Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Kenya, Dijbouti, and Ethiopia. Most of the population share common forefathers and are ethnically Somali. These people are distinguishable by their Sunni Islamic beliefs, Somali language, and traditional clan system. Their culture and daily life varies greatly across the region due to the varying levels of safety, governance, and poverty.
Prolonged and widespread displacement of the locals has contributed to different understandings of the local culture. Many refugees and displaced people can only rely on an abstract idea of their identity due to a lack of personal memories of their country. However, there are many values that are a definite characteristic of Somali culture, such as kinship, hospitality, generosity, and respect for elders.
Generosity is one of the core values of the Somali people’s culture. They don’t limit it to only their family or immediate community, but extend it towards the entire public. Somalis find it honorable to be charitable, hospitable, and helpful regarding everything—from personal connections to money, food, and time. Hence, individuals often receive financial, emotional, or social support from the broader community when they’re going through hardships.
Somalis don’t think too conservatively when it comes to considering their future and prefer to give what they can in the present. This means that people can usually rely on a stranger’s hospitality in Somalia.
The Somali culture has a rather strong social aspect—men can maintain their social life by sitting at local tea shops and speaking to passersby, while women can make spontaneous visits to their friends and neighbors. Generally, people meet their friends without having to organize it every time. It’s normal for Somalis to approach strangers for a chat—something that they miss when living overseas.
The role of elders
Elders play important roles in society, as well as everyday life. They function as counsellors, mediators, and negotiators that also act as the representatives of a clan. The authority and power of elders is extremely important in upholding the law in places of the country where there is no functioning government, with the elders sitting together to resolve situations.
Help out the Somali community in Columbus, Ohio
Do you want to help keep this wonderful culture alive? A small contribution towards our cause can help with the Somali community’s resettlement services in Columbus! The Somali Community Link provides financial assistance, education funds, and aids Somali immigrants with business development to help them flourish in this new land. We aim to let these struggling refugees and immigrants assimilate into American society.
Learn more about our services here.