The favourite leisure activity of adult Somalis is conversation with their friends and relatives. Somalis are famous for their eloquence, wit and stories, and often judge a person based on their abilities as a speaker. Electronic communication and books are luxuries in Somalia; people communicate and entertain themselves through games, sports, songs and by telling stories and poems.

Women entertain each other at home. Often they light incense burners made of gypsum during these visits and pass their hair over small vents in the burners to scent it with fragrant smoke. In the north, coffee shops (which actually sell only tea) are favourite gathering places for men. Men also play games of skill such as shah, which is similar to chess; in rural areas and the north, they compete against each other in running, wrestling and jumping.

Somali families cherish sitting outside on the sand in the moonlight, telling the ancient tales Somalis have told for generations. Nowadays, the chewing of qaad, a mild stimulant, often accompanies recitations or songs.

Children usually spend their time playing outside. Children's games include versions of skipping, hopscotch, jacks and a type of hide-and-seek that can cover a lot of territory. Boys love football (soccer), volleyball, table tennis, basketball and games with home-made cars. Girls have more duties around the home and less opportunity to play outside, but they enjoy basketball, home-made dolls or dancing with each other to the latest music.

Nationally, Somalis adore football and basketball; the Somali menís team placed third in the 1982 African Menís Basketball Championship. Families often cannot afford to buy balls, so children play the game with a ball made of paper and string or whatever other materials are available.

Somecities offer modern entertainment like cinemas and nightclubs, though these types of entertainment has been disrupted by the war. The Somali countryside is still a place of traditional music and dance. During the lovely gu season villages frequently hold dances, which offer opportunities for young people to meet marriage partners.

  Did you know?
Somalis view language as a means of saving face and presenting a powerful character to the world. People often use humour to combat an opponentís criticism or smoothly escape from an embarrassing situation.