Celebrate Somali Week: A how-to guide for learning about Somali culture, arts, and history


Somali history and culture is diverse and complex. These movies, books, music, podcasts, and more explore its nuances and depth.


As we come up on July 1, Somali Independence Day, Somalis around the world will celebrate their flag and nation. But it’s the culture, people, and land that keep us all tied together. I was born in the U.S. in the early 1990s, a time when humanitarian and political crises gripped Somalia back home. For those of us in the diaspora, this embedded a consciousness of our Somali identity from a young age.
My childhood experiences with Soomaalinimo involved community connections, activism, and pride in being Somali. In English, Soomaalinimo roughly translates as an innate pride in community and self a sense of being God’s chosen child. As a practical manner, we embraced our culture through activities like attending riwaayads (plays) in places like Boston, Toronto, and Hartford; attending community picnics; and of course, listening to Somali music.
Somalis in Minnesota can do all these things and more! during Somali Week taking place from July 2nd to July 17th. The organizers have a diverse range of activities bringing together art, history and culture. This festival has run in Minneapolis for eight years and has brought together over 40,000 people to enjoy Soomaalinimo at its finest. This festival originally started as a community festival on Lake Street, and will start off this year’s celebration with one on Saturday, July 2nd.
Those in the city have the pleasure of seeing the legendary Suldaan Seeraar performing at the Target Center!! This year’s festival will include events such as “Xasuuso (Remember): 1960”, (the year Somalia gained independence) taking place on July 6th and “Celebrating Somali Women” on July 7th. Take a look at the full agenda so you don’t miss any part of this year’s Somali Week celebrations in MInneapolis!
As a child of the diaspora who has spent a long time understanding and promoting our narratives, culture, and history, I also wanted to put together a list for how Somalis–in Minnesota and across the globe–can learn more about our culture, traditions, and current socio-cultural trends. I’m so excited to share some resources such as books, movies, and music that have strongly informed my understanding of Somali identity and culture!
If you don’t have the chance to join some community celebration, read below on ways you can celebrate Soomaalinimo at home, all year round.


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