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Culture and Society of Dubai and the UAE

Ancient and traditional culture in the UAE

In the period preceding 1960, some of the popular foodstuffs in the UAE were vegetables, yogurt, baked bread, different kinds of meat from goats and camels, rice and dates were also eaten. In the UAE lunch which is mostly served in the afternoon is taken as the most important meal and usually has the main foods. Due to their hospitable nature, they usually give visitors food and some coffee. (Culture of the United Arab Emirates).

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In this society, there are two big groups i.e. the indigenous people and the foreigners. The indigenous people are further divided into other groups i.e. the ruling class of the sheiks. They are usually rich and powerful, influential, and control the politics of the day. The second groups are the traders or merchants famously called the al jar. They are deeply involved in both local and international business. The third class is the professional group, mostly the youth who are newly educated by the government.  The last class is that of the relatively poor people due to their meager earnings the low-level income earner groups. These are the Bedouins who basically are nomads. (Cathy Smith, 2007)

Influence of traditional culture on contemporary culture in the UAE

The citizens of the UAE initially had almost the same political ideologies that were used for governing them in the older days. It is due to the similarities in their political organization that the emirates were able to form one state the UAE. Even though the federal system of government has been implemented the hereditary rule has been maintained and is operational but at the local authorities. In the political system, it is the members of the ruling families who take up the administrative executive positions. The political system has progressed with socio-economic changes but there are some traditional influences that are still upheld.

The sheiks are seen as the ones leading the rest in modernizing and are the guardians of the culture, duties for which they are respected. A number of positive changes have occurred in the economic and social dimensions for women, for example, the number of girls enrolling in schools has surpassed that of boys and in the educational institutions at the higher levels there is the separation of the boys from the girls. (UAE Canadian Embassy)

Contemporary culture in the UAE

Traditionally there were pre-arranged marriages. Fortunately with changing times people though not all can now make their own arrangements. (Splendid Asia, 2006). The most commonly used form of greeting is “(al-salaam alaykom)”. It is forbidden for men and women to shake hands in public, but women greeting each other usually kiss on both cheeks. Islam is both the dominant religion and a way of life as it gives the guidelines on almost everything including marital and divorce issues, matters of inheritance, political issues the general conduct of people in their private lives. (UAE Culture).

During the earlier years preceding the 60s, the people were mainly dependent on traditional herbal medicine for ailments since the hospitals were scarce and inaccessible by most people. Due to development, the government has ensured the availability of free modern medical care for the Emiratis. The emirates still hold strongly to their oral tradition and even the state functions usually have the recitation of poetry.

Ancient and traditional culture in Dubai

The culture in Dubai is heavily influenced by Islam and it’s a requirement for the people to pray five times daily in the mosques which are found in almost all localities. Modern architecture has been incorporated into the way of life and the Jumeirah mosque is an illustration of such modern architecture. The climate of the area is a very hot one and their dressing has been designed to match it. (AsiaRooms. com)

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Influence of traditional culture on contemporary culture in Dubai

Jewelry is very popular among the womenfolk and it is not different in Dubai. Some of the jewelry they have are necklaces, forehead decorations, anklets, and rings. Beautification with henna on hands and feet soles is also popular among women, especially for social celebrations. (UAE Interact)

Contemporary culture and government in Dubai

Traditionally the Arabs in Dubai keep horses and camels and there usually are horse and camel racing which attracts many visitors, especially during the periods when the climate is a bit cooler. (Yagoub, M. M. 2003).

The implementation of the federal system of government in the UAE gave Dubai a new identity and thus it was able to modernize its administrative systems but at the same time upholding the beneficial aspects of its traditional governing system. The new federal system of government was established in 1971 which consists of a parliament with MPs, cabinet, federal national council, and other representative bodies and also an autonomous judicial system.

Works cited

AsiaRooms. 2008. History of the UAE. Web.

Cathy Smith. Suite101. 2007. Dubai – Traditional Arab Culture. Web.

Culture of the United Arab Emirates. 2008. Web.

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (2008). Dubai Culture & Heritage. Web.

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Splendid Asia. Culture and People. 2006. Web.

UAE Canadian Embassy. About The U. A. E. ‘s. Culture and Tourism. Web.

UAE Culture. Culture and Heritage. 2001. Web.

UAE Interact. UAE women try to keep their ancient traditions alive 2006. Web.

Yagoub, M. M. (2003). Geographic Information System (GIS) Application for camels: Case of Al Ain, UAE. Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences United Arab Emirates University. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Culture and Society of Dubai and the UAE." October 20, 2021.


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