As-Samer in Jordan

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Inscribed in 2018 (13.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Jordanian Ministry of Culture, 2015

Practised across many areas of Jordan, As-Samer consists mainly of dancing and singing and is performed on various occasions, most commonly during marriage ceremonies. Practitioners range from young to older individuals, with children being encouraged to take part during performances. On the wedding day, the father of the groom instructs the attendees to line up and start applauding and singing. The performance that follows involves specific roles for certain people. The Al-Hashi is a veiled woman, always one of the inviters’ relatives, who sings and dances in front of the Al-Samer row while wearing an Abaya (a loose, black garment worn over the traditional garment). Another person is the ‘Wasq Al-Hashi’, one of the Al-Hashi’s relatives, who takes hold of her sleeve or Abaya and asks her to sit down. Then comes the role of the Al-Badda, a man who starts singing by directly addressing Al-Hashi, to resume the dancing with poetry. The lines of poetry uttered during the performance form an integral part of the tradition, expressing feelings of joy, peace, intimacy and empathy among attendees. Practising As-Samer consolidates social bonds and promotes cohesion, and attendees of all ages are encouraged to participate spontaneously, in an effort to transmit the related skills and knowledge to the next generations.

The beginning of the performance
Local community's participation
A woman acting as Al-hashi with the man
The participation of youth and the young
Youth spectators
Al-hashi with one of her relations performing
In front of all performers
Hospitality is part of the ceremony
A joint dance between Al-hashi and one of the spectators
Two women play Al-hashi role with the men