Djibouti was populated for centuries by two groups of nomadic herders, the Afar and the Issa (a branch of the Somali people).
When the French opened the nearby Suez Canal in 1869 the world suddenly became very much interested in this tiny section of Africa.
One traditional practice that is part of this belief system is anointing one's body with butter or ghee , a clarified butter used for cooking and other purposes.
Most people, however, speak Afar and Somali in everyday use. The Somali tongue of Djibouti belongs to the "common dialect" group found in much of Somalia, and is used in radio and television broadcasts.Besides the Afars (35 percent of the population) and Somalis (about 65 percent), there are also Arab, French, Ethiopian, and Italian minorities.Large numbers of refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia have crossed the border into Djibouti.Djiboutians show great respect for their elders and for the dignity of others.With their nomadic (traveling) tradition, Djiboutians have not had the chance to make strong relationships with neighbors, so family relationships are very important.