Have you ever thought about how other people live outside of your own life? For example, what kind of life do the Amazigh (Berber) people, scattered across a large part of Africa from Mali to Egypt’s Siwa oasis, lead today?
If you happen to be in the Sahara Desert one day, you will often encounter the Amazigh people, who are famous for their colorful clothes, wonderful music and hospitality; distinctive lifestyles and what they have managed to preserve for centuries cultures It will attract your attention with.
And if one day you actually go to the Sahara Desert, when you meet people you didn’t know existed before and realize that you share similar feelings and thoughts – as I thought – “I wonder if you are someone who was born and raised in these lands?” Berber “If I were you, what kind of life would I have right now?” you might think. If we were an Amazigh living in Siwa in 2023, our life would be exactly like this:
We mostly spoke Siwa (local Berber language) in our daily life.
The language spoken by the Amazigh people is generally “Tamazight“. Amazigh language, or Berber language as some call it, is spoken in a wide area extending from the mountains to the deserts in the north of Africa. The language spoken by the Amazigh people living in Siwa is called “Siwi” differently.
Imagine, this language managed to survive among changing kingdoms, empires and cultures for thousands of years. This language, which is quite unique in this respect, is used in different regions. different dialects there is. So much so that sometimes there can be big differences between the dialect spoken in the mountains of Morocco and the dialect spoken in the desert.
However, this language is a language that Amazigh people only use to communicate with each other in daily life. In written language, in educational language It’s not very common. For example, with Egyptians living in the same regions Arabic They are talking.
We could have known 3 different Alphabets.
The most famous alphabet used by the Amazigh throughout history “Tifinagh” It is called . When you see this alphabet, it attracts your attention with its interesting characters that resemble geometric shapes. But, as I mentioned, this alphabet is not very common among the new generation. In other words, the number of people who can read and write is very low among the Amazgihs.
It is said that Arab domination in the region greatly suppressed both language and culture. In modern times, when writing, we generally write in Arabic. arabic alphabet is being used. Some people use this language in Latin alphabet prefers to write.
In summary; The language and script of the Amazigh reflect the rich and diverse history and culture of North Africa. It has a unique heritage. If one day you see these letters somewhere, you will now know what they mean!
We could engage in agricultural activities such as going to our date garden in the early morning hours and dealing with irrigation works.
Living as an Amazigh in the beauty of Siwa brings a life in touch with nature. If we were born Amazigh in Siwa, agriculture would be at the heart of our lives. Wakes up with the first light of the morning, maybe has a cup hops tea We would drink it and set off towards our date garden.
Date is the golden fruit of Siwa; It is both delicious and abundant. A life revolving around these sweet fruits every day would remind us how lucky we are with the gift nature offers. On the other hand, average 45 degrees weather and depressing desert heat It would be an ordinary thing for us.
We would wear colorful dresses and colorful jewelry or traditional white, long dresses.
If we were born a Berber living in the Siwa oasis of Egypt, of course our choice of clothing would be both traditional as well as environmental It was shaped depending on the factors. Since Siwa is a region with a hot desert climate, our clothes had to adapt to these conditions.
That famous long white dress for men is called “djellaba“. Djellaba seems to be designed to cool off on hot days in the desert or to protect you from the cool breeze in the evenings. And of course, it keeps you cool by reflecting sunlight with its white color. However, it is possible to see djellaba not only in white, but sometimes in brown or other natural colors.
As for the daily clothes of Berber women, they also have their own version of colorful djellabas. For women, djellaba is generally more colourful And decorated. Some of them have such beautiful embroidery that they are like a work of art.
Women also wore colorful scarves or scarves to wear on their heads. “takchita” They wear traditional dresses called. These dresses are often used at special events, festivals and entertainment.
Speaking of fun:
Amazigh; It is known for its festivals, music and dances. Each region carries its own unique rituals and celebrations, but what they all have in common is the community’s desire to come together and keep their traditions alive.
If you come across an Amazigh festival, their unique instruments are completely original dances and it is impossible not to be enchanted by their songs in Amazigh language. However, interestingly, they are against these songs and entertainments being recorded on video and shared on social media. For this reason, it is not possible to find it on the internet.
In addition to these enthusiastic entertainments, “arak” They are also known for their traditional alcoholic drinks. Arak is an anise-based drink produced especially in North African countries and is an indispensable part of social gatherings, celebrations and sometimes even daily conversations among the Amazigh.
It is usually mixed with water and ice and drank as a result of this mixture. It turns white. In addition, you should definitely try their sweet tea, which they prefer to drink in the desert, especially after sunset.
In short; Siwa is an oasis in the middle of the desert, the hidden treasure of Egypt. Amazigh people living here, historical and with its cultural riches It may fascinate you. If you want to see date palm trees, old temples, a completely different and less spoken language, and the Berber people who continue their struggle to preserve their own identity, visiting Siwa will be an experience that meets your expectations.
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