“Dinner for the Dead” at the end of Ramadan in Sudan … Charity with folkloric flavors

Among spiritual, religious, and other food rituals, Sudanese celebrate during the month of Ramadan, beginning with the production of the abri drink, which is also called bitter sweet, and which is drunk as the main category in addition to eating porridge and other dishes. and ends with another special ritual called “Rahmat” or “dinner of the dead.” It means the coming of mercy, because of the abundance of alms with the intention of approaching God on that day.

“Mercy” is a seasonal celebration of the distribution of alms to the souls of deceased relatives, and here the religious purpose is mixed with the spiritual one, according to the African belief that the souls of deceased relatives descend on this night to receive mercy. in the form of almsgiving, and the Sudanese belief differs from that of the African, that the former believes that the spirits of the dead come for good, while the latter thinks that the spirits of the dead are embodied in evil, and their coming is to make punishment in family. Mercy takes place on the last Thursday of Ramadan, the night of the last Friday of the month, and is known as “Orphan Friday”.

Despite the high prices and poor living conditions of a large part of the citizens, this habit did not disappear and like many habits continued to fight for survival, but its quantity varied according to the conditions of each family. and after being distributed to a number of relatives who had direct contact with the deceased, by allocating an estimated percentage of food to the children and distributing a portion of it to the needy in nearby neighborhoods and the needy being treated in hospitals, and a next part for Khalawi students associated with mosques and mosques to memorize the Qur’an. It was limited to children within the family, then to the poor, in order to preserve the principle of almsgiving.

brings mercy

Most of the customs in Sudan, even the commemoration of the deceased, take a ceremonial form and at a time when death itself took the form of a traditional folk festival, in which the people of the deceased strike copper and hold the “mourning,” which holds mourning for the dead for days in a row since the news of the death was announced, as a certain woman performs many songs, which are specialized to list the deeds of the deceased.

“Mercy” takes on a traditional form close to this, but the religious emotional dimension prevails, as it adheres to the principle of almsgiving and prayer to bring mercy. neighborhood, knocking on doors to be offered food and dates.

The noise of children exploding in the streets and alleys is heard in all the houses waiting for them to come to eat their share of food, so they split into groups and quarrel over who is better to serve them food. The meal is “fatahu” which is called “hot” because it is served at a certain temperature and children begin to sing a famous song as they beat on the tambourine, which are:

“The heat is not gone

six dukkah what happened

straw straw

six dokka women

sulfur sulfur

Six dokka imp

lemon lemon

Six Dokka is crazy “

The songs in their entirety are an expression of urgency to offer them the “fatah” prepared by “Set al-Dawka”, the woman who prepares the meal, and the “dokka” mentioned is a word from the Sudanese conversation that means a flat sheet of ceramic or iron to make “kasra” and bread. Usually children go home where they will taste abundant and special meat. In one aspect, this custom is similar to the celebration of “Georgian” in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf region, but children in “Merciries” do not wear elaborate costumes and are instead presented with “fetah”. of sweets and gifts.

Fattah and wet dates

The “Rahmatt” meal consists of a large “fatah” dish, a popular food that entered Sudan with the Turkish occupation and was originally a rich feast organized by princes in the Ottoman Empire. It consisted of garlic, tomato sauce and coriander, and finally the top layer of meat with large, circular pieces arranged on the surface of the dish. As for the dates, they are dipped in earthenware hours before the time of serving the “Rahmatt” meal, to keep it fresh and to be served with food.

Food culture is transmitted and developed as science and literature, in primitive and civilized societies. In the case of “mercy”, the “feast” has slipped from its origins to become comparable to the Sudanese reality, rooted for another purpose of solidarity, and shifted from the tables of the Ottoman princes to the tables of the public. , distributing it to the poor and needy, not far from the reality of everyday life, and preserving the privacy and purpose of the occasion.

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The meal prepared in “rahmat” varies according to different regions of Sudan, and although “fatahu” is widespread in large parts, especially in the center and north, other regions in the east have their own dish served. on this occasion, and the “rahmet” there consists of corn overnight cooked in a large clay pot, at the entrance of the house. The pot is placed on a large fire wood, the smoke of which rises to the top. The belief associated with the place where corn is cooked at the door is that the smoke that rises reaches the sky and brings goodness to the people of the house. After the corn is cooked, sugar and oil are placed on it and served to the children in the afternoon and before sunset today, while the children call the bird Rahu who is on his daily journey through the lands of Beja and sings songs in Beja (bedavit) which calls those who forgive them at night for goodness and development and there it is believed that the prayers of children are answered.

Takaful continuous

“Al-Rahmat” expresses social solidarity and because of the large amount of food and drink offered on this night, some call it the Night of Enlargement. , whether inside city neighborhoods or on highways and force them to eat breakfast before continuing. their travel, and is one of the remaining Sudanese customs despite the economic conditions that affected the quantity of food and did not affect the origin of the custom and the quality of the food provided.

And the relationship of these symbiotic habits in general, including “mercy” to changing social phenomena, has remained a major controversial issue and whether today’s generation is able to maintain them, due to the necessity of stormy economic conditions which reflected on the structure of solidarity, its function and relationship with society, as well as the social conditions of emigration and others.

These symbiotic rituals are practiced collectively at the level of the nuclear family in villages and hamlets and the so-called “big house” that unites boys, women, girls, men and boys, but they differ in cities, in most of them. practiced individually and simply. One of the features of solidarity is that the neighbor provides for his neighbor, or the able relative takes care of the school expenses of the needy students of the extended family, or for the treatment of one of the sick and others. It is also practiced collectively at weddings and mourning in material and outdoor forms that vary in the variety of those occasions, indicating that this persistent human culture in its Sudanese dress is trying to escape bad conditions in the hope of continuity.

There are many families who are interested in “mercy” from a psychological, cultural and social point of view, as a symbiotic behavior, as charity carried out according to special social customs and despite all the economic conditions and high prices, Sudanese society tries to such as to divide its members, so that the poor do not feel his poverty, nor does the rich become richer.

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