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Society

The great Moroccan geographer Ibn Battuta wrote this about Mali's people and society after visiting the country in 1352:

- This society does not permit dishonest or unfair behavior, and severely reprimands anyone who acts dishonestly.

- Safe travel is possible with the highest guarantee of security.


- Rather than guests being removed of their possessions, an environment of secure safekeeping is assured.

- A strongly religious society.

- The people of this society are always stylishly dressed.

These virtues noted by Battuta remain unchanged even today. Malian society places importance interpersonal relations, and is as a whole intent on upholding morality. In particular, local societies are not exclusionary, and are by nature open to anyone. While Malians are strongly religious, the fact that other faiths and ideas are also flexibly accepted makes it possible for Islam, natural religions and Christianity, for example, to coexist peacefully.

Although Mali's 23 ethnic groups, each having their own culture,language and social etiquette, appear unconnected, the individual groups actually have an amicable relationship in which they thoroughly permeate one another, both culturally and socially. The family, forming the nucleus of Mali's social structure, possesses a strong sense of solidarity. In Malian society it is commonly accepted that one must respect those of your parent's age as you would your parents, and provide support if possible. This sense of responsibility for others is felt deeply and extensively throughout Malian society.
Tea Cermony
A great deal of ceremony surrounds the making and serving of tea in Mali, especially in the north. Every day, tea-drinking groups called grins meet to take part in the ceremony of the three teas. As the saying goes: "The first cup is strong like life; the second is sweet like love; and the third is bitter like death." The ceremony is very formal, and serving tea is an important way of welcoming someone: if strangers visit, they will always be offered tea and dates.
 

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