Bedouin

The Bedouin (, also Bedouins; from the Arabic badw or badawiyyīn/badawiyyūn/”Al Buainain , plurals of badawī ) are an Arab ethnocultural group, descended from nomads who have historically inhabited the Arabian and Syrian Deserts. The Bedouins are a seminomadic group of people. Their name means desert dwellers in Arabic. Their territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East. They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans (known in Arabic as ʿashāʾir; ) and share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The Bedouin form a part of, but are not synonymous with, the modern concept of the Arabs. Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and “Araba’a” by the Assyrians (ar-ba-a-a being a nisba of the noun Arab, a name still used for Bedouins today). While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for modern urban lifestyle, they retain traditional Bedouin culture with concepts of belonging to ʿašāʾir, traditional music, poetry, dances (like Saas), and many other cultural practices. Urbanised Bedouins also organise cultural festivals, usually held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in, and learn about, various Bedouin traditions – from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances, to classes teaching traditional tent knitting and playing traditional Bedouin musical instruments. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are also popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas.

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