Example Of Druze Ethnicity Research Paper
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The Druze people are a religious community that is tightly-knit and extremely secretive. Their origin is traceable to Egypt and dates back to almost a century ago. They are a religious community of Middle East, and their traditional religion is an offshoot of an Islam sect of Ismaili. However, this religion incorporates aspects of neo-Platonic, Gnostic as well as other philosophies. Ahl-al-Tawid is a term the Druze use to refer to themselves. The term means Monotheism people. They also refer to themselves as al-Muwahhidun, which means “Monotheist.” The name Druze has its origin from Nashtakin ad-Darazi (New World Encyclopedia, n.p). The Druze people are found in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. In addition, Jordan has a smaller population of this community. Syria has the largest population of the Druze whereas Lebanon boasts of the largest percentage. The Druze people of Israel live in Haifa and Galilee with Galilee accommodating the most. The Druze community of Jordan resides in Zarka and Amman with a minority living in Aqaba and Irbid. Golan Heights, which is a region that was captured from Syria by Israel, is a residence of a large population of the Druze. Moreover, expatriates communities of the Druze live in regions far from the Middle East, specifically in Canada, United States, Latin America, Europe, Australia and West Africa. Their main language is Arabic, and they essentially consider themselves to be Arabs (New World Encyclopedia, n.p). The Druze are a secretive community and intermarriage with people from other communities is prohibited.
Family life is very important among the Druze. Among the Druze, hospitality is an essential element of their culture. They value generosity and take care of each other especially orphans, widows, and the poor. If a family is deficient of resources and cannot take care of its members, the larger community will be compelled to help such members (Rohland, n.p).
In the culture of the Druze, sons are celebrated. When a baby son is born, family and friends gather to give gifts to the baby. A Druze couple that has daughters only will incessantly keep having children with the desire to get sons. Due to this, the Druze people tend to have large families with an average family having five or even six children.
The Druze people consider themselves to be Arabs yet male circumcision, a universal practice among the Muslims, is not part of their rituals. The male circumcision ceremony is absent in this community. Weddings are an important facet of the culture of the Druze. They are functions for the community to bond, and they involve the entire community. The wedding ceremonies have the potential to be extensive, and this is dependent on how wealth the families involved are. The expectation among the guests is that there will be plenty of drinks and food. There is immense extravagance involved in marriage ceremonies and alcohols such as spirits and wines are included in the servings. Drinking alcohol is something that is disapproved but when it comes to weddings, alcohol is consumed.
Moreover, marriage festivities are rare social events that bring together both young women and men and where they mix freely and can look out for future potential mates. Marriage is something that is expected of all women who emanate from the Druze community. The women are expected to get married when still very young, normally when they are between 17 to 21 years old. Marriage and weddings are normally an arranged affair and an engagement lasting about two years usually precedes them. Those to wed are chosen from young people within the community who fulfill the eligibility of being husband and wife. At the time of marriage, the expectation is that both the man and the woman will still be virgins. However, men fail to adhere to this expectation and engage in sex before marriage. In any traditional household of the Druze, sexual relations are frowned upon and never brought up in daily discourse or in conversations. Explicit engagement in sexual talk or relations is an essentially a breach of socially accepted manners. Polygamy is something that is not permitted among members of this community. Marriage within the same families is something that is allowed (Layish 9). A man has the potential to wed his first cousin cousins. In addition, there are wedding festivities that may be allowed between members of the Druze community and people from other communities. Marrying outside the community will cause one to be excommunicated. Moreover, to ensure marriage is a strong tie, a Druze will most likely wed a person coming from another country rather than wedding fellow local people who do not belong to the Druze community.
Furthermore, music and dance is an important component of the Druze community. Their music and dance are an important avenue to showcase their culture and preserve their practices. The performance of music and dance is possible because of a common language and shared music due similarity in songs, dances and instruments.
The Druze performed their music and dance during special festivities like weddings. During rituals that precede the actual weddings, families perform traditional songs, play musical instruments, and engage in numerous dances (Goren-Kadman n.p). During the marriage ceremonies, the tikhel dance is performed. During this dance, a bride is expected to grasp one of the kerchief’s hand to ensure that physical contact between groom and the bride is absent.
Moreover, the Druze people have musical instruments such as the zurna and dahola. The zurna is a mountain flute that is played by blowing. The dahola is a giant drum that is part of a music instrument ensemble. There is a distinction between the male dances and the female ones. The males dance alone or in groups of twos or twos. They are free to be innovative and come up with improvisations of dance moves. Women dance in separation from the men.
Everyone is obligated to dance at weddings with and for the newly wed couple to ensure that they are happy at their wedding (Manor 88). Music and dance are a crucial element in Druze culture since it was used to communicate important messages to people, to teach, and pass on the traditional practices of this community. Moreover, music and dance were performed as a form of entertainment.
Furthermore, the Druze people have traditional costumes that are part of their culture. Most women of Druze ancestry put on flowing blue and black dresses. They cover their heads with white pieces of clothing. Men wear traditional pants called shirwal that are usually baggy. These pants are normally tied around the ankles (Rohland, n.p). Kufiya is a piece of clothing that is worn on the heads by men when cultivating their fields.
The Druze community has produced heroes over time. Some of the prominent figures from Druze community come from many segments of society. The first person is Fakhreddin II, who was a Ma’an Dynasty descendant. Fakhreddin II ruled part of present Syria, Lebanon and Israel during the height of this dynasty. L’Emir Magid Arslan is a famous hero of Druze community since he was the one who led Lebanon to independence in 1943 when Bechara el Khoury, the president, was imprisoned by the French. Kamal Jumblatt was the founder of Progressive Socialist Party, a philosopher and a thinker. Salar Tarif was a Druze from Israel who was a captain in Israel Army divisions of the tank and paratrooper. Moreover, he served as Deputy Minister and Deputy Speaker in the Israel government. Others include Colonel Imad Fares (Israel Army’s Givati Brigade commander from 2001-2003), Lt. General Salim Slim (Lebanese Judiciary Police commander), and Farid al-Atrash (famous musician) who composed many movies and numerous songs. In the media, Casey Kasem is a radio presenter born to Lebanese immigrants of Druze ancestry (New World Encyclopedia n.p).
Other famous people from the Druze community are Sultan Pasha al-Atrash, who led the revolution against the French occupation of Syria and Lebanon. Many people view him as a courageous figure and a symbol of defiance to occupation and influence by outside forces. Mohamed Nafar is a famous son of this community because of being the Secretary General of Maki, a Communist Party in Israel. Moreover, Ramy Ayach is a famous from Lebanon (New World Encyclopedia, n.p). Among the prominent Druze, expatriate is Salwa Shuqayr whose parents were Lebanese Druze immigrants. President Reagan appointed her the chief of protocol at the State Department in 1982.
Goren-Kadman, Ayalah. "Ethnic Dance in the Yishuv and Israel: 1900-2000." ENCYCLOPEDIA. 1 Mar. 2009. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Layish, Aharon. "Marriage, divorce and succession in the Druze family." A Study Based on Decisions of Druze Arbitrators and Religious Courts in Israel and the Golan Heights (1982).
Manor, Giora. "The Yemenite Dance Materials of Sara Levi-Tanai." Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review 20.1-2 (2000): 88.
New World Encyclopedia. "Druze." New World Encyclopedia. 16 Oct. 2007. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Rohland, Pam. "Druze." Countries and Their Cultures. 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
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