Wednesday, 17 June 2020



Over nine-tenths of the population in Djibouti is Muslim. Nearly all adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam. Some Christian religions are represented in Djibouti, including Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

95 percent of the people practice the Islamic religion. In Djibouti Religion, there is no constraint on the practicing of other religions.

Arabs are the first settlers in the country dating back in 3 B.C. and in 825 B.C. the religion of Islam was introduced. The French occupation of the country in the 1800s up to the late 1900s introduced Christianity to the country, but Islam still remained the religion practiced by the majority of the Djibouti people.

Religious festivals are very much observed in the country. Islam and Christian festivals are celebrated as national holidays in the country. During these religious festivals, especially for the Muslims, people wear traditional clothing as a sign of sincerely celebrating the festivity.

When it comes to the deceased, all bodies are buried, whatever religion he/she practices. There is no cremation in Djibouti. The Afars and Issas believe, however, that the souls of their dead rejoin their ancestors.

Drinking, smoking or eating in public during Ramadan, the month of fasting, is forbidden for all, including visitors.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and there is not widespread discrimination against other faiths.

The government generally respects the individual's right to practice their religion even though proselytizing is not allowed. 94-99% of Djiboutians are Muslim, the remainder being mostly Christian.


Because of the many influences, Djibouti is a mixture of ancient and modern. Language is one of the major components of the Djiboutian culture. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual population speaks Somali and Afar as their main languages, but the official languages are Arabic and French.

When not dressed in western clothing such as jeans and t-shirts, men typically wear the macawiis, which is a sarong-like garment worn around the waist. Women typically wear the dirac, which is a long, light, diaphanous voiledress made of cotton or polyester that is worn over a full-length half-slip and a bra.

Language is one of the major components of the Djiboutian culture. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual population speaks Somali and Afar as their mother tongues, but the official languages are Arabic and French. Modern and Standard Arabic are also spoken, while good portions of the population also uses Ta’izzi-Adeni Arabic, Amharic, Omani Arabic, Greek, and Hindi.

Music also plays an important part in Djiboutian life and the two main ethnic groups both have their own traditions. Afar music is similar to the folk songs of the countries in the Horn of Africa like Ethiopia, but has distinct Arabic influences. The country’s  musical tradition goes back to the nomadic days of the Afar people, when they traded goods with China, Egypt and India. Oral literature is also musical, and you may hear songs of war, praise, boasting, and for weddings. Somali folklore has a strong influence and their songs are mainly pentatonic, unlike major heptatonic or seven note scales. Djiboutians use different instruments like oud, bowl lyre and tanbura.


Djibouti lies in northeast Africa on the Gulf of Aden at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. It borders Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. The country, the size of Massachusetts, is mainly a stony desert, with scattered plateaus and highlands.

Central and south Djibouti is covered by a stony desert and scattered volcanic plateaus crisscrossed by deep, time-worn troughs, some with shallow salt water lakes.

There are no significant rivers in Djibouti. Djibouti is, in essence, a vast desert wasteland. From the narrow coastal plain, the land rises in the north to a small series of mountains.

At 23,200 square kilometers, Djibouti is the third smallest country in continental Africa, after Swaziland (second smallest) and Gambia (smallest). Djibouti is just a little smaller than the state of Massachusetts.

One of the famous lakes located in Djibouti is Lake Abbe. This lake is also famous as the place of the discovery of Australopithecus skeleton Lucy. It was founded during the Afar depression in 1974. The lake is also known for its limestone vents and flamingos.

Taxi fares in Djibouti increase 50% after sunset.

The Danakil Desert is a lowland geothermal region which covers much of western Djibouti. The Danakil Desert extends into Ethiopia and Eritrea. Erta Ale is a volcano that settles in the Danakil Desert.

•By Frank Walker

•culled from

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