Chad: Holidays, climate, national customs
|January 1||New Year|
|April May||Mouloud (birthday of the prophet)|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|25. May||African Liberation Day (anniversary of the founding of the OAU)|
|August 11||Independence day|
|15th of August||Assumption Day|
|November 1||All Saints Day|
|November 28||Anniversary of the proclamation of the republic|
|November December||Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)|
|December 1||Festival of freedom and democracy|
Source: Countryaah – Chad Holidays
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the feast day Eid-al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The festivals Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitre last 2-10 days, depending on the region.
There are a number of Christian holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
In principle, Chad has two main temperature zones: the north and the southern regions.
The north of the country has a desert climate. This means that there are strong temperature differences (up to 20 °) between day and night and there is only about 20-35 mm of precipitation throughout the year. Exceptions are the mountains, where up to 1,000 mm of precipitation can fall annually.
The south has an almost tropical climate, with abundant rainfall (up to 1,100 mm per year). While the average temperatures here are usually 20-25 °C, they can rise to 40 °C shortly before the rainy season. The rainy season lasts approximately from May to October. In the more central part of the country, shortly before the rainy season, the temperature can also be 45 °C. In this area, however, the rainy season is around two months shorter – it only begins in June and ends in mid-September.
Habits In Chad, people usually eat with their hands and without aids. But only the right hand is used for this. The left one is reserved for the toilet.
It is therefore considered very rude and disrespectful to eat with your left hand.
Islam is predominant – especially in the north of the country – therefore women in particular are advised to wear reserved clothing.
In the rather sparsely populated north live mainly Arab and Arabized nomads, semi-nomads and cattle breeders, who, as Orthodox Muslims, attach great importance to Islamic customs, clothing and eating regulations.
The people in the south, on the other hand, mostly adhere to Christianity and natural religions and are strongly guided by tribal traditions.
ethnic Chad Due to the wide range of different Chadian ethnic groups and languages, a rich cultural heritage has developed in Chad.
The country’s government promotes Chadian culture and national traditions by opening the Chad National Museum and the Chad Cultural Center.
The country also has six national holidays, but also (moving) holidays for Muslims and Christians.
Soccer is the most popular sport in Chad. The (fail) successes of the national team of Chad, whose players have played and are playing in many renowned French clubs, are being closely monitored.
In addition to football, basketball and freestyle wrestling are also causing great enthusiasm in the country.
Polygamy is very common in Chad. It is estimated that around 40% of women live in such circumstances.
This practice is supported by the law, even if wives speak out against it when entering into marriage.
Situation of women
Although violence against women is prohibited by law, domestic attacks against women and girls are very common in Chad. The same applies to female genital mutilation, which is also sanctioned by law, but is also deeply anchored in people’s traditional life and is therefore a nationwide practice. It is believed that around 45% of Chadian women are subjected to this brutal procedure. The ethnic groups who practice female genital circumcision most of all are Arabs, Hadjarai and Ouaddaians. 90% and more of the women there are circumcised. Lower circumcision rates are found among the Sara (38%) and the Toubou (2%). Apart from these forms of violence, women suffer greatly from structural violence, which it excludes from areas of professional development and (higher) education. All of this is happening despite the fact that the case law in Chad is based on French law prohibiting discrimination against women in the areas of property and inheritance. Here too, however, the tradition prevailed, which internalized a favoring of men in the psyche of people.
Childhood in Chad
Chadian children are still used as soldiers. In addition, UNICEF reports about 53% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 who have to do work in Chad. Another worrying fact is that Chad is one of the starting countries for child trafficking to Nigeria, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia and the Central African Republic.
Homosexuality should by no means be openly lived in Chad. There have been numerous reports of violent attacks on and discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Taking photos in Chad requires a special permit from the Ministry of Tourism. If you don’t have one, the camera can be confiscated or, in extreme cases, even arrested.
But even with such a permit, you should definitely not photograph people (and especially women) without asking them beforehand. This can be life-threatening at times.
For example, there was a report by a (white) photographer who took photos at a public market in the Chadian capital of N’Djamena and got a knife in her back.
Interestingly, taking photos is far less dangerous in rural areas.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that CD stands for the nation of Chad as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Lake landscape of Ounianga
The area of the protected area is approx. 630 km².
There are 18 interconnected lakes in the area. The climate is very arid and the evaporation of water from the lakes far exceeds precipitation. Four of the 18 lakes are in the
Ennedi region in the northeast basin of Chad in the Ounianga Kebir region. The bottom of Lake Yoan consists of clearly distinguishable layered sediments and is 27 m deep. YoanSee is the largest and has an area of around 3.5 km². There are also the Uma, Mioji and Forodom lakes here.
About 40 km away from Ounianga Kebir – in the scree desert Ounianga Serir – are the other 14 lakes, which are separated and bordered by dunes. Here is the largest lake, the Teli, which has an area of approx. 4 km², but only a depth of approx. 10 m.
There are two types of lakes here, saline and freshwater.
The surface of the freshwater lakes is extensively covered with reeds, which limit the evaporation of the water. The lakes have no runoff and are fed by groundwater.
Some Saharan crocodiles still live in the area.
This hydrological system – the physics and chemistry of water in all areas of life – only exists in the Sahara desert.
Scientists from Cologne carried out boreholes in Ounianga Kebir and were able to provide precise information about prehistoric climatic processes by evaluating the results. This part of the Sahara is and was practically deserted and therefore the results of the research are interpreted as being free of interference from human intervention. It is forbidden to do business there by national law.
The Ounianga lake landscape was added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 2012.
The capital of the Wadai region (also Ouaddai) in eastern Chad, with almost 80,000 residents, spreads out on the border with the Sudanese region of Darfur. Abéché is traditionally one of the most important trade hubs in Sahel Africa. Much of the trans-Saharan trade still goes through the city, which has the second university in Chad with its Adam Barka University. In addition to other secondary schools, Abéché has a Roman Catholic church consecrated to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, a hospital and the only existing post office in the entire region. Abéché is also the largest garrison town of the Armée National du Tchad in the east of the country.
In the south of Chad lies Moundou, the capital of the Logone Occidental region. The 138,000 residents make the Moundou, which extends along the Logone River, the second largest city in the country. Since 1959 the city has been the most important industrial center of Chad. It has an international airport and is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of the same name.
N’Djamena, the capital and largest city of Chad, called Fort Lamy until 1973, extends in the southwest of Chad at the confluence of the Shari and Logone rivers. N’Djamena is connected to Kousseri on the Cameroonian side by a bridge. Apart from numerous mosques, the presidential palace and a cathedral, the city is very poor in terms of sights, but has been proud of the Université de N’Djamena since 1970.
Sarh (formerly Fort Archambault)
The largest city in the south and third largest city of Chad spreads out on the Chari River and functions as the capital of the former Moyen-Chari prefecture. About 110,000 people live in Sarh, the center of the cotton industry and today a major hub for goods from all over Chad. The city is also known for its lively nightlife and the Sarh National Museum.
Chad National Museum (Musé National N’Djamena) in N’Djamena
The National Museum of Chad is located on Avenue Felix Eboue near Place de l’Indépendence and contains numerous artifacts from the country’s history. Although many exhibits were lost due to the civil war, the museum in N’Djamena, which was established in 1962, is still an impressive place which, among other things, presents finds from the Sar culture of the 9th century. It was housed in the city’s former town hall.
In Abéché, the largest garrison town of the Armée National du Tchad in the east of the country, there is a barracks from the French colonial era on the Place d ‘Indépendance. This is particularly worth seeing because of its architecture.
Adam Barka University in Abéché
The Adam Barka University in Abéché is, along with the Université de N’Djamena, the most important higher education institution in Chad. Unfortunately, the number of its faculties has been reduced due to the political situation.
Université de N’Djamena
The most important institution of higher education in Chad has existed since 1971 and was established in the capital N’Djamena. The university, initially called Université de Chad, was given its current name in 1994.
The normal market is one of the few attractions in N’Djamena. Atmospherically, the dense crowd is combined with the oversupply of a wide variety of goods. The meat market in particular is a real challenge for every carnivore. However, one should keep in mind that crowds of people, especially in the Chadian capital, are not entirely safe. A local company is therefore advisable.
Gaoui pottery village
The pottery village Gaoui, about 10 kilometers from N’Djamena, impresses with its colorful huts and houses. These give it an almost magical atmosphere. If that’s not reason enough for a visit, you can visit the museum that deals with the Sar culture.
In the northeast of the country, in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti region, a gigantic sandstone complex extends in the middle of the Sahara. It is changed from all sides by the eroding sand and has, among other things, imposing tower structures. Just as interesting are the petroglyphs (= rock drawings) that were found here, as well as the impressive animal world, which includes crocodiles and oryx antelopes.
The 3,415 meter high mountain is the highest in Chad. It rises from the south-western part of the Tibesti Mountains and inspires, among other things, with its huge volcanic massif. Mountaineers will not find any alpinistic difficulty in the ascent of Emi Koussi, but will find a great challenge in the enormous water scarcity.
The largest lake in the country is Lake Chad, the area of which cannot be specified precisely because it varies with the seasons and, when viewed over longer periods of time, increasingly shrinks. Lake Chad is extremely shallow (only 3 m in the south, 7 m in the north), and its size has therefore always been subject to extreme fluctuations. Scientists assume that about 30,000 years ago Lake Chad still had an area of 370,000 km² and was therefore the largest lake on earth at the time. Since then, it has been steadily silting up. At the last high point, in 1963, the lake had an area of 12,700 km². In the meantime, among other things, irrigation projects on the rivers that supply water have led to a reduction in the area to 1,350 km².
Zakouma National Park
The approximately 3,000 km² large national park Zakouma is located in the southeast in the Salamat region and there west of Salamat’s capital Am Timan. Since 2006 it has been part of the Ramsar area Plaines d’inondation des Bahr Aouk et Salamat – one of the world’s largest protected areas of this type. The rainy season lasts from late April to late October. Above all, you will find a tree-lined savannah interspersed with smaller forest areas.
The shrubland makes up about 50% of the area. In the south of the park there are river meadows over an area of approx. 500 km² which are flooded during the rainy season. Vetiveria, millet and paspalum species are found here. The numerous watercourses are bordered by gallery forests. During the dry season, the animals find water points here. Various species of monkeys, African wild dogs, buffalo, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, greater kudu as well as leopards, lions and warthogs live in the park.