Explorations in History and Society

Exploring and Collecting the History of the Somali clan of Hawiye.

Archive for March 2009

First Mentions of Hawiye

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The first clear written reference to any Galla or Somali group is found in
the writings of the thirteenth-century Arab geographer, Ibn Sa’id. Ibn
Sa’id says that Merca, a town on the southern Somali coast near the Shebeli
River, was the ‘capital of the Hawiye country’, which consisted of more
than fifty villages (or districts or tribes).3 This area is today the home of the
Hawiye Somali clan-family, so there is good reason to assume that the Merca
region has been occupied continuously by the same Somali group for the
past 700 years. In fact, we can probably extend this to 800 years, for the
geographer al-Idrisi remarks that Merca was the region of the ‘Hadiye’
in the twelfth century. It is quite likely that the extant texts contain an
error, and that it should be ‘Hawiye’, as Guillain, Schleicher, and Cerulli


Merca; the ancient capital of the Hawiyya country.

1 This view is presented most fully by Cerulli (I957), I, and I. M. Lewis (I959a, 1960).
2 H. S. Lewis (I962); Fleming (1964); Haberland (1963), 3-6. Murdock (I959),
319-20, 323-4, suggested that the Galla and Somali originated in the highlands of
south-eastern Ethiopia but in most other respects followed the traditional reconstruction.
3 Guillain (1856), I, 238-9; Abu al-Fida (I848), II, 232; Cerulli (1957), I, 94; Schleicher
(1892), ix.


The Origins of the Galla and Somali
Author(s): Herbert S. Lewis
Source: The Journal of African History, Vol. 7, No. 1 (1966), pp. 27-46
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/179457
Accessed: 19/03/2009 16:17


Written by daud jimale

March 19, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Defeat of the Ajuran by the Gugundhabe

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The Aguran driven from the Webi by the Badi ‘Addä and Galga ‘el.

“In ancient times the Badi ‘Addä lived at Kahandalä. The Abgal later lived in that locality. It is near the sea (Kahandalä). This locality of Kahandalä, the Badi ‘Addä say, was near Märeg, on the coast in the southwest of Obbia, on the borders of the territory held today by the Abgal Waeslä and by the Habar Gidir. The Badi ‘Addä emigration from Kahandalä to the territory then held by the Mogosilä and Aguran therefore represents one more episode in the struggle of the tribes of pastoralists from the woodland to reach the river. Then (the Badi ‘Addä) emigrated from there. They came here. When they came here, the Agurän and the Mogosilä lived in these places. First of all, the Galgä‘el and they (Badi ‘Addä) are brothers. (Galgä‘el) is their maternal uncle (of the Badi ‘Addä). The Galgä‘el, or rather their founder, is the “maternal uncle” of the Badi ‘Addä, because the mother of the Badi ‘Addä, according to the genealogies, was a sister of Galgä‘el. ). Galgä‘el left his territory and went to Kahandalä and asked them for help (the Badi ‘Addä). Then they left together: ‘We shall go to our land!’ Then the Mogosilä and the Agurän lived together. They made war. The Mogosilä thus were made to emigrate from the country. The Mogosilä therefore emigrated from the Webi before the Aguran.“The Aguran lived from Mogadiscio as far as Ilig. Then they held an assembly. They met by the pool of Beha above Sibay. Then the Sultan said: ‘Here we shall hold an assembly. Everyone shall come tomorrow!’ Everyone brought a camel loaded with durra and butter and milk and a slaughtered animal. Then (the Sultan) said: — In ancient times there was water in the pool of Beha –. When they came to the pool, he (the Sultan) said: ‘Keep silent; I shall talk.’ Then he-said: ‘Now water is there in this pool. Anyone who would say leave the water and do not take it is cursed. By now it is cursed. By now it is finished!’ he said. ‘Let us emigrate from here.’ Then the Badi ‘Addä entered their territory.

“The Aguran had much arrogance. A Badi ‘Addä composed a distich:

If arrogance had led to anything, the Aguran would not have left the country.

“What was the controversy at first? The Galgä‘el and the Aguran fought each other first. Then the Galgä‘el were vanquished. They became afraid. Then they went in search of the Badi ‘Addä. They went to them at Kahandalä. They said: ‘Now we have neither brothers nor others. We want to be helped.’ They obtained help from us. The Badi ‘Addä, when they left Kahandalä, were only sixty persons and carried gourds. In the gourds they carried water. For this reason they are given the nickname of: ‘Badi ‘Addä of the gourds’. bo‘or is the water container produced from a dried gourd. Hence the nickname bo‘orräy given to the Badi ‘Addä. It was when the Badi ‘Addä helped the Galgä‘el; and the Aguran were vanquished.”


Enrico Cerulli “How a Hawiye tribe use to live”

Written by daud jimale

March 16, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Humorous folktale of the Hawiyya tribes

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       The Arab and the Abgal women

An Arab, having just come from the Arabian peninsula and who did not understand anything in our language, was sitting in his store one day. A woman entered the store. She bought something. When she had bought something, she stopped a while to look at the new goods that were in the store. The Arab was first of all an Arab, and when he had taken her money, he began to be suspicious. ‘Go away!’ he wanted to say and he did not know the language; he proceeded to say: ‘yâ bint, yâ bint sau gál sau gál’  (The Arab wanted to say ‘Go away!’ but in his ignorance of the Somali, instead he says, pronouncing it badly: so gal,   which means the opposite: ‘Enter)

 The woman was surprised. She went into the store once more. The Arab again cried: sau gál sau gál!’ And then what did he do? He seized the stick and beat the woman! There was screaming. People ran up. They said: ‘Oh what are these beatings for?’ ‘Well!’ he said, ‘I said: sau gál sau gál,  and this one entered my house. Cursed Somalis!’ ”

A misunderstanding between Hawiyya and Rahanweyn

“The Rahanwên, in their language, if they say harbarta, it is ‘your wife.’ One of us and an Elay who had come in search of hire in Mogadiscio. Elay cameleer who was trying to get a load in Mogadiscio for the return trip. ) quarreled. ‘Well!’ the Elay exclaimed. ‘What a bad language the Hawíyya is! The wife with whom you sleep, do you suck her breast?’ ‘You do worse’ the boy said, ‘the mother who gave birth to you, you sleep with her’ .The misunderstanding is caused by the different meaning that habarta   (literally: ‘your old woman’); ‘your lady’ in an honorific sense) has among the Hawiyya, where it is said of the mother, and among the Rahanwen, where it is said of the wife.

The Abgal bedouin and the deception of the freed

“Once a young Abgäl was drawing water at the watering place. A crocodile seized him, dragged him to the middle of the river, and ate him. This news became known on the east bank. Another Abgäl ran and stopped at the edge of the river. And he cried out: ‘Oho! Oho!’ To a freed who was passing through the forest of the western bank, it popped into his mind to answer: ‘Oh!’ The Abgal said: ‘Oho! Oho! If the serpent leaves you, come to find me on the eastern bank opposite Marerray! (Marerray is a watering place on the river) ’ I see very well that he gave him the last recommendations.

The promise of theAbgal bedouin

“An Abgâl and his wife were pasturing their sheep. While they were grazing, four sheep were lost in the woodland. The man said: ‘My God, make the sheep return to us. I will offer you a sacrifice of my goat!’ The wife jumped up to say: ‘Oho! Do you want to cut the throat of my goat?’ ‘Hush, ‘he said, ‘you are a stupid one. I was only flattering him (Another tale of this series which jokes about the ingenuity of the Abgal pastoralists.)

The Abgal bedouin who did not know mosquitoes

An Abgal who never went out of the woodland of the left bank one day had the thought: ‘I shall go to the black land to visit for a short time my brother-in-law Hamud.’ ‘Do not do that, uncle ‘Addo!’ ‘Uncle, will you go away from us?’ ‘I am already going!’ He left, and after having walked and crossed the river, he came to his brother-in-law’s house. They greeted each other. ‘Are you well in the black land?’ ‘Well, praise the Lord. But there are too many mosquitoes!’ ‘What mosquitoes?’ ‘Mosquitoes. Do you not know the mosquitoes?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘my God is God. (Oath formula. )! I have never heard of them.’ ‘It is an animal, an animal that bites people, and when it bites, it makes one sick.’ ‘Praise God!’ he said. And they talked of something else. But they understood at once that the old man was stupid. When night came, the bed was laid out in the small hut that was in the enclosure. ‘Good night, brother-in-law!’ ‘To us all!’ ‘Be careful, there are many mosquitoes here.’ ‘Do not worry, brother-in-law, because I am thinking about the mosquitoes here.’ Everyone went to sleep. The cat of our young man was in the hut. The cat was sleeping there; when it heard the old Abgal snore, it miaowed. The old man woke up! ‘Oho! Here we are, ‘he said. He stretched his hand toward where he heard the miaow and seized the cat’s tail. It scratched him. Its last day had arrived. The old man jumped from the bed, took the dagger, took the lance, and in the darkness he struck so much and hurled so much everywhere that he finally hit the cat. It died there. When it was morning, they gathered for breakfast. ‘Good morning, uncle, ‘Addo!’ ‘Good morning!’ ‘Did you see any mosquitoes last night?’ ‘Do not speak of it!’ he said, ‘a mosquito as big as a ram jumped on me. However, I cut its throat with a dagger. Look at the blood!’

 The contest in robbery between two Hawadla’s

Two Hawadlä fought. They said: ‘I am more of a thief than you!’ ‘No! I am more of a thief than you!’ Then one [of them] said: ‘I shall steal the eggs of that dove in the tree, without her perceiving it.’ ‘So be it! I shall watch you!’ the other said. The former jumped into the tree. He seized the dove’s eggs. He let them fall into the other hand. With this one he takes them, into that one he drops them. Then the other man, who is below, steals them from the hand. Did not the thief drop into his left hand the eggs that he took with the right one? When again he raises his right hand, in order to introduce it into the dove’s nest, the thief who is below removes from the hand the eggs taken. He steals them in turn. They came down from the tree. One said: ‘Where are the eggs that were in your hand?’ ‘I do not know!’ he said. Then the other one said: ‘Here they are! Thus, am I not more of a thief than you?’ He said: ‘You are indeed more of a thief than I am. (Here, too, a joke is made about the reputation for ingenious deception that those of Hawadla trbie have made for themselves.)



Source; Enrico Cerulli  “How a Hawiye tribe use to live”












Written by daud jimale

March 15, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Marriage traditions amongst the Hawadlä and Gal ge’el

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A Hawadlä tradition


“The consuetudinary law of the Hawadlä is this: When one goes away with a woman, she is taken to the house of an old elder. Then she is sent back to the house from where she was taken away. His fee is paid to the elder. Then the elder brings five thalers and takes the girl with him. Then she is taken to the father’s house. Then it is said: ‘The girl that I took away is this one.’ He (the father) says: ‘It is all right, but what does the girl have with her?’ ‘The girl has with her five thalers as donis.’ The fatiha is said. ‘May the marriage be celebrated!’ An ox is brought to the father for the marriage. When the ox is brought to him, he says: ‘Where is my hurmo? (hurmo,   ‘respect,’ is the technical name of this gift.)

The hurmo is thirty thalers. The thirty are brought to him. He says: ‘Give the money to her brothers!’ Some of the money is given to her mother, three thalers. ‘Give some of the money to her paternal uncle, the thaler of the paternal uncle! Give the maternal uncle the two [thalers] of the maternal uncle! Then marry her. Bring me my ox!’ The ox is brought. Then four taniche of durra and the ox and a goatskin of butter are brought. A thaler is spent for coffee. Then I also kill an ox in my house. Then, when I have killed the ox, the four taniche of durra brought by me are cooked. When they are ready and I place the vessel of butter there, all, the old and young, eat it. Then my bride is taken into the hut. What is the custom? You say: she must remain eight days and not go out. After she has stayed eight days in the hut, an amulet is cut. Working the land is begun.


“When one wants a girl, they make an agreement. We make an agreement. She says: ‘Go to my father, take him the money, take him the ox! I want you.’ You take her away. If you go to the father, he tells you: ‘She is your sister. If you want her, take her!’ Then you marry her. You take her to the house of the elder.

 A Gal ge’el tradition




The consuetudinary law of the Gal ga‘al is this: When a woman is married, the wife remains with her father’s people. He [the bridegroom] goes to his house. He goes to his house; then he comes in secret. He comes out to go to his wife at night, when the sun has set. He is calledinniyál.’   The bride is also called inniyâl.’   The people of the bride’s father graze the livestock during the day. When the livestock is grazed, and he [the bridegroom] spies from the woodland, if he finds her in that woodland she is his wife, he couples with her. When she takes care of the livestock, she does not wear the sâs’ on her head, and her hairdo is still with puffed-out hair. This is the consuetudinary law of the Gal ga‘al.”


In the customs of the Hawadlä, too, marriage takes place by symbolic kidnapping; that is, with the bride’s ‘escape’ from her father’s hut, together with the bridegroom, to the hut of an elder of the tribe. This elder, to whom a special gift is due, later acts as an intermediary with the girl’s father, whom he notifies about the nuptial gift already negotiated by the bridegroom for the bride; and settles the gifts for the relatives. The sacrifice and the nuptial banquet follow


According to a variation, which seems significant, the father may also know about it beforehand and give generic consent to the ‘escape,’ which constitutes marriage by kidnapping, except, of course, for the following notification by means of the elder, as we have just seen. This emphasizes the symbolic character that the matrimonial kidnapping has today among the Hawadlä too.


Quite different is the special marriage practiced (1919) among the Gal ga‘el. The bridegroom who has not completely paid the nuptial gifts (it is to be supposed) is recognized as such, but the bride’s people ignore him. He returns to the residence of his own people and is not permitted to visit his wife except at night, in secret, without the wife’s people knowing it openly. And, in order to indicate better this ‘secret marriage,’ the bride keeps the hair of a girl, without covering her hair with the veil, as is the general practice among the Somalis, in order that, in the sight of the others, she will appear unmarried. It is to be remembered that this secrecy, during which the bridegroom is called inniyal (the bride, in the feminine: inniyal  ), comes to an end with the payment of the nuptial gift. So we have, in this case too, in the custom, one of the forms of marriage by credit, about which, as I said, the ‘Libro degli Zengi’ /Book of the Zengi/ already speaks for the peoples of the Giuba /Juba.

Sources; Enrico Cerulli  “How a Hawiye tribe use to live”


Written by daud jimale

March 15, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Marriage traditions amongst the Molkal

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A Molkal tradition

“If a Molkâl wants a girl, what does he do? If you want her, you and a friend of yours go there. You go to the girl. ‘O girl, come out for us!’ She comes out. Then one talks with her. You agree. ‘Go to my mother.’ ‘My mother, I want your daughter’ tell her! so that she may be informed. And what is said to the father? The matter is hidden from him. ‘Bring the money, I will marry you.’ You take the money, you carry it, you give it to the girl and to her mother. Then you take her away. If you want, you take her far. If she does not want to, you take her to a place in the same country. Then in the morning when dawn breaks, the man to whose house you have taken her comes to you. Then he tells you: ‘Give me the “fol-báhsi”   ‘(literally: ‘save forehead’). You say: ‘Call for me the old man So-and-So.’ ‘I will seek him for you.’ He looks for the girl’s father. Then it is said: ‘Carry two thalers for the “donis”!’   Then you give two thalers for the walaya.’   Then he says: ‘Our people want to eat now that the donis”   has been received. An animal to be butchered is needed.’ An agreement is reached. Then it is said: ‘Marry!’ You marry. The bride is taken to your house. This is our custom. Nothing is said to her father [beforehand]. It would be a disgrace. She is stolen from him. If one were to tell him, he would say: ‘Shall I ask my daughter for you? Take her away!’ When the girl is taken away, she receives [from the bridegroom] ten thalers. It is her ‘billo.’  To the mother are given ‘the two of the mother’: two thalers. To the maternal uncle two thalers. To the paternal uncle nothing is due. To the maternal aunt one thaler. To the slaves that she (the bride) possesses’ one 308   thaler; to the freed one thaler. If she does not have slaves, [the thaler] is given to her brother who has some. ‘Our lady is married. Where is the obol?’ they say and ask.”

The Molkal are a Hawiyya tribe of the Guggundabé group and live along the Webi, among the Badi ‘Addä, whose relatives they are, having as their center the village of Mansur, upstream from Mahaddäy. The matrimonial custom of the Molkal is analogous to that of the marriage by symbolic ‘kidnapping’ of the Abgal in the preceding text. Yet the Molkal marriage has some characteristics of its own. First of all, the agreement for the nuptials is made known to the girl’s mother, to the exclusion of the father, who is not to know anything about the marriage (since the ‘kidnapping’ represents precisely the violence done against the girl’s people, people whom the father personifies). The marriage is actuated by the ‘escape’ of the spouses, who go to stay for one night in a hut chosen in the same village or in another village, the bridegroom paying an agreed-upon gift to the owner of the hut. Then the sacrifice and the nuptial banquet and the payment of the gifts to the various relatives of the bride follow. Parallel to the intervention of the mother, instead of the father, in the agreement for the nuptials, so also does the nuptial gift belong to the maternal uncle, to the exclusion of the paternal uncle. Thus, in this custom of the Molkal, we have a link with the people of the bride’s mother.

Source; Enrico Cerulli “How a Hawiye tribe use to live”

Written by daud jimale

March 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Marriage traditions among the Abgal

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An Abgal tradition
When an Abgal boy wants to marry, the weddings of the Abgal are of two kinds;
An agreement is reached with the woman. You yourself reach an agreement with her. When you are in accord and she has said ‘I accept!’ you say: ‘Let us go away!’ You take her away. A dress is given to her, only one. Then she is taken to a seh (sheikh). He joins you, he marries you. When he has married you, you take her away. You take her home. She enters a hut. A lamb for the nuptial sacrifice is chosen and killed. What is the nuptial sacrifice? A head of livestock is slaughtered and you pray for the girl that she may bear children. A pot of durra is cooked. It is eaten. Then one is married. To her father nothing is due. ‘For your daughter, who is in agreement with someone, do you ask for money?’ It is a disgrace. ‘You keep the girl!’ She wanted him, this man.
“The nuptials are this way for the one; for the other, on the contrary, one goes to the father. ‘Give me the girl!’ one says. He says: ‘Bring me the “darab”!   Bring me the “mäggälyo”   and the nuptial sacrifice!’ The ‘darab’   is made up of four lambs and one lamb; [the bridegroom] pays these five. The livestock that is given the mother [of the bride] is this. The ‘mäggälyo’   are some cotton goods that are given the girl’s father. If you speak with the father, this money is necessary. When one goes to her father, he goes to her mother and speaks with her. ‘So-and-So has asked for your daughter and we shall give her to him. Know it!’ he says. If the mother refuses, she is forced; the girl is given. We are ashamed for the girl’s mother, when they are not married yet. When they marry, the bridegroom says: ‘Make the girl happy! Give her food! Buy an ox!’ Then the girl is taken. The people look at one another. Then the nuptial sacrifice is slaughtered. The bridegroom sacrifices it. He slaughters it in his house. The girl’s father does not go to the [nuptial] house. ‘I will not go to the house where my daughter marries. It is a shame for me,’ the father says. [Instead] the paternal uncle and her brother come. The mother does not come. The people related to her by marriage come. Something to eat is given to all. The food [of the banquet] is taken to her father; the paternal uncle of the bride takes it. The food [of the banquet] is taken to the mother; the paternal uncle of the bride takes it. Then there is dancing. Many dances are done. One enters the hut. The father is given a camel, the mother a lamb, two thalers belong to the paternal uncle of the girl, two thalers belong to the maternal uncle, and one thaler belongs to the paternal grandfather. A cow belongs to her brother. His cow is given to him. 304   One thaler belongs to her paternal cousins; one thaler belongs to the maternal aunt. One thaler belongs to the paternal aunt. Four thalers belong to the grandmother. A thaler is given to the oldest sister. Then one enters the house.

No less singular evidence of the ancient institutions is the custom of the work that the bridegroom performs for the bride’s family before the marriage: to wash their clothes, to take part in the rural tasks (the freed’ are agriculturalists). This recalls the ancient norm of the consuetudinary law of the Bantu already living on the Giuba /Juba/ before the arrival of the Galla and the Somalis, a norm that made possible the payment of the nuptial gift for the bride through the work of the bridegroom for her family, as is still documented in the “Libro degli Zengi’ /Book of the Zengi’’.

“When one marries a woman, a new house is built. It is necessary to do some boasting. If one marries tonight, tomorrow the man goes to draw water. He remains absent for three days. He returns with the water drawn. Then he enters the house with the woman. If he sleeps with the woman and there is no water, it is not possible for them to wash themselves. And he says: ‘I do not wish that one not be washed!’ First he draws the water. When they enter the house together, the following day one goes to the field. The woman, if she marries today, tomorrow her head is veiled. Her head is veiled with a black kerchief. She oils her head. This is the consuetudinary law of the Abgal (Harti).
The custom of the Habar Hintiró is different. The boy makes an agreement with the girl. He says: ‘I will take you!’ She says: ‘Bring fifty rupees!’ He says: ‘Reduce it somewhat for me!’ She answers: ‘Bring thirty thalers (Thirty thalers are equal to fifty rupees)
If she is a beautiful girl, she takes the thirty thalers. Then she is taken away. She is married, she is brought home. The nuptial sacrifice is slaughtered. One enters the hut. This is their wedding. If one goes to the girl’s father, he says: ‘Dearest, this man has asked for you, I bless you and I give you to him!’ She answers: ‘I approve. My sister So-and-So got so much; I also want as much. If he gives me that, I am for him too! Otherwise he is to go away!’ So she speaks. To the man it is said: ‘If you are able to give it to her, give it!’ Then he marries her. No money is given to the girl’s father. It cannot be foreseen whether the girl will accept or refuse. She is taken by the money. This money which is given the girl is called ‘gogol-ku-tâb’   (literally: ‘wrapped in the bed’). When the girl is taken away, a garment is unfolded. The money is put there. It is tied with fringes. The garment is put on the bed that is in the girl’s house and on which she used to sleep. It is wrapped in the bed. One goes to one’s own bride. The following day the mother comes to the bed. She calls: ‘O So-and-So! O So-and-So!’ She feigns that she is at home. ‘Oh! Last night somebody took the girl away. Oh! Here are her tracks! Oh! Up! I will look at her bed!’ When she looks, there is her garment. The money is tied in the garment. The mother takes the money and puts it in a place. She wears the garment. She puts the money in place. It is carried to the girl. When it is taken to her, she [the mother] says: ‘Here is your money. Buy household goods!’ She buys her household goods. The mother does not take a besa (A besa was a hundredth of a rupee)
“For the Abgâl women it is not by force [that they are married]. You take away the one with whom you are in accord. For the freed it is different. When a 305   freed wants to marry a woman, first one goes to the family of the girl with whom he is in love. [The bridegroom] gives cotton goods. He builds a hut. He makes a lean-to. He washes the garment of her mother. He washes the garment of the girl. He washes the garment of the girl’s father. He washes the garment of the boy born together with the bride. He works the field. Then two loads of durra are given. The ‘yardo’   is paid. When this yardo   is paid, a hut with a lean-to is built. The hut is erected. Then his mother enters this house. She cleans it. She sets up the bed there. All  the household goods are put there. Then the girl is kidnapped. She is kidnapped with violence. One enters the house. An ox is slaughtered. The girl’s mother takes seven gowns. She takes four stools and a bed to sleep on. She takes a pail and a plate on which food is eaten. She carries all these things there, then she goes away. She goes to her house. Today a woman gets married. Her hands are tied. A whip is taken. During the night she is beaten. The bridegroom beats her. When the bridegroom and the bride enter the house together, they stay there seven days. During these seven nights he does not abandon the whip. This is the custom of the freed.”

This text also comes from the Abgal ‘Abdallah Agon-yär (collected in September, 1919). The custom thus presented consequently recognizes two different nuptial contracts: the one stipulated with the bride, and the one, more solemn, stipulated with the father (or the guardian) of the bride. The two kinds of marriage are equal in juridical validity, the difference being only ceremonial, so to speak. Yet the nuptial contract stipulated directly with the woman does not   involve gifts to the father, nor to others of the bride’s people, such as, on the contrary, the one stipulated with the father (or guardian) requires. Both types of nuptial contract are celebrated with the sacrifice of a head of livestock, a sacrifice that is meant to be propitiatory for the fecundity of the marriage. If we consider such a situation historically, we may perhaps believe that the marriage stipulated with the father or guardian of the bride (and with the gifts to her people) is an actual continuation of the ancient marriage formerly stipulated through an intergentilitial agreement. (Cf. above, p. 44/see 21: Cerulli in this file)
whereas the marriage stipulated with the bride is an evolution of the one by kindnapping: kidnapping that, as we see among other Somali tribes, has become more or less symbolic. In this sense only the violence — since accepted in the stylized form of the custom — interrupts the preponderance of the gentilitial bond and makes valid the agreement between the individuals instead of the agreement between the ethnic groups. The nuptial gifts in the marriage that we shall call intergentilitial are many and they include: the prenuptial ones to the father (maggalyo)   and to the mother (darab) of the bride; the postnuptial ones, at the ‘entering 306   into the hut,’ constituting the new family per separatam oeconomiam:   to the father and to the mother of the bride, to the paternal uncle and to the maternal uncle and to the paternal relatives.

The taboo, also imposed on the bridegroom among the Abgal, of not meeting the bride’s mother until the marriage has been consummated is still important; as is the other taboo, which seems to me not to be attested to elsewhere, because of which the bride’s father cannot attend the nuptial banquet (and the sacrifice which precedes it) and receives his share of the banquet from the paternal uncle of the bride. To this double custom of the Harti Abgal there is contrasted in our text the custom of the Hintiro Abgal. Among the Hintiro, in case of marriage contracted directly with the bride, the agreed-upon nuptial gift is paid only indirectly (and not given to the bride, as it is according to the custom of the Harti). Here, too, we see in the Hintiro custom a symbolic residue of the abduction, since the sum agreed upon is placed on the bride’s bed in her house, when the bridegroom has taken her away; and the mother is ceremonially surprised by the absence of the lass, until she finds the nuptial gift that she will give her later.
The marriage of the so-called ‘freed’ (Habaso),   that is, of the Negro groups who live along the Webi on the borders of the territory of the Abgal has instead clearly preserved the character of the kidnapping both in the abduction of the bride and in the beatings during the nuptial retreat. In both these episodes the violence actually may have become symbolic, but the preservation in the customs of this fiction is historically typical by itself.
Source; Enrico Cerulli  “How a Hawiye tribe use to live”

Written by daud jimale

March 15, 2009 at 10:54 pm