Sudan - Calendar


January

Sudan Independent Film Festival

The first SIFF took place in 2014 and it looks set to become an annual event. Held in honour of Gadalla Gubara, one of the founders of African cinema, the festival includes concerts and screenings.

February

Mawlid an-Nabi

This is the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed and therefore a day of great importance in Sudan. Festivities spill out from homes into the streets with dancing, singing and stalls selling food and sweet treats. There are public celebrations at Saggana Square in Khartoum and Al Khalifa Mosque in Omdurman.

March

Red Sea Diving

March is a great time to go diving in the Red Sea: the nights are warm enough but the air temperature during the day is not yet too hot.

April

Sham Al Nassim

Sudan's spring festival takes place the first Monday after Easter. Expect to see performances of music, dance and other festivities in larger towns and cities.

May

Explore Suakin

Travel to the coral city of Suakin on the Red Sea coast. There are some fascinating medieval and Ottoman-era buildings, and it's easy to take a boat trip out on the water.

June

Revolution Day

June 30 is Revolution Day, a national holiday commemorating the 1989 coup.

July

Eid al-Fitr

In 2014 Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, falls on 28 July. Large ceremonies take place in mosques across Sudan, and families then join together for feasting and the exchange of gifts.

August

Visit the National Museum

In summer Sudan is too hot, wherever you go, but one of the cooler options (it's all relative...) is the National Museum, where you can at least escape the glare of the sun in one of the shady galleries. There are some superb exhibits, many of which have descriptions in English.

September

Khartoum Horse Club

How about a day at the races? Bloodstock from Darfur is highly prized and in autumn race meets take place almost weekly. It's not possible to make bets, but there's a lively atmosphere, snacks and live music.

October

Sufi Holiya

Held in honour of Sudan's Sufi saints and sheikhs, this is a celebration of traditional music and dance. Social hierarchies are temporarily put aside as people join together to sing hymns and qasaids (songs) and participate in long parades through the streets.

November

Go to the Pyramids

Temperatures in Sudan soar in the summer but are decidedly more pleasant by November. This is therefore prime time to head out into the desert to see the pyramids and other major archaeological sites.

December

Christmas

Sudan's Christians celebrate Christmas on 25 December (Catholics) or 7 January (Coptics). Families prepare a Sudanese feast for lunch and, as in the West, exchange gifts with their loved ones.

Sudan articles

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The road to ruin

Abandoned cities, crumbling stelaes, slave trade relicts – Africa really does have some remarkable ruins. 

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The Nubians

Authors Sophie and Max Lovell-Hoare explore the history of the Nubian people.

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Jebel Marra

David Else describes the extinct volcano of Jebel Marra.

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