The hot and dry environment of Djibouti is reflected in its clothing. Men usually wear the macawiis, a traditional sarong-like fabric wrapped around the waist, while not clothed in Western clothes like as trousers and T-shirts. Many nomadic people wear a tobe, a loosely wrapped white cotton robe that falls to about the knee and is draped over the shoulder (much like a Roman toga).
The dirac is a long, airy, diaphanous voile dress made of cotton or polyester worn over a full-length half-slip and a bra by most women. Married ladies frequently use shash head scarves and garbasaar shawls to conceal their upper bodies. Unmarried or young women, on the other hand, do not usually have their heads covered. Traditional Arabian clothing, such as the male jellabiya (jellabiyaad in Somali) and female jilbbis, are also popular. Women may wear specific jewelry and headdresses similar to those worn by the Berber tribes of the Maghreb for special occasions, such as festivals.
Djibouti’s unique art is mostly handed down and maintained orally, mostly via song. In the local buildings, there are many traces of Islamic, Ottoman, and French influences, including plasterwork, meticulously crafted designs, and calligraphy.
Somalis have a thriving musical culture based on traditional Somali folklore. The majority of Somali songs are pentatonic in nature. In contrast to a heptatonic (seven note) scale like the major scale, they only utilize five pitches each octave. Somali music may at first seem to be similar to that of neighboring areas such as Ethiopia, Sudan, or the Arabian Peninsula, but it is eventually distinguishable by its own distinct melodies and genres. Lyricists (midho), songwriters (laxan), and vocalists typically collaborate to create Somali music (codka or “voice”). Balwo is a prominent Somali musical style in Djibouti that focuses on love themes.
Traditional Afar music has elements of Arabic music and is similar to folk music from other areas of the Horn of Africa, such as Ethiopia. Djibouti’s history is preserved in the poetry and songs of its nomadic people, and it dates back thousands of years to a period when Djiboutians traded hides and skins for the perfumes and spices of ancient Egypt, India, and China. Oral literature from afar is also very melodious. Wedding songs, battle songs, praise songs, and bragging songs are just a few examples.
Poetry has a long history in Djibouti. The gabay, jiifto, geeraar, wiglo, buraanbur, beercade, afarey, and guuraw are all well-developed Somali styles of poetry. The gabay (epic poetry) is the most complicated in terms of length and meter, with many lines surpassing 100. When a young poet is able to write such lines, it is considered the pinnacle of poetic achievement and is regarded as the pinnacle of poetry. The well-developed art form was historically promoted by groups of memorizers and reciters (hafidayaal). Baroorodiiq (elegy), amaan (praise), jacayl (romance), guhaadin (diatribe), digasho (gloating), and guubaabo are some of the major topics in the poems (guidance). The baroorodiiq is a poem written to honor the death of a famous poet or person. The Afar have a strong oral history of folk tales and are acquainted with the ginnili, a kind of warrior-poet and diviner. They also have a large collection of combat tunes.
Djibouti also has a rich literary history in Islamic literature. The medieval Futuh Al-Habash by Shihb al-Dn, which recounts the Adal Sultanate army’s invasion of Abyssinia during the 16th century, is one of the most well-known such historical writings. A number of leaders and academics have written memoirs or thoughts about the nation in recent years.
The most popular sport in Djibouti is football. Although the nation joined FIFA in 1994, it has only competed in the African Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup qualification stages since the mid-2000s. Djibouti’s national football team defeated Somalia’s national team 1–0 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying stages in November 2007, marking the country’s first-ever World Cup victory.
Djiboutian cuisine combines Somali, Afar, Ethiopian, Yemeni, and French elements, as well as some South Asian (particularly Indian) culinary influences. Many Middle Eastern spices, such as saffron and cinnamon, are frequently used in local cuisine. Spicy meals range from the traditional Fah-fah or “Soupe Djiboutienne” (spicy boiling beef soup) to the yetakelt wet (spicy boiled beef soup) (spicy mixed vegetable stew). Xalwo (pronounced “halwo”), also known as halva, is a popular dessert served during Eid festivities and wedding receptions. Sugar, corn starch, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and ghee are used to make halva. Peanuts are occasionally used to add texture and taste to dishes. Following meals, houses are customarily scented with incense (cuunsi) or frankincense (lubaan), which is produced within a dabqaad (incense burner).