The Bedouin (; Arabic: بَدَوِي badawī) is a grouping of nomadic Arab peoples who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller" and is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin 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 ʿašāʾir; عَشَائِر) and share a common culture of herding camels and goats. Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and 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 the Quran. While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for a modern urban lifestyle, many retain traditional Bedouin culture such as retaining the traditional ʿašāʾir clan structure, traditional music, poetry, dances (such as "saas"), and many other cultural practices and concepts. Urbanised Bedouins often organize 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, playing traditional instruments, and even classes teaching traditional tent knitting. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are still popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas.
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