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

Folk Riddles in Bahrain: The Example of Al-Burhama

Issue 56
Folk Riddles in Bahrain: The Example of Al-Burhama

Dr. Ali Imran

This paper sheds light on the aesthetic dimension of riddles and their relationship to the collective conscience.

When people connect with the knowledge that comes from solving a folk riddle, they begin to look for meanings and imagery in everyday life that match the values and meanings in the riddle. This means that folk riddles serve a social function by providing answers to which people can relate.

This study yielded these findings: 

  1. Riddles represent common cultural elements such as conventions, traditions and attire. They serve as a bridge that connects the present with the past and give people and communities a sense of identity.
  2.  Folk culture, like other types of heritage, may be found in various types of riddles. 
  3. Folklore and the riddles that it includes reflect a culture that connects intellectuals and members of civil society, shaping a community's self-concept.
  4. Folk heritage is the foundation upon which the histories of nations and peoples are built, and folk riddles are among the heritage tools used to sustain cultural, social and political progress.
  5. In terms of creativity or critique, our generation must pay attention to folklore, especially riddles, as the ones formulated by previous generations are being destroyed and obliterated.
  6. Folk heritage represents the cultural community's previous identity and, after researching and assessing it, we should use it to create an intellectual foundation based on our awareness of the mistakes of the past.
  7. Our ancestors, who witnessed a time in which education was not available and accessible except in rarities, used riddles as a mean to engage their minds and increase their knowledge.

Although this study cannot address the subject of folk riddles in all their dimensions, the researcher attempted to document a set of folk riddles unique to the Burhama region, and to provide a basic explanation of each. There is still a lot of room to research riddles, with a focus on studying more folk riddles in the Kingdom of Bahrain, specifically in the Burhama region, using data and taking into consideration factors such as generations, genders and interests to shed light on new riddles.

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