What do I do at Sudanese wake?
February 6, 2011 9:03 AM   Subscribe

How do I pay respects to a Sudanese coworker's family?

A sudanese coworker just lost her father. I am going tomorrow to pay my respects to her and her family. I have been told that it would be good to bring sugar as a gift though I am not sure why or how much.

She is an observant Muslim who always wears a headscarf. I am not sure of how conservative her family is so I want to be sure to be culturally appropriate.

Can anybody who is more familiar with Sudanese and/or Islamic customs advise me on how to proceed? I'm at a loss other than the sugar thing.
posted by Gringos Without Borders to Human Relations (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I have been told that it would be good to bring sugar as a gift though I am not sure why or how much.

You're not part of their culture, so they would understand if you didn't follow them. In fact, I would recommend that if you are not in Sudan, that you pay respects according to the custom of the majority culture of your country, and just do what you think is best. Otherwise, it might seem like you're trying to show off your knowledge of Sudanese culture and customs and trying to get their attention. Just do what everyone else who is there does. They will understand and probably have low/no expectations of you other than to act respectfully.
posted by anniecat at 11:25 AM on February 6, 2011


When my Southern Sudanese friend recently lost his father, he was responsible for providing a meal for the village, so what he really needed was money to offset the cost of the meal.
posted by 4ster at 1:23 PM on February 6, 2011


I am in Sudan, in Khartoum. I am not providing a meal for all of Khartoum.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 1:32 PM on February 6, 2011


I have to say I find it very surprising that you would ask this question if you're in the country itself. I'm also not sure why you can't ask the person yourself. Or the person who told you to bring sugar.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:04 PM on February 6, 2011


The wake went as well as these things can go. I got the biggest bag of sugar I could find which was five kilos. It looked kind of sad next to the 50 kilo sacks the neighbors brought, but I guess it's the thought that counts.
posted by Gringos Without Borders at 8:19 AM on February 7, 2011


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