Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Cackle



There are some special occasions in Saudi Arabia where one may be fortunate to hear “the Saudi cackle.”  I’m not sure what to call it exactly so I’ll try to describe it.  The Saudi cackle is the unique sound the Saudi women can make using their tongues.  This is a sound that is usually made in celebrations such as on Ed al Fitr, weddings, births or at airports when greeting a loved one who has been gone a long time.


The first time I heard the Saudi cackle was when Abdullah and I arrived at the Jeddah airport.  We had cleared customs and he had spotted his brother and sister.  As soon as his sister saw us she greeted us in the traditional manner showing her happiness.  However there’s nothing like a cacophony of cackles such as at a wedding when all the women in attendance cackle at the appearance of the bride.


Although not from Saudi Arabia, this video does give an example of the sound which the women make.



9 Responses

  1. I always thought it was called “ululating,” rather than a cackle. And having spent time in the ME as a child, I’m very aware of what you’re talking about. I always thought it was kind of cool actually. It was the sound of celebration and joy. What’s not to like? 🙂

    Also, I think what I responded to, even as a child was the fact that it was a distinctly female thing in a very (publicly) male dominated society.

    Thanks for this post. Brought back nice memories. 🙂

  2. I think I’d be too shy to do that unless I were in a stadium full of people doing the same thing- like at a ball game.

  3. I’ve seen this from other Arab countries. Not the most pleasant sound

  4. It reminds me some of a similar sound I’ve heard in Mexican gatherings and music.

  5. It is a sound heard in many parts of the world and especially in Africa and the Middle East. I love it!!!

  6. Hmmm…not my favorite sound…but it sure beats the high pitched and incredibly ear splitting two fingered whistle my friend does to show her approval of something!!!

  7. Zaghareet! It sounds so tribal, it’s funny to see modern women in modern countries doing such an ululation.. though I’ve always thought of the word ‘cackle’ as a sly, dry laugh.

  8. Actually Saudi Cackle is an ART and it is difficult, not easy. I have seen the saudi Ladies making a sound with therir toings.

    It is something interesting.

  9. I had it presented to me by my aunts and cousins-in law upon my engagement to my husband Shadi. Quite a tough thing to mimic.

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