Attributes of Our Arab Culture, Making Us Proud
By: Shayma Amour/Arab America Contributing Writer
Arab culture stretches back thousands of years and is considered one of the oldest surviving and remaining cultures in the world. It is congested with a lot of the spectacular, dynamic and colorful achievements and creativity in world history. From times of war and peace, creating literature and exploring the sciences, expanding the beautiful language of Arabic and contributing in modern medicine; Arab culture has a lot to be proud of. The Arab culture, just like any other culture in the world, went through many amendments and changes throughout history in order to adapt to its times and societies; however, there are still some deep-rooted elements that Arabs pass on to their following generations.
“If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.” – Arab proverb.
Arabic hospitality is one of the most admirable and loved traits in the world, it is one of the most outstanding features in Arab traditions and customs. When traveling anywhere in the Arab world, you will receive a warm welcome as a matter of honor and to maintain good relations. When it comes to hospitality, Arabs take it very seriously considering it as a key Arab dignity and a sacred duty.
Almost every Arab you will ever meet will make sure that you are greeted with pleasure. As a guest, you will notice that hosts greet you with the biggest smile and the warmest Marhaba. You will always come first and put under their wing no matter the personal cost. Hosts will take into consideration that you receive the best treatment using every opportunity to honor their guest. From refilling your cup of Arabic coffee and offering you fruits, dry fruits, and dates until you’ve had beyond enough, you will be overfed!
Arabs have inherited this outpouring hospitality from their ancestors and Arab Bedouins, in particular, especially those in the Arabian Peninsula, who depended on each other’s kindness to survive the desert’s harsh climate, particularly during travels.
Generosity is also an ingrained habit of most Arabs. If you praise something that belongs to an Arab, he will insist you take it or you would hear him saying “M’addam” which means (you can have it). This happens most of the times, but it is also expected that you will refuse to take it.
A pattern of resistance and insistence is to be seen again and again. It seems that anytime something is offered, from a cup of tea to a villa, there is an attempt to refuse it; and every time that there is an attempt to refuse something offered there is an added insistence that it be accepted.
This generosity extends to the most minor social events. Whenever you are having something to eat, drink, smoke, etc., you must always offer it to anyone who is with you. If you are sitting down having a cup of coffee and someone joins you, you must insist on getting him a cup as well.
Arab America is launching an exciting initiative for the month of April. You can submit a one-minute phone video “selfie” of yourself stating your name and state, and why you’re proud to be an Arab American or tell a short story of how a person of Arab heritage made you feel special! Send a file of the one minute video to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post your videos on Arab America’s Instagram and Facebook pages with over 600,000 followers!