A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Folklore Of The Rain In The Yemeni Memory

Issue 11
Folklore Of The Rain In The Yemeni Memory

Arwa Abdo Othman (Yemen)

We have seen that when the heaven laughed and generously rained on the land, the later got vivid and green. But when the heaven was angry it refrained from raining. In the folk beliefs drought is an outcome of the anger of the heaven. Consequently, the earth is covered with the evils of man and it was punished either by flood or draught, both of which would cause the demolishing of kingdoms and civilizations. The rain could be interpreted as a symbol of the satisfaction of heaven. So asking for rain is an opportunity to release man from his sins and make him closer to the gods. Similar to other nations, Yemen had known rituals of asking the heaven for rain. Shedding tears is one of these rituals. However, the black cloud has a couple of meanings in the folklore of many nations. When a black cloud appears, according to the traditional consciousness, charity is coming for the benefit of both man and earth. But some writings interpret the appearance of the cloud as ill omen. Folksongs and proverbs have depicted rain; the language of heaven. It is believed, for instance, that the souls of children are covered by the rainbow. In German-Austrian myths children’s souls fly to the heaven in a ceremony lead by the angels. We have seen how the traditional vocabulary about rain is rich with the ritual of asking for rain. We have also seen the children leading the procession of this ritual, chanting and asking the cloud to rain, and certainly the god will respond positively. Both water and infancy have the characteristic of chastity. The presence of children is the presence of rain and fertility and the presence of the innocence of souls which were not yet corrupted. Every traditional belief has a mythological basis, probably something beyond the mythological. Not only that but even beliefs of orthodox religion have mythological bases deeply rooted in the remote past. It is well-known that every nation has its own belief and myths which might differ even within the same society. The society of the desert for instance, has its beliefs about rain contrary to those societies of the mountains, the seas, the urban centre and the rural settings.

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