UAE Culture

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UAE Culture:

UAE Culture Nissi – Shabnam Bashiri Nezhad – F1415002230 Debohi Emile Ganhi – F1415001540 Indira Adambayeva – F121200349 Sara - GED 199-Lec E-2 UAE Society (Fall 2014-15)


Introduction Although the UAE gained its independence only a mere 43 years ago, it’s history stretches back over 100,000 years. This gives it a rich background that includes norms such as: Religion Tradition Attire Cuisine Role of women

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Explain the reason behind picking this topic. As students, it is our responsibility to expose and educate ourselves to as many different cultures as we possibly can. This will not only make us more open-minded but also more considerate to other people’s way of life. In order to ensure a peaceful future ahead, it is essential for people to become more tolerant and understanding of each other. Don’t judge people, understand them.


Religion In accordance with established customs, it is no secret that United Arab Emirates is a country that provides freedom of religion. However, it has been declared by the federal Constitution that Islam is the official religion of the country. According to the somewhat-recent Ministry of Economy census (2005), ‘76 percent of the total population of the UAE is Muslim, 9 percent is Christian, and 15 percent is “other”’.

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Ethics in Islam The ethics and morals of the Muslims is heavily influenced by their belief system, Islam, which states that, in the order below, one must: Protect the human life Protect the human mind Protect the human religion Protect human property Protect human dignity

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Economy Characteristics of Islamic economy: Trustworthiness Leniency Mutual consent Prohibition of exploitation and monopoly Prohibition of deceit The Islamic economy is an example of a balanced economy. Islam believes that wealth should be distributed to those in need in order to achieve a united society. In accordance with the Islamic law, interest is not allowed, and profit and loss are shared.

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Political system in Islam Foundation of Islamic political system Sovereignty – Allah is the source of all power Consultation or Shura Difference between democracy and Shura: Democracy – 1)Power is with people. 2)Voting is done by laymen. 3)Can be corrupted. Shura – 1)Power is with Allah. 2)Power sought after for benefit of people and to implement Allah’s laws. 3)Voting is done by Muslim scholars. 4)Aim: to establish justice and equality. The three main authorities are: Legislative Executive Judicial (works independently)


Tradition Plants for medicinal purposes: Seeds of Senna italica plant, is used as a laxative and the Bedouins claim it will heal any kind of stomach pain. Seeds of the desert squash, Citrullus colocynthis , is particularly approved as a cure for diabetes. The bitter sap of the milkweed Calotropis procera (a flowering plant), is even dried and used to fill aching hollow teeth, while the woody part of this plant is burned to make charcoal, which was an ingredient for gunpowder in the olden days. Poultices made of the leaves were applied to joints to heal rheumatism. Leaves and crushed dried berries are mixed together with medicinal herbs to make the henna paste (used to dye hair or beautify hands and feet on special days like weddings or Eid celebrations).   This traditional knowledge has been passed down through many generations, and has become the basis for scientific investigation of local plant life and their biochemical properties. This research is carried out at the UAE University in Al- Ain .

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Senna italica Citrullus colocynthis Calotropis procera

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Music and Dancing: The UAE inhabitants bear a strong tradition of music and dancing, both of which played an essential role in many aspects of their lives. Various songs were composed to accompany tasks such as pearl diving or even something as simple as hauling water at a well. As the professional song-leader (the naha’an) would launch into a song for a particular task, the rest of the team would join in, and hence music became an inspiration for good team-work. Although these rituals are not carried out in the modern day, it is far from forgotten. The traditional songs and dances were taught and handed down from generation to generation. During celebrations, young girls would dance by swinging their long black hair sideways to the strong beat of the music, and the men would re-enact battles fought or successful hunting expeditions as dance routines, often symbolically using sticks, swords, or rifles.

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Falconry: Falconry began in the olden days primarily as means to source for food , mainly to hunt hares and houbara, and was soon considered an integral part of the desert life . Additionally, saluki hunting dogs went hand in hand with falcons, but they were mainly focused on hunting down gazelles. Despite what others may think, falconry is no easy task . Patience and courage are skills necessary to capture, tame, and train a falcon. The training alone is achieved only by developing a strong bond of trust between the wild captured bird and its handler. Currently, this sport is an endangered sector of UAE’s rich cultural legacy due to the exponential growth in urbanization affecting the natural habitat of the falcons. Furthermore, new falconers fail to comply by the laws regarding the practice of this sport and often indulge in over-hunting, and this poses a threat in the survival of the falcon breed. However, in order to preserve this traditional sport, trackers are placed under each falcon skin with a unique identification number to assist in tracking down the patterns of falcon’s migration and to open up ideas on how to preserve this special species of birds.


Attire The UAE National Dress The Emirati attire is typical of Arabic countries and is inherited from the Bedouin culture which prevailed in the Arabic peninsula. Today men and women carry forward these ancestral traditions not least by means of their way of dressing. Both men and women wear veils and long sleeved robes. This is immediately understandable to anyone who has spent time in the Arabic peninsula especially in the summer. The more protection you have from the sun, the better. The traditional attire is therefore best adapted for the local conditions.

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UAE National Dress – Female Abaya is traditionally completely black but today you might see some with colorful embroideries around the collar on the sleeves. Shela is the piece of material used to loosely cover their head. Hijab is a covering of the head to ensure that the hair is not exposed usually with one or two pieces of material. Burqa actually represents two items: one, the covering of the head except for a slit for eyes the other item is a metallic colored object used to cover part of the face and these days is only used by the older generation. This is specific to the UAE. Gishwa is the thin black veil that covers the face of the female. Jelabia Mukhawara is the traditional outfit worn by the females similar to a flowing gown in some great colors worn to weddings or special occasions. Gafaaz – At times you may see ladies wearing gloves to ensure that their hands are covered.

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UAE National Dress – Male Kandura , or dishdash as it is referred to by the expats, is a long white cloak that male UAE nationals wear. Guthra is the headscarf sported by the males/ Egal is a black rope that keeps the headscarf in place. Ghafiyah is usually under the guthra (usually unseen). Kerkusha looks similar to the kandura , with a small string like contraption flowing from the neck. Bisht is worn by those in power. It is similar to a jacket that is worn on top of the kandura , usually worn on special occasions. Faneela is like a vest worn under the kandura . Woozar is a piece of white cloth which is tied around the waist, under the kandura . Na’aal is the sandal worn.


Cuisine Arabian food differentiates in variety due to regional contrasts in farming, fishing and trading. Most dishes contain things like rice, fish and meat. It’s easy to get fish, because it has a good geological position close to the gulf, so it is easier to catch it. The most common types of meat are goat and ship, the ones that used to be in food even in times of Bedouins.

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On special occasions such as weddings or eid they use a camel’s meat, same as camel’s milk, which is very healthy. One of the well-known dishes in the gulf are: -“ Machboos ”, which is made of cooked meat, rice, spices, dried lemon and seasonings.

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-”Al harees ”, is quite an old dish which is mixed of a small pieces of meat, wheat and water. All these ingredients are mixed together and thoroughly beaten until a dish transforms into a smooth mixture.

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-”Al Baleet ” looks like a pasta made from eggs, onions, cinnamon, sugar and oil. It is usually eaten for breakfast. -”Al Mahshi ”, contains roasted lamb cooked with rice, raisins, onions, eggs and a host of different spices and seasoning. This dish is fried for 7 to 8 hours and served for feasts and weddings. Dates, Shawrma , hummus, falafel. Regional Drinks: Ayran (a refreshing youghurt drink). Strong black coffee.




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