Here Are 8 Things About the Arab Culture That Make Us Proud
By: Meral Abu-Jaser/Arab America Contributing Writer
The Arab culture is fascinating with a history that dates back centuries. There are many things about the Arab culture that should make us proud. So for those of you who have not been exposed to the different parts of our culture, allow me to showcase eight things that you should recognize as positive attributes from the Arab World.
1. The Pure Arabian Horse
The Arabian horse, which is known as the champion of all steeds, is a major part of Arab culture. This honor dates to the battles fought by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The battles are dated back to the late 600 CE. When the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was in battle he would use his horse to raise himself up. Having unbelievable strength, the Arabian horse is athletic and can withstand intense heat. Aside from its physical abilities, let’s talk about its appearance. The Arabian horse is extremely beautiful. They are tall and have shiny bodies with thick, soft, silky hair. Moreover, Arabian horses can express their affection towards their owner or rider because they can recognize them. That said, Arabs use many proverbs that reference the Arabian horse. For example, “Your tongue is your horse: If you take care of it, it takes care of you. If you betray it, betray its will.” Another reference people use is, “She is as original as the Arabian horse.” This means that she is strong, beautiful, and loyal.
2. Amazing Architecture
Since the Golden Ages, the buildings of many worship places, kingdoms, and shelters were built by Arabs. For instance, the Kingdom of the Chaldeans located in Babylon is known for its beautiful architecture, and people from all around the world go to visit. The Kingdom is given the name of “Door of the Gods,” because of its beautifully-made design. Another amazing fact that enhances the Arab culture is when Spain was ruled by the Moors. During the time of Arab rule in Spain, the country became a place full of architectural design that reflected Arab Culture. To this very day, Granada, Malaga, Cordoba, Toledo, and Seville are cities that are recognized for their majestic structure contributed by Arabs.
3. Arabic Generosity and Hospitality
Everyone I have ever met has always had a story about meeting an Arab who was extremely generous or hospitable. While we’ve all heard of the saying, “The customer is always right,” you may have also been taught, “The guest is always first.” In any Arab home you will always receive a warm welcome when you come to visit, and it’s definitely one thing you should be proud to have as a trait of being an Arab.
4. Geometric Art and Nature
If you have ever been inside of a mosque you may have noticed the detailed art with geometric structure combined with nature. Of course, there is a meaning behind this fascinating type of art. In particular, geometric art aims to represent the perfection of God. Whereas the combination of nature is designated to remind people of paradise and the wonderful creation of Allah (God).
5. Unique Fashion
Fashion in our culture has always been one of intrigue and beauty throughout the ages. The Abaya dates back in history, where it was worn by women in the early ages of Islam. Yet, to this very day, women from different Arab countries wear the Abaya. It is part of our culture that has set the standards of modest fashion as we know it today, as we see new fashion lines embracing the look of loose and flowy dresses in mainstream markets.
6. Arabic Calligraphy Art
Arabs have a lot of artistic culture to be proud of, as well as to showcase. One of the talents that is frequently showcased is calligraphy art. Stemming from the Arabic letters, the language itself is poetry, and in written form complex and beautiful. Thus, with fine and bold writing, Arabic calligraphy comes with patience and talent from the artist as they tell stories or convey messages with grace and art.
Arab culture highly values respect and caring for one’s family. By all means, the family is the number one priority. As a result, Arabs identify theirselves based on their family lineage. For some Arab countries, one’s role in the family would reflect how you would be viewed by the community. Hence, respect is a critical characteristic that Arab people value. This is why we say that family is more important than the individual and more influential than nationality.
8. We Support Each Other
The last thing about Arab culture that we should be proud of is that when push comes to shove, we are there for each other – especially during a crisis. Arab people feel with each other no matter what their government stands for politically. They donate, demonstrate, and educate each other on the issue at hand. And today as the Palestinians are continuously suffering under occupation, Arab individuals from across the Arab World feel their pain. They even adopted Palestinians’ national symbol of pride, their Kaffiyeh, in black and white to show solidarity with their brothers in sisters living under occupation.
Some people may mark the Kaffiyeh as political statement, others see it as a symbol of peace, and others wear it as a fashion item. The Kaffiyeh is a traditional Bedouin/Arabian kerchief that is worn as a headdress. It has been historically used when Arabs harvested their farms serving as shelter from the sun. It then carried out to many Palestinians as a symbol of resistance and to symbolize strength. The main colors for the Kaffiyeh are red and white or black and white. Today, the Kaffiyeh comes in different colors, each representing their country; many wear it when there are national celebrations symbolizing their pride for their country.
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