Algeria’s population are 99% Sunni Muslims of Berber heritage. The other 1% is made up of Christians and Jews, but they are few and scattered throughout the nation.
The Major existing tribal ancestries is from the Berbers, who, although Muslims, do not consider themselves Arabs. The word Berber was the title assigned to the people by the Romans over 16 centuries ago, meaning “barbarians”.
The Berber people are the main ethnic group in Algeria today, either by direct lineage or partial
heredity. Most people in Algeria are of Berber descent, or at least can trace their heritage back to Berber ancestry, whether they know it or not.
The Berber people, who are indigenous to Northern Africa, were quick to convert to Islam.
In Algeria, most of the Berber-Muslims are Sunnis. The wide-spread Berber heritage along the Northern Sahara region varies from area to area, because a Berber is a Berber by a linguistic heritage.
There are between 14 and 25 million people who speak a Berber language. However, this figure states “Berber language” in a very broad sense. Just like in many African Countries , there are dialects and languages exclusive to every community, but the prominent Berber language in Algeria is Tamazight, of which many local dialects exist.
The Official language of Algeria is Arabic, but the second most spoken language is French, followed by many Berber dialects used by the locals.
The Berber people, when not protesting exclusionary government and Algeria’s political dynamic, are very hospitable. One of the major cultural values of the Berbers is to be very welcoming to guests and travelers, even those who don’t speak a word of the local language.
Greetings are lengthy and including inquiries into health and family.
Social interactions are much more common among members of the same gender than between men and women. Public displays of affection such as touching, holding hands between men and women are rare, but common among same sex; which is common among Muslem Communities.
Algerians are known for their hospitality and generosity. Visiting is a mainstay of social life, mostly within the circle of extended family. The host serves tea or coffee and sweets.
Graphic Arts. Traditional crafts include knotted and woven carpets made from wool or goat hair; basket weaving; pottery, silver jewelry; intricate embroidery; and brassware. Algerian films have recently won accolades, both within the country and abroad. Many of them are dramas and documentaries that deal with issues of colonialism, revolution, and social issues.
Performance Arts. Algerian music and dance follow in the Arabic tradition. These forms of expression were suppressed during the French regime, but are today experiencing a revival. Arabic music is tied to the storytelling tradition and often recounts tales of love, honor, and family. Technically, it is repetitive and subtle. It uses quarter notes and makes small jumps on the scale. Traditional instruments are the oud, a stringed instrument similar to the lute; small drums held in the lap; and the rhita, or reed flute.