Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuareg Major Holidays

The Tuareg celebrate Muslim holy days, as well as nonreligious state holidays. Tabaski is the story of Abraham's willingess to sacrifice his son. Each household slaughters a goat or ram, feasts on its meat, and prays at the prayer ground. The Tuareg celebrate Ganni (also called Mouloud ), which is the Prophet Muhammad's birthday, with special sacred and secular songs and camel races. The end of the month-long Ramadan fast is celebrated by animal sacrifice, feasting, prayer, and evening dancing festivals.

Tuareg Folklore

There are many proverbs, riddles, myths, and folk tales among the Tuareg. Animal tales depicting human moral questions are popular with children. They feature the jackal, hyena, and rabbit. Many Tuareg groups have myths about female ancestors who were founders of traditions. One is Tagurmat, who fought a battle on Mount Bagzan in the Air region. Her twin daughters are said to have founded the herbal healing profession. Many stories are about spirits, called jinn, who are believed to play tricks on humans beings who are traveling alone in the desert.

Cultural Survival

Development programs from the 1940s into the 1970s failed to help the Tuareg because the programs worked against their traditional herding patterns. Between 1991 and 1995, Tuareg who had received military training and arms in Libya carried out a separatist rebellion. They demanded the right to rule their own region. Since that time, there has been continued off-and-on fighting in some regions of Mali and Niger. Some of the Tuareg have been forced into refugee camps.


The veil that Tuareg men wear on their faces has several meanings. It is, first of all, a symbol of male identity. It is also thought to protect the wearer from evil spirits. In addition, it is considered an attractive adornment and can be worn in various styles. The face veil is worn differently in different social situations. It is worn covering the nose and mouth to express respect in the presence of chiefs, older persons, and in-laws. Once they marry, Tuareg women wear a head scarf that covers their hair. In rural areas, Tuareg men wear long Islamic robes. Women wear wraparound skirts and embroidered blouses. In the towns, clothing is more varied.

Family Life

In rural communities, parents and their children live in each tent or compound. Each compound is named for the married woman who owns the tent. She may make her husband leave the tent if she divorces him. Fathers are the disciplinarians of the family. But other men, especially the uncles on the mother's side, often play and joke with small children. Grandmothers have a close, affectionate relationship with the children. Cousins have a relaxed relationship  by teasing and joking. Relationships with in-laws are reserved, distant, and respectful. Traditionally, the Tuareg have married within their own social category, preferably to a close cousin. In the towns, both of these traditions are breaking down. In rural areas, they remain strong. 

                                   A photo of Tuareg family from http://www.jump4timbuktu.org/

Birds of the Tuareg area

Amongst the wide spread of Tuareg groups across North Africa there is a large list of birds that come with this as well. The list is too long to show you just about ever bird. The Tuareg being from Lybia, Mali, Niger, and Algeria have seen many types of birds that include. Lybia brids: Ostriches, Pelicans, Boobies and gannets, and Flamingo. Mali birds: African Fish Eagle, Black-rumped Waxbill, Rufous Cisticola, and House Bunting.Niger Bird: Cormorants, Darters, Hammerkop, and Storks. Algerian Birds: Algerian Nuthatch, Moustached Warbler, and the Cirl Bunting

                                       A photo of African Fish Eagle from http://www.arkive.org/