Somalia is located in the horn of Africa, and unlike other African countries, it’s a fairly homogenous country with a singular ethnic group. While Somalis across the country may have different lifestyles, they have a unified culture, language, and religion. The difference in lifestyle typically arises from the financial status of different groups, with some living in luxury while others living in destitution.

Of course, the different clans of Somalia also have varying practices that make each clan unique in its own way. That said, the country’s culture and traditions can be studied as a whole, as they’re uniform across the board. Here’s a quick look at Somali culture and its different elements, such as history, art, and food.

Somali History

According to current theory, Somalis first emerged in southern Ethiopia and moved towards northern Kenya, and finally settled in the horn of Africa where Somalia currently lies. It is there that the Arab Muslim influence took over Somalis, and to this day, the country remains an Islamic majority, with 99% of the people identifying as Sunni Muslims. To that end, Islamic values are deeply woven into the fabric of the society and the Somali way of life.

Somali Art

Despite its constant political conflicts and turbulence, Somalia has a thriving art scene. Historically, Somalis are known to be great orators as they’ve been expected to capture and hold the attention of large audiences during clan meetings. Their speeches have always been laid with poetry and metaphors that also form the basis of the theater and art in the country. Somalis also have popular folk songs that are widely sung across the country.

Somali Food

Just like Somali culture, Somali food is also a rich mix of African elements and South Asian influences. Somali meals are generally meat-forward, and you’ll hardly even find a vegetarian Somali. Meats such as lamb, beef, mutton, and chicken are cooked using ghee or cooking oil. It’s also spiced like Indian food using spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric to make curries. Basmati rice is considered a staple and is often eaten for all meals. Popular Somali dishes include Muqmad, Bariis Iskukaris, Cambuulo, Kebabs, Sambuus, and Sabaayad.

Learn More about the Somali Community in Ohio

If you’re in search of more information about the Somali community, check out the blog on Somali Community Link. We’re a non-profit organization that aims to resettle and rehabilitate the Somali community in Ohio.

We provide comprehensive Somali community resettlement services such as housing needs, education funding, employment assistance, and legal advisory.

Visit our website now to volunteer with us or donate to our cause.

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