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Tuarag Festival

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Tuareg festival in the Libyan desert

The Irish Times Gallery section has a series of arresting photos from the Tuarag Festival held in the Libyan desert in late December.  You can view the whole series here.

The Tuareg people are about 2 million nomadic people who live across the Sahara Desert, including in the North African countries of Mali, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Chad. The Tuaregs are part of the Berber group of people, and they are largely Muslim. Much of Tuareg art is in the form of jewelry, leather and metal saddle decorations, and finely crafted swords.

Most Tuaregs practice Islam, and they have developed their own distinctive brand of the religion. Tuareg belong to the Maliki sect of Islam, resulting from the teachings of the great prophet, El Maghili, who came among them in the early 16th century. Like most followers of Islam in northern Africa, Tuareg believe in the continuous presence of various spirits (djinns). Most Tuareg men wear protective amulets that contain verses from the Koran.Tuareg men begin wearing a veil at age 25, which conceals their entire face excluding their eyes. This veil is never removed, even in front of family members. It is believed that men began wearing the veil to protect their faces from the Sahara sands.

Tuareg women are not veiled.

Tuareg festival in the Libyan desert

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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