Skills associated with traditional handicraft



The Saqa

Heritage social practices, customs, traditions, and rituals.
The Saqa is a bag made of goat or cow skin, that comes in different sizes. There are large, medium and small ones. It is used to agitate milk. Al-Hadh Al-Kuwaiti, a researcher at the Department of Culture and Tourism, talks about how the saqa is made and the three stages it goes through.  

Al-Hadh Al-Kuwaiti says that the saqa is made from the skins of animals, the large ones from male calves, and ordinary ones from the skin of goats. Initially, after skinning, the hide is taken and rubbed salt, and left for a few days. After that, Gum Arabic is put on it and tanned, as it gum removes the hair. A substance from the ghulqa plant is then put on it to clean away the hair. It is then perforated for sewing and turned. The mouth of the saqa is known as the "waja." After this, it is ready for use and is attached to a tripod known as the "tarjabah", meaning the column to which the saqa is attached, also known as the "shayb."

The cow is milked five times a day. After that, the milk is left to gather in a soft container to curdle. If it does not curdle, it is called "harous" yoghurt which they add to curds and pour into the saqa which is gently agitated. The sound inside the container changes until it sounds like stones being thrown far away. When the agitation is finishes, the fat appears, which is a type of butter, and the yoghurt is collected for its solubility and to make the fat, which is known as ghee. 

The woman squats next to it and holds the rope to agitate the milk inside the saqa, which vary in size, there being large, medium, and small varieties. 

There are two types of saqa: The first is a leather bowl made of tanned sheep or goat skins, that is dyed and perforated at its base. Its arms and legs are sewn up and tied them with leather strips, while an opening remains at the neck, like a mouth to fill and empty, through which the milk is agitated and turned into yoghurt.  Butter can also be extracted. It is similar to a hot water bottle, but smaller.
The other variety of saqa is made of light white metal and has a cylindrical shape with a spout in the middle with a tight lid and "arawi" handles that help facilitate the agitation process by being tied to two ropes attached to the handle. It consists of a wooden tripod that is easy to erect and hold in place while agitating, collecting, and transferring the product when finished. 

The saqa was used in the dairy industry in homes and prairies. It was not limited to the people of the desert or livestock farmers only.
Nowadays, people in cities and some of the Badia depend on dairy factories for various produce, but there are still those who still use the saqa to make dairy products using traditional methods. This profession has remained popular with those who love cream, butter, and ghee.


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