cagahana ma daalineyn

Oo soor ma dooneynin saaxiibna uma gudeyn

Boqorada iyo boqorka soo booqo baan lahaa

Ciyaarta ka tiiri oo caawi baan lahaa

 

Hoobe hobaala hoobala hoobalow (these set the rhyming pattern for the poem)

Ee hoobe hobaala hoobalayey hadaba

For nights I have been travelling, coming from distant lands

Neither was I in search of my destined partner nor was I tiring my legs (in vain)

I wasn’t in search of food and for a friend I did not travel

To visit the Queen and the King was my intention

To perfect their dance ceremony and help them was my intention

 

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Right: The Bride and groom in the middle and the Malxiis & Malxiisad on either sides

The hut is decorated to the best of their means (the above is not a hut but a tin-roofed house), with all sorts of elegant decorative utensils and Nomadic handicrafts at display; the bride, in her wedding apparel, is covered with brilliant patterns of henna, the women in their Subeeciyad and the man in his best clothes, each according to his means.

The Gaaf is simply a congregation at the house of the newly-weds for seven nights, where singing, poetry and riddles are preserved through the nights and it too, like the Xeedho, has some strict rules to be observed:

  • As soon as you enter the hut, it is customary that you first shake hands with the groom, then the bride, then the best-man (malxiis), then the best-woman (Malxiisad) – and in that precise order also. After that you are permitted to greet any other attendees of your acquaintance or liking.
  • When many people have attended and food is lavishly consumed, the entertainment then starts. Entertainment here is to be understood primarily in terms of extended verbal jousts and battle of words and intellect. Poetry, riddles and songs, all either wishing blessing for the newly-weds or expressing self-avowal of one’s intellect or wisdom is composed or recited; sometimes it even culminates in a battle between the sexes, as often is the case.
  • Once the entertainment starts, the groom is appointed his two male helpers. One of these helpers acts as the ‘court’ (Maxkamad) and the other as the ‘public prosecutor’ or a ‘policeman’ (Askari). The Askari with his baton walks around the room and initiates the ceremony by either singing or reciting a poem first. Then he points his stick to someone in the gathering and that person must stand in front of the ‘court’ to be sentenced.
  • The sentencing of this person could comprise of answering several riddles, a poem recitation or singing a song. If that person does not comply to any of these, he/she has one chance to pass on the sentence to someone else.
  • Everyone attending the Gaaf is subject to such random picking to be sentenced to a public performance.
  • If a person gets a riddle wrong, he/she is punished and the punishments sometimes include being branded on the face with ashes or something similar for the duration of the night. Sometimes the punished are made to drink water filled with salt.
  • Several bottles of perfumes are brought in to spray on the performer who sings well or recites a good poem or answers all his/her riddles correctly.

SOMALIA2 126

When the house was filled the man with the blue shirt on the right was the Askari and picked performers.

Though the customs of the Gaaf have somewhat diminished now and its tradition is not fully observed within much of the Somali community in Somalia, and is extinct in the western world, yet the Nomads practice it and for them it is a great occasion. They take great pride in their ceremonies. Utmost care is ensured so that everything is in its due place and the hut, adorned in a variety of woven mats and decorative material, looks as ornamental as their skilful hands can make it.

But what makes the Gaaf interesting is not the decoration of the hut or the number of people attending; it is the words recited by the performers and the wisdom behind them that lightens up the gathering and the more versed a person is in poetry the more esteemed they are in those circles.

Poetry in this forsaken land is not simply a hobby of the erudite gentlemen of high nobility; each and everyone is in possession of an admirable wit for words and is capable of composing either rabble-rousing speeches or laudable verses of praise. Here are laymen and ordinary Nomads on whose tongues fountains of words flourish, so everyone on the night composes poems on the spot. It is these words that are imparted, the feelings they embody and the sentiments they arouse that become the highlight of the night.

Observing these nomads had now strengthened my aforementioned predilection for a residence among them. Their simple ways of living and care-free life had appealed to me for a very long time. As for the exchange of poems during the nights of Gaaf, I will post a few examples in my next post…

To be continued…

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The Xeedho is a custom usually prevalent in the Northern parts of Somalia. After the wedding is consummated and the bride and groom settle peacefully in their newly constructed home, it is time for opening the Xeedho or as it is called in Somali Xeedho-fur. This usually occurs on the seventh night, – the final night of the seven-day honeymoon period. The roots of Xeedho lie in the pastoral lands with the Somali Nomads. The custom though, is dwindling in the rural areas and has, as of late, taken a great following in the urban areas

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Left: The Xeedho. Middle: The veil is uncovered. Right: Naked

In the olden times the villagers would gather outside the hut of the newly weds and the Xeedho-opening ceremony would take place. The gathering in the city does not differ much from that of the villages as all people congregate in a large hall.

The Xeedho, with its gracefully winding shape is designed with the bride in mind. It actually signifies the bride. As the members of both the families gather around in big circles, the Xeedho is placed in the middle and the ceremony begins.

So it must be tended to as if it were the bride herself and as a result, the opening of the Xeedho has fixed rules and regulations, though many of them are no longer practiced by majority of people. The tradition is slowly dying and losing its formal procedures, some of which are:

  • The Xeedho MUST be opened completely so that the groom can publicly declare the bride as his wife.
  • The groom cannot partake in the opening of the Xeedho
  • A male member from the groom’s tribe, usually a close relative such as a cousin, etc. is chosen to open the knots on the Xeedho. First though, he must take the upper veil off, just as he would a new bride in her wedding gown, and then process with the untying of the ropes.
  • A guard, usually a woman and from the bride’s family, holding a gentle stick stands beside the Xeedho and watches as the man carefully tries to untie the labyrinth of knots. Being one of the few women who spent days and days interweaving the rope on the Xeedho, she knows every opening and every knot.
  • If the man places his hands on the wrong end of the rope, or tries to open the rope from a different knot, the female guard lightly whips him with her stick. That signifies that he has to change the course of his opening of the rope and find a new lead. This will continue until the Xeedho is opened.
  • There is nothing wrong if the man finds the opening end of the Xeedho easily and it is opened quickly, though sometimes this might cause a squabble between the female members of the two parties.
  • There is only one opening of the rope on the Xeedho. This opening is a tiny knot hidden in the maze of ropes. If the man finds the opening, he would simply pull it and it disentangles itself completely – thereby opening the Xeedho.
  • Several male members from the groom’s family will attempt to open the Xeedho, and all that time, the Guard keeps watch for any mistakes.
  • If the Xeedho is not opened that night, they congregation returns the following night to try and open it.

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The above images show the untying of the ropes on the Xeedho.

If the relatives of the groom fail to open the Xeedho, a great deal of disgrace follows them wherever they go. The bride is (sometimes) repossessed by her family saying that the groom, whose relatives could not open the Xeedho, will not be capable of catering to the needs of the bride. The women engage in verbal scuffles and a war of songs while the men resort to spiteful words of poetry being recited over a course of time. Sometimes even battles between tribes came about as a result of a Xeedho not opened properly or not opened at all.

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The two images above reveal the Sati (which the Xeedho is made of) after the removal of the white cloth (Salaq) and the container with the contents.

The white cloth draped around the curvy container is called Salaq. The Xeedho is the complete thing and the outer hard covering that it is contained in is called Sati. Inside the Xeedho is small container with the Subag covered with a thick coating of dates. The dates are mixed with several spices and then ground together to make this chunky substance. It is not just Subag though, but there is also Muqmad/oodkac – small dried meatballs immersed in the Subag. After the successful opening of the Xeedho, its contents I.e. the Subag and Muqmad are distributed among the male members of both families/relatives/attendees. It is customary that the women do not eat from the Xeedho – for them is a special one taken to the girls house which is then distributed accordingly.

Shafis 638  Xeedho 

Left: The thick mixture of dates and spices is sliced open.   Right: Once opened, a rich mixture of Subag and Muqmad lies at the bottom ready to be consumed

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Continuing on from my previous post on Somali Culture, here are a few other images that I managed to obtain from Somali heritage.

 

culay

Dhiil la Culayo – The woman in this picture is inserting smouldering branches into the Dhiil. Once inserted, they are left inside for a while and then shaken vigorously. This process is called Culid. The burning sticks of wood are known as Culay. When shaken for a while, a black residue is left inside the Dhiil. This process is effective in killing germs and all sorts of bacteria inside the Dhiil. The first milk that is poured into this vessel is said to taste very sweet.

Maybe Cawrala knew the taste of such milk and hence sought to entice her lover, Calimaax, with it by saying:

Casarkii haddaan weel la culay, caano kugu siiyo

Cishihii haddaan sarar cusba leh, kugu cashaysiiyo,

Oo waa caafimaad rage haddaan, cagaha kuu duu go

 

if by evening if provide you with milk from a shaken vessel (dhiil)

and by night feed you with salted morsels of steak

it is in the health of men, if I rub your feet

Do not confuse this with the process of Lullid – which is where milk is put into a vessel (Haan is always for this process, never a Dhiil) and then placed horizontally on the floor. It is then shaken vigorously by rolling it to and fro on a pillow or a cloth placed on the floor to separate the fat (Subag) from the milk. The Subag comes out thick. It is constantly checked by tasting or feeling for the thickness of the fat that forms on the surface and finally when all separates and the Subag is taken out, what is left is pure sweet milk.

The Haan, however, also undergoes a similar process to disinfect it. The process is called Aslid (haanta waa la aslaa lama Culo). This is done by collecting the bark from the roots (and sometimes stem) of trees such as the Qaroor and Muxur and Muqlo and then cooking them in water. The bark obtained is often reddish/reddish-brown in colour and a reddish mixture is the result of the cooking. This is called Asal. This Asal is then poured into the Haan and shaken to ensure that it reaches everywhere.

Update: While the Haan is being disinfected, women usually sing songs to accompany the routine. One of them is:

Garangara lagaa goosey
Geed dheer lagaa soo lul

Laba qaylo kaa yeedhay
laba qaalin kula buubtay

Laba qaar laguu kala jar
Geeljire ku qooraansey

May a Garangar be made out of you
May you be hanged from a tall tree

May two scream be heard from you
May adolescent camels fly with you

May you be cut into two pieces
May a camel herder ogle you

The Haan is never used without Asal being applied to it first. The Asal is left in the Haan for several days to disinfect it and mend any tiny holes it may have had. The Asal is also used as a coating for the Dhigo, Udbo, and lool branches used for building the Somali hut (explained here).

The Qarbad/Xab (the hide used to store water) also undergoes the process of Aslid. After this process is applied to the Qarbad, the water that is stored afterwards tastes very sweet and is reddish/brown in colour. The Galool tree is used in this process.

 

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Masaf/Xaarin – This is the same Masaf I’ve explained earlier in Somali Culture. It is used to separate impure particles from maize and is used particularly in the Southern regions of Somalia, since farming is almost non-existent in the drier North. After harvesting the maize, first the corn seeds are put in a Mooye mixed with a few drops of water and ground slightly – leaving the maize (Galley) seeds on their own, then the seeds are spread out in a Masaf/Xaarin above and left to dry in the sun. The Galley is now refered to as Galley buusha baxsan – meaning that the actual Galley seeds are left with all impurities and coverings removed. The Galley is then either ground to be cooked as soor or cooked in its state.

 

Babis

Babis – a Somali hand-held fan made from Caw.

 

Dhiil Dhiil 3 Dhiil 2 Dhiil 4

Above are different types of Dhiilo (sing. Dhiil). All the above Dhiilo are carved out of wood and are used in the Southern regions of Somalia. Nothern Dhiilo are not carved out of wood, but made from Caw and special tree fibres. The Dhiil on the top left is decorated with Aleel or tiny sea shells.

 

Gambar

Gambar – This is the classic Somali stool called made from cow’s hide.

 

heritage

Various forms of Somali arts and crafts. In front of the wooden camels are two carved wooden bells called Koor. These are tied to the camel’s neck.

 

Salliderin

Salli/Derin – this is another design of the same Salli/Derin I’ve explained earlier here.

 

xaaqin

Xaaqin – made from the leftovers of Caw. This is a brush used for sweeping the house/hut.

 

SaqafWaft 

Saqaf – This is a Somali comb. The original name of this comb is Wafti.

 

Birjiko

Birjiko – A Somali stove. Food cooked using one of these is only matched in taste by the food cooked using this Dhardhaar. ;)

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On the wall behind the woman is Salli or Derin. It is mainly used as a prayer mat, but it is also used to sleep on and sometimes it is spread out for the guests to sit on when they arrive. Notice that the man is sitting on one. The object on the wall where the man is leaning on is called Masarafad or sometimes called Masarafad Hilbood. Its main use was to take the large amounts of meat to the guests. The nomads often have many guests and huge quantities of meat is eaten. Receiving a guest with such generosity is often praise worthy and the theme of many verses of poetry. In the Somali culture, where families are judged by their hospitality, Sooryo (receiving guests well) is very important and so is Sagootin (seeing them off well). Now both these items are used for decoration purposes.

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This woman is weaving baskets known as Dambiilo (single – Dambiil). Behind her on the wall is Kebed made from threads obtained from trees and strings. The object on her right handside with the blue and white patterns is called a Masaf or Xaarin and is used to separate soil and the impure particles from maize – a process called Haadin.

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The mysterious containers (on the left) wrapped in a white cloth and laced by a red rope in the middle are called Xeedhooyin or a Xeedho for a single one and are carved out of wood. Though they are used to store food, they are also used mainly for wedding purposes and this is usually in the Northern regions. I will explain this in more detail in another post.

The other two similar containers (on the right) with the one single lace running across the top part are Dhiilo. This is just one of the many types of Dhiil and it is made from Caw. It is usually used in the Northern parts of Somalia.

Between these two sets of containers is a small object. This is called Dabqaad and is carved out of a special stone primarily found in Ceelbuur, in the South and many other Somali regions. It is used for burning Frankincense, Myrrh and other kinds of incense. The coloured object standing on the far wall facing you is called Alool, the other two facing each other are Kebdo (Single – kebed). They are all now used for decoration purposes. The Kebed is primarily used for building and a protection against the strong Jiilaal winds.

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These brilliantly patterned objects are also Dhiilo (single – Dhiil). The object at the forefront, however, is not a Dhiil but a Mooye and is used for grounding spices. These Dhiilo are used throughout Somalia but the methods of making them slightly differ in North and South. The ones above are carved out of wood and are particularly used in the Southern regions of Somalia.

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This is the Dhiil used in the Central and Northern regions of Somalia. Notice the difference between the two. This Dhiil is made out of the Qabo tree and the thin fibres of the Booc tree which are then skilfully interwoven. Both types of Dhiilo are used for storing milk and water.

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Whoever spent some of his childhood years in Somalia would automatically recognise this thing. It is called Garaangar and every child makes his own by hand. I remember running around all day behind my Garaangar knowing that I had the best toy in the world.

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These are the traditional clothes worn by the Somali women. Known as Subeeciyad, it is a one single long cloth draped around the waist and over the shoulders.

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The man you see above is being drenched in milk. A rather strange thing to be doing when you consider that that milk is much needed and many children sleep hungry at night. This is called Caana Shub and the man being treated in such a manner is the Sultan, Ugaas, Caaqil, Nabadoon, a sage or a leader of a certain tribe or region.

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This is how older generations of Somalis dressed and kept their hair. While travelling men usually carry a Barkin to rest their head on and keep their hair from touching the ground.

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Barkin

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This is what a Somali spoon or a Fandhaal looks like. I am sure you can guess what its uses are. It is also carved out of wood.

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Dabqaad.

Note that all these items may have several name variation in different regions of Somalia.

Images

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What you see above is a Somali hut or Aqal Soomaali in construction. The particular one above is from the Southern parts of Somalia. Though the ways of construction are similar in both the Northern and Southern parts of the country, the materials used for construction are different due to the locality. In the above picture, the structure the women have erected forms the roof of the hut. The things that you see on the floor in bundles are called Lool, usually made of flexible twigs from the Murcanyo tree, and are used to plaster all over the crisscrossing wooden branches. The Lool forms a cover of the roof, and on top of them goes the large woven mats, fastened with ropes to the ground. During rainy seasons something called a Shiraac, a waterproof plastic sheet, is covered on top of the mats.

In the typical Northern huts, things are slightly different. First very small brushwood, called Yacay and made from the Higlo tree or other trees with no prickly thorns, is spread to form a ring to outline the shape of the hut. Then several branches, called Udbo (singular – Udud) and made from Dhamas or Dayyib trees and sometimes even Gob tree, are erected from all the edges of the circle leaving a small opening for the entrance. The first two trees are usually much preferred as their wood is very strong and firm. The Gob branches are bendable and cannot do much to underpin the erected structure.

Once this is done, two or sometimes three long pairs of flexible wood obtained from the Gob tree are erected to form two semi-cricles around the hut. These are called Dhigo (singular – Dhig). The four pieces of wood would be wrapped altogether with dried hide. One pair would be running across from one end of the hut to the other forming a semi-circle, and the other pair forms another semi-circle intersecting the first pair in the middle to form a round hut. Now you have the outer structure of the hut formed and it needs to be strengthened on the inside.

A long piece of wood with a V-shaped head is then erected right in the middle of the hut, the v-shaped head holding the former two pairs of wood (Dhig) where they intersect. This piece of wood is called Udub Dhexaad, made from the same trees as the Udbo, and it holds the building upright by providing a central support on the inside. Now the structure of the hut, both on the inside and outside is completed.

Lool, as I mentioned earlier, is then used to cover the outer branches of the hut and then covered with nicely decorated mats. For the inside, heaps of dried grass is spread on the floor of the hut to form a soft cushion of earth. Then mats are laid on the floor and what you now have is a comfy sitting area shaded from the scorching heat. And the result is what you see below…

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In whatever way it is made, the intricacy and magnificence of the Somali Aqal is a testament to the ingenuity and handicraft of the Somali nomads, or Somali women I should say. The huts are made entirely by young girls and their mothers and the involvement of a man is very little, limited to just collecting the wood needed for the construction. For their mats, the Somali women still weave brilliant artefacts dating back to the early times of nomadic life.

The learning process of making Aqal Soomaali is passed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter and sleeping inside one of these huts is a truly wonderful experience.

Click here for a detailed post on how Somali Aqals are made.

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