The Weird Tradition by Salman Ayash, Yemen

Like many of my friends and relatives, I cannot celebrate Eid Al-Adha (the Islamic festival of sacrifice) away from my birthplace, a small mountainous village in Ibb governorate, Yemen. There, the Eid has a different feel as many traditional games and activities are undertaken by the villagers during Eid days.

Giving one example, is our celebration of Ameer Al Eid and his Arousa (the crown of Eid and his pride), which is one of the most traditional and enjoyable games played every morning of the holiday. The Ameer is a man with a terrible mask on his face and a tail of an animal in his hand. On the other hand, the Arousa is a man dressed like a woman holding a djambia (a traditional dagger) in his hand. Sometimes, there may be more than one Ameer and one Arousa.

Every morning, people from all the neighboring villages gather in the large square, along with the Ameer and his Arousa. Together they dance the popular folkloric dance in Yemen (Bara). People also enjoy watching the Ameer doing comic actions while dancing.

After every dance, the Ameer has to protect his Arousa from people trying to kidnap her. He has a traditional license to hit the kidnappers and their supporters hard using the tail.

This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region. 

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