The Bedouin, Beduin, or Bedu (/ˈbɛduɪn/;[40] Arabic: بَدْو, romanized: badū, singular بَدَوِي badawī) are nomadic Arab tribes[41] who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, the Levant, and Mesopotamia.[42] The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", and is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people.[43] Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East.[44] They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans (known in Arabic as ʿašāʾir; عَشَائِر or qabāʾil قبائل), and historically share a common culture of herding camels and goats.[44] The vast majority of Bedouins adhere to Islam, although there are some fewer numbers of Christian Bedouins present in the Fertile Crescent.[45][46][47][48]

Bedouin wedding procession in the Jerusalem section of the Pike at the 1904 World's Fair.
Total population
 Saudi Arabia2,000,000[2]
 United Arab Emirates800,000[24]
Arabic (Bedouin dialects)
Predominantly Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Other Arabs

Source for regions with significant population:[39]
Bedouins in Sinai, 1967

Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Arabaa by the Assyrians (ar-ba-a-a being a nisba of the noun Arab, a name still used for Bedouins today). They are referred to as the ʾAʿrāb (أعراب) in Arabic. While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for a modern urban lifestyle, many retain traditional Bedouin culture such as the traditional ʿašāʾir clan structure, traditional music, poetry, dances (such as saas), and many other cultural practices and concepts.[citation needed] Urbanized Bedouins often organise cultural festivals, usually held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in and learn about various Bedouin traditions—from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances to playing traditional instruments and even classes teaching traditional tent knitting.[citation needed] Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are still popular leisure activities for urban Bedouins who live in close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas.[citation needed]

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