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

Hajj songs and traditions

Issue 30
Hajj songs and traditions

Ashraf Abu Al Hamad Al Khatib

Pilgrimage songs are common, especially among women. Women would gather in the yard of a person who was leaving for pilgrimage to congratulate them and create a joyful atmosphere at their home.

To celebrate, they sang songs that feature alliteration; the songs usually refer to places the pilgrim will visit, and praise the status that he or she will enjoy after completing Hajj.
Although the lyrics differ from place to place, some lyrics are common to multiple areas. There are similarities between the songs of the inland tribes and those who live by the sea, and the songs have spread over a wide region as they were passed down through the generations.
 People would decorate the cart used to transport the pilgrims with white flags to symbolise purity and tolerance, and gather around the cart cheering, ululating and singing to congratulate the pilgrim and express their wishes to visit Mecca.
The songs mention the types of transport the pilgrims use to travel to Mecca. The song ‘The path of the Prophet’ mentions a camel. People would also draw the pilgrims’ forms of transport, including camels, trains, ships and planes. The songs and drawings depict the scenes and stages through which the pilgrim will pass. Drawings, which often depict the pilgrims’ parade, are decorated with sketches of leaves and ceramic pots. Egyptians also decorated the outside of pilgrims’ homes with plaster, glue and bright paint to celebrate their safe return and to show that the residents have performed Hajj.

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