Senegal is a beautiful country that attracts several visitors every year for different reasons. You could easily tell that it wasn’t mistakenly called the “Gateway” if you get a chance to visit. Senegal’s national and cultural values are inspired by the rich tradition of the country. This beautiful country’s population is estimated to be around 17 million people. The population is also well distributed in both rural areas and towns. Originally, Senegal was part of ancient Ghana and Djolof kingdoms during colonial times.
Many European countries like France, Portugal, and England always fought to have Senegal under their rule. The French later won the competition and started ruling Senegal in their own way. This went on until 1960, when Senegal was allowed to have independence under the leadership of statesman Leopold Senghor. The official language spoken in Senegal is French which should be understandable because it’s a French colony. Other local languages like Wolof, Pular, and Mandinka are still used on a smaller scale. Students in Senegal are not familiar with the English language as it takes up a small part of the national curriculum.
The biggest percentage of the population in Senegal is Muslim, whereas the rest are Christians. Traditional religions have been there for centuries since their members don’t like imported religions. Senegalese people are naturally friendly to each other as well as tourists. They like greeting each other every time they meet, even if they run into one another several times a day. You are advised to learn some basic French because it might be challenging to be a tourist in Senegal without the ability to communicate. The community in Senegal is largely Muslim, meaning that some Islamic laws have to be obeyed.
You won’t find women who are dressed inappropriately on the streets of Senegal since it’s not allowed. Wearing skimpy clothes like swimsuits should be reserved for places like the beach. This also applies to common habits like smoking plus alcohol consumption which are not allowed near mosques. Senegal is a country of strong athletes who have represented the country in many competitions globally. Different kinds of sport are loved, but football is the most watched. Senegal is proud of football players who take the next step from being local athletes to representing internationally. Sadio Mané, who plays as a forward for English Premier League club Liverpool, is now seen as a national hero.
Art, together with recreational activities, are powerful symbols of Senegalese culture. Cultural music is made of traditional instruments and soothing female vocals. The Mbalax has acted as a symbol of Senegalese music globally. The majority of the population, young and old, have immense respect for community traditions as well as the country’s distinctive culture. You can notice the smiles on people’s faces whenever they listen to the rhythms of the Yela. Musicians in Senegal embrace new musical ideas from time to time to keep their fans hooked. The fusion of traditional music instruments with the basics of modern Western music gave birth to contemporary Senegalese music.
Attending a Senegalese wedding is the perfect opportunity to experience this country’s local culture. There’s a beautiful way how women love helping each other to have a perfect wedding. Every woman feels responsible for making her friend’s wedding memorable. All the work is done in the early hours of the day to create more time for fun. When all the wedding vows have been said, the rest of the day is about food and fun. People at weddings have enough energy to keep them dancing for a whole night. Gifts are an important part of wedding parties in Senegal because they are a sign of friendship and character.
There are various reasons why polygamy is seen as a normal practice in Senegal. However, it wouldn’t be fair to blame this practice on the influence of Islam. In traditional Wolof culture, a man with numerous wives was respected and seen as a natural leader. The tribe went ahead to declare that the best form of marriage is to choose a girl from your maternal uncle’s family. In other cultures worldwide, this would be considered a marriage between relatives, which is strange. Senegal has a rich culture that has not changed despite the influence of Western traditions on the state.