Khat (Qhat)

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Chewing Khat (Qhat)

***** Location: Yemen
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Khat (Catha edulis, family Celastraceae, and also known as qat, gat, chat, and miraa), is a flowering plant native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Believed to have originated in Ethiopia, it is a slow-growing shrub or small tree that grows to between 1.5 metres and 20 metres tall, depending on region and rainfall, with evergreen leaves 5–10 cm long and 1–4 cm broad. The flowers are produced on short axillary cymes 4–8 cm long, each flower small, with five white petals. The fruit is an oblong three-valved capsule containing 1–3 seeds.

Khat contains the alkaloid cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant which causes excitement and euphoria. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified khat as a drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological dependence, and the plant has been targeted by anti-drug organizations like the DEA.It is a controlled/illegal substance in many countries.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


When Yemenis get over the first surprise of meeting a foreigner who speaks Arabic, they will try to strike up a conversation, and it is very likely that you will be invited to their house as a show of Arabic hospitality.

Invitations of this kind will often include qhat. Qhat is a mildly intoxicating plant whose leaves are chewed by the vast majority of Yemeni men and some women. After lunch, you will see men walking in the streets with big, swollen cheeks filled with qhat.

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Qhat causes many problems for the Yemeni society however, an invitation to a qhat chew should not be avoided. Chews are important social gatherings where people come together and talk. There is a relaxed feeling to a qhat chew and all sorts of topics can be discussed,; ranging from friends getting together after job or classes to politicians discussing political decisions while chewing. Men and women do, off course, chew separately, but western women are able to enter male chews.

The major holidays in Yemen are the religious holidays of Islam, including the holy month of Ramadan followed by Eid al-Saghir (the small holiday) and Eid al-Kabir (the big holiday).
During the Ramadan, night and day are turned upside down. Everybody is fasting during the day, making them want to stay up late at night, socializeing with families and friends or go shopping. After the Ramadan there is a one-week holiday for the Eid al-Saghir.

Eid al-Kabir is the time for the big pilgrimage to Mekka called al-Hajj. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims are required to perform this travel at least once in their lives.
For people staying at home Eid al-Kabir is celebrated by slaughtering a goat.

There are also a number of national holidays related to the history of modern Yemen. These are generally seen as an extra opportunity for chewing qhat.
© www.meli-yemen.com

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


chewing khat
their plans get bigger..
leafing green

Heike Gewi, Yemen, January 2008

Related words


***** Eid Al-Kabir, Aid Al Kabir


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tam said...

great info you are giving on khat
i have also a blog talking only on khat
you are welcome to visit and post your comment as well
thanks very much :)

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