Somalia Lifestyle and Culture

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Have you been wondering how Somalis run their everyday life? Their Dos and DONTs? Then welcome to RocApply!! We have dedicated this piece for your information on Somalian culture and customs! Let’s get going...

The varied cultural life of the Somali includes both traditional activities and, especially in the cities, many modern interests. Cultural activities include primarily poetry, folk dancing, the performance of plays, and singing. These traditional activities still retain their importance, especially in rural areas, and are practiced not only at family and religious celebrations but also at national ceremonies. On such occasions traditional local costume is generally put on.

When meeting a Somali for the first time, it would be best to start a conversation with "Sidee tahay?" This basically means how are you? It is known that Somali people are very outgoing and they like to be involved in a flowing conversation, especially if the topic is related to their culture, particularly if asked, what is your favourite Somali dish!? One can also keep the conversation active by responding with a little bit of humour or at least with an expression of it. Another known fact is that Somali people love to laugh, so cracking a good joke or two is highly encouraged.

It is assured that the typical Somali person will and is a bit more comfortable if he or she can have a good laugh. Somali people love to be a bit complimented. If you mentioned how beautiful Somali ladies look in ‘diracs’, an elegant Somali dress that most of the Somali women wear, the results will be very impressive. Additionally, if interacting with a Somali man, acknowledging that he has a nice style will end up with an appreciating grin. Not difficult right, in fact, very interesting!

In Somali culture, most of the intimate interactions are kept private between the involved parties. Since these people are Muslims, it is prohibited for them to engage in any intimate activity with the opposite sex if he and she are not married to each other. It’s allowed and recommended to show affection to the husband or wife in public, such as kissing in public in a very guarded manner. Due to their modest culture, Somali people still keep their intimate affairs private. One will not see most Somali people kissing each other on the street or even holding hands much of the time. A married man and a woman walk with each other side by side, and not cling on to one another.

The Somali culture does not discriminate based on gender, however, there are identifiable roles between genders, and this is consistent with the teachings of Islam. In the Islamic religion, it is absolutely forbidden to discriminate against others based on their class, ethnicity, religion and also their gender. That’s exactly what most Somali people practice. At a young age Somalis are also taught to respect their elders, a rule that they honour a great deal during their adult years. In the workplace these attributes would have a positive impact because people respect and treat others equally based on those motives.

Lateness is common among friends and does not imply rudeness or disrespect here. Somalis tend to be extremely patient and have a more relaxed approach to timekeeping. However, punctuality is expected in professional setups. Wearing clothes that cover shoulders and knees to respect the modesty Somali counterparts a common practice. Once you are here, we help you with a detailed guide on the etiquettes to avoid any associated embarrassment!

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