Concept

Zār

Summary
In the cultures of the Horn of Africa and adjacent regions of the Middle East, Zār (زار, ዛር) is the term for a demon or spirit assumed to possess individuals, mostly women, and to cause discomfort or illness. The so-called zār ritual or zār cult is the practice of exorcising such spirits from the possessed individual. Zār is also a form of women-only entertainment that has become popular in the contemporary urban culture of Cairo and other major cities of the Islamic world. Zār gatherings involve food and musical performances and they culminate in ecstatic dancing, lasting between three and seven nights. The tanbūra, a six-string bowl lyre, is often used in the gathering. Other instruments include the manjur, a leather belt sewn with many goat hooves, and various percussion instruments. History Scholarship in the early 20th century attributed Abyssinian (Ethiopian and Eritrean) origin to the custom, although there were also proposals
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