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The dabqaad, a popular censer in Somalia and Djibouti.

The dabqaad (Somali for "fire raiser"), also known as unsi or girgire, is an incense burner, or censer. With either one or two handles, it is commonly used in Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Usage and production[edit]

A modern metallic design dabqaad.

Dabqaads are traditionally used to perfume homes after large meals and/or during special occasions, such as when one is expecting guests.

Frankincense (lubaan) or a prepared incense (uunsi), is placed on top of hot charcoal inside an incense burner, the dabqaad. It then burns for about ten minutes. This keeps the house fragrant for hours.

The dabqaad pot is made from a white clay or soapstone found in specific areas of both southern and northern Somalia. Meerschaum (sepiolite) is used to make the dabqaad, with the district of El Buur serving as a center for quarrying. El Buur is also the place of origin of the local pipe-making industry. The Ancient Egyptians particularly Hatshepsut was very fond of the incense when she went on her expedition to the ancient the land of punt. [1]

Somalis living in the West obtain their dabqaads from visits to the Horn of Africa or they have relatives residing in the region send them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abdullahi, pp.98-99