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United Arab Emirates Culture

Culture of United Arab Emirates


Emirati (in Arabic, Al-Thaqafa Al-Emaratiya )

The official language is Arabic.English, Hindi, Urdu, Farsi and Filipino are spoken. English is the language of commerce.

Classes and Castes.
Emirati society is divided into two social categories: 

The nationals ( Al-Muwateneen ) and the foreign immigrants, referred to as the incomers ( Al-Wafedeen ). Citizens are subdivided into four main social classes: (1) the ruling sheikhly families, whose members hold the highest political positions and power and have immense wealth and prestige, (2) the merchant class, known as al-tujjar, traditionally pearling merchants who now sell international consumer goods, (3) the new middle class, represented by increasing numbers of professionals who have benefitted from free state education and (4) the low-income groups, represented by newly settled Bedouin nomads and former pearl divers and oasis farmers.

Symbols of Social Stratification:
The symbol of a male national as a distinct social category is seen most visibly in the traditional dress of a white robe ( kandoura ) and white head cloth ( ghutrah ) with a black rope ( aqal ). Men grow short beards and mustaches.

Social customs
Social Customs are shared throughout the Gulf Arab countries. An Islamic greeting ( al-salam alaykom )is  the most appropriate and men follow this with a quick nose-to-nose touch while shaking hands. Women greet each other by kissing several times on both cheeks. Men normally do not shake hands with women in public. It is customary to ask about the health of a person and his or her family several times before beginning light conversation. Refreshments usually are served before serious matters are discussed.

It is customary not to use first names but to say "father or mother of (oldest son)." Respect and courtesy are shown to elders, and in their presence young men are expected to listen more and speak less. Sex segregation is still evident in social life. Men are entertained in majlis (large living rooms, often with a separate entrance), while women entertain friends in the home. It is customary to take off one's shoes before entering a private house.

Religious Beliefs
Large numbers of Asian and Arab immigrants also follow Islam. Islam dominates all aspects of life. Most Emiratis are members of the Sunni sect. Matters relating to marriage, divorce, inheritance, economics, politics and personal conduct are affected by Sharia (Islamic) law.

Rituals and Holy Places
The main Muslim religious ritual is prayer five times a day. This requires for purification. Usually people go to the nearest mosque or pray at home. The rituals involved in the pilgrimage ( Haj ) to Mecca are the most elaborate. One must remove the shoes before entering a mosque. In large mosques, there are separate areas for women.

Dance and Music
Dance plays an important role in the daily life of the people of UAE. Some of the very popular dance forms of United Arab Emirates are Ayyalah, Harbiya, Mated, Liwa and Haban. Ayyalah signifies a war with the enemy and its defeat. This is one of the most popular traditional folk dance forms in UAE. The dance is performed in large groups of 200 men by two long lines of men confronting each other. There are no music in this dance rather melodic phrases are used as accompaniments. Liwa is performed during festivals. Loud music and rapid tempo are what characterizes this dance form. Mated is performed to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.

UAE is a dream country to live in, where you can fulfill all your aspirations. One has to give due respect the culture and religion of the UAE to have a smooth ride living in the country. Whether a kid, teenager, youth, middle-aged or old, the UAE offers a perfect lifestyle for all.

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