*This article may have affiliate links, which means we may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links we provide (at no extra cost to you). For more details, please read our privacy policy/affiliate disclosure. Thank you for supporting the work we put into this blog!

The Bedouin (, also Bedouins; from the Ara­bic badw or badawiyyīn/badawiyyūn/“Al Buainain , plu­rals of badawī ) are an Arab eth­no­cul­tur­al group, descend­ed from nomads who have his­tor­i­cal­ly inhab­it­ed the Ara­bi­an and Syr­i­an Deserts. The Bedouins are a semi­no­madic group of peo­ple. Their name means desert dwellers in Ara­bic. Their ter­ri­to­ry stretch­es from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Mid­dle East. They are tra­di­tion­al­ly divid­ed into tribes, or clans (known in Ara­bic as ʿashāʾir; ) and share a com­mon cul­ture of herd­ing camels and goats. The Bedouin form a part of, but are not syn­ony­mous with, the mod­ern con­cept of the Arabs. Bedouins have been referred to by var­i­ous names through­out his­to­ry, includ­ing Qedarites in the Old Tes­ta­ment and “Araba’a” by the Assyr­i­ans (ar-ba-a‑a being a nis­ba of the noun Arab, a name still used for Bedouins today). While many Bedouins have aban­doned their nomadic and trib­al tra­di­tions for mod­ern urban lifestyle, they retain tra­di­tion­al Bedouin cul­ture with con­cepts of belong­ing to ʿašāʾir, tra­di­tion­al music, poet­ry, dances (like Saas), and many oth­er cul­tur­al prac­tices. Urbanised Bedouins also 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 class­es teach­ing tra­di­tion­al tent knit­ting and play­ing tra­di­tion­al Bedouin musi­cal instru­ments. Tra­di­tions like camel rid­ing and camp­ing in the deserts are also pop­u­lar leisure activ­i­ties for urbanised Bedouins who live with­in close prox­im­i­ty to deserts or oth­er wilder­ness areas.