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Message-ID: <NUBIA%96012514083685@SAKSU00.BITNET>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 14:00:09 SLT
Sender: Discussion forum on NUBIAN <NUBIA%SAKSU00.BITNET@VTBIT.CC.VT.EDU>
From: Hasan El-Melik <D03N003%SAKSU00.BITNET@VTBIT.CC.VT.EDU>
Subject: Nubian Death Marriage and Birth

Nubian Death, Marriage and Birth Traditions

By Hasan El-Melik, 25 January 1996

All Netters (Ser’n ag mendo)

There was nothing peculiar about the Nubian traditions connected with death except that at the funerals of women, the angareb on which the body was carried to burial was shaded with arches of palm branches over which was laid a red silk cloth, the garmasis, normally worn by women at weddings. The body was buried in accordance with the Sunna tradition in which the head points south, while the face is turned towards Mecca.

As in most parts of the Sudan, mourning continued for three days. Men usually sit in a big shed of wooden logs and wheat-stalk mast built specially for the occasion, which they called hasira, while women sat either on the terrace in front of the house or inside the rooms. On the third day a charitable offering, in the form of food or new cloth, was distributed to the poor. This ended the period of mouning. As in all other parts of the Sudan, the relatives and friends of the bereaved contributed to the occasion, either by small cash payments or presents of sugar and coffee. In addition, every family head in the village contributed towards the feeding of guests by bringing his food tray at meal times.

(From the Nubian Exodus by Hussan Dafalla). Prepared by Mohd. Aksha Khaleel.

When a boy reached eleven years of age, his relatives selected a girl for him as a suitable future wife. She was normally a cousin or near relative and she would be unofficially reserved for him. The couple grew up with the knowledge that they would be bound in marriage in the future when they had grown up and were ready (normally at the age of twenty-one for the boy and at eighteen for the girl). The father, mother, or whoever was the head of the family, approached the girl's relatives and officially engaged her for marriage to his son. The betrothal was done quietly, without a celebration or any advance payment or present. The occasion was restricted to the engagement and the fixing of the wedding date. After the engagement, the girl would confine herself strictly to her house and was not allowed to show herself in the street.

(to be continued)
Pre. M. Akasha