Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

What are some traditions in Algeria?

In my entry for Cultural Orientations from the Defense Language Institute (DLI), I claim you can answer the question “What are some traditions in Algeria?” with this resource. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the site and click on “countries.”
  2. Click on A-B
  3. Choose Algerian Cultural Orientation
  4. Click on the “Traditions” tab

There are a number of areas within “Traditions.” Here’s what I found to be the most unusual:

Tuareg Gender Roles

The Tuareg’s cultural traditions extend beyond their distinctive blue clothing. They are known for their veil and often refer to themselves as “people of the veil.” In contrast to much of the Muslim world, it is primarily the men who are veiled and not the women. For the Tuareg, the veil is a symbol of masculinity. Men likely began wearing the veil as protection against the harsh desert environment while they caravanned. In time, the veil became associated with additional beliefs, including that it protects against evil spirits who would enter the body through the nose or mouth. Today, the veil is first presented to a boy as a rite of passage when he enters manhood. Once donned with the veil, Tuareg men will not remove it, even in front of their families. Women have a prominent role in Tuareg life; honor and social status are determined through matrilineal descent, and Tuareg women own their family’s land.

“Cultural Orientations” is simply one resource on culture available from Writer’s Guide to Government Information.

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