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 The old Nubian rituals and The river Nile

In Nubia all the land nearest the river is intensely farmed and irrigated; vegetables are even planted at the bases of date palms and fruit trees to maximize land use. In ancient times the growing of crops was possible only during the early fall, after the summer rains and after the Nile had flooded its banks. As the water gradually receded, farmers could raise less and less water to the fields, and thus little more could be grown until the following year. With the invention of the shaduf (the water lift) about 1600 BC and the saqia (the ox-driven waterwheel) in Roman times, some land could be irrigated even during the dry season, and this resulted in limited but continuous crop yield. Today such primitive machines have been replaced by motorized pumps, which make full-scale agriculture possible all year round.
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The most notable features of the Nubian Nile are its frequent stretches of rocks and rapids, called "cataracts", of which (before the Aswan Dam) there were six numbered cataracts between Aswan (the First Cataract) to Shabaluka Gorge (the Sixth, about 40 miles [66 km] downstream from Khartoum).
The Nubians have traditionally lived on the banks of the Nile southern Egypt and northern Sudan . They continue cultural practices which originated with their ancestors over 5,000 years ago in the age of the ancient Nubian kingdom . Nubian life revolves around the Nile River. The Nile provides water for drinking, washing, agriculture, In appreciation for the benefits of the Nile. the entire village gathers by the river during ceremonies such as birth, weddings , circumcisions, and harvest festivals

 Life in Nubia was oriented by a continuous round of ceremonial activities. Dr John Kennedy in " Nubian ceremonial life " The amount of time, effort and money spent upon ceremonialism was so great that it is no exaggeration to say that ritual activities dominated Nubia cultural life. It is also apparent that adaptation of ceremonialism have features of Nubian life for centuries, and that these people have been extremely receptive to ideas and practices from elsewhere. This tendency towards syncretism and assimilation in ceremonial customs reflects the intense involvement of Nubian action and though with the supernatural , and it is my opinion that if one does not understand this complex ritual system one can make no beginning at the comprehending of Nubian behavior and culture, or the changes occurring in them.
Marriage and the river
On the afternoon of the wedding day the groom sat on a mat and dyed his hands, feet, and forehead with henna ( reddish-brown dye stuff) after that he went to the river and washed the henna off his hands, feet and forehead because washing in the river helped to ensure the groom's ability to procreate children, since fertility was one of the attributes most persistently associated with the river
Death and the river
Death ritual related to the river took place on two different days once at noon of death and once again on  (Kobar day ). On both days women went to the river together and washed their faces. After washing they sat for a few minutes by the river, leaving their faces wet. This allowed the corpse to relax in its grave and cool the body of the deceased
Birth and the river
On the fortieth day the mother went to the river with the baby .Then she washed the baby's face, hands and legs in the river and filled five gallon tins with water so that she could have her Arbain ( forty day ) bath at home , a ritual which involved pouring forty tins water over herself . The water used in that ritual were thought to be blessed
The annual Islamic ceremonial cycle
The annual Islamic ceremonial cycle also showed theme of river related activities
Ashura and the river
Ashura is an Islamic rite held on the tenth day of the Arabic month of Muharram in memory of the martyrdom of the prophet's grandchildren. Women and children burned ropes after dark and ran to the river. There each put together some stones symbolic of his or her household. The number being equal to the number of family members to provide them the river blessing
The Mawlid and the river
The Mawlid is an Islamic ceremony on a Sheik's birthday. The keswa  ( cloth covered for the shrine in a Sheikh's tombs) was carried in a procession to the river. The men dived with it into the river and the women squeezed water from the cloth for everyone to drink for blessing
 

 

 

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