Most Interesting Facts to Know about the Arab Culture
By: Tasnim Elnasharty/Arab America Contributing Writer
Arabic culture is the culture of the Arabs, from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.
Which Countries are Arab Countries?
Arabic counties range Morocco to North Africa, and from there to the Persian Gulf. This region is also called the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region. The Arab World consists of 22 countries which are: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Island, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syrian, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Qatar, Somalia, Mauritania, Oman, Morocco, Yemen.
Strategic Importance of the Arabic World
The Arabic world hosts several faiths, and people from many ethnic groups speak different languages dialects. The Arabic language is classified into three main different forms: Classic Arabic, Modern Arabic, and Dialectal (Colloquial) Arabic. The more common one in writing and literature is Classical Arabic.
In addition, approximately sixty percent of the world’s oil reserves are located either in the Arabian or very close to that region. Saudi Arabia is the country with the highest oil reserves in the world.
Most Common Arabic Customs
Constructive criticism can be viewed as insulting, and caution should be exercised in this regard. Arabian women’s style of dressing necessitates them to cover their heads to show their respect even if they wear western costumes.
The family is at the heart of honor, devotion, and reputation. In the Arabic and Islamic culture, men are the head of the family. You need to shake the hands of men you do business with, but be careful about not squeezing too tightly. It is very important to build respect and trust before you start doing business with Arabs.
Holidays in Arabic Countries
Life and holidays are also under the influence of Islam in Arabic countries. The Arabic calendar is a lunar calendar in which one year consists of 12 months and 353 or 354 days. The weekend day for Muslims is Friday. Also, the holidays of Arabic countries vary across countries, the common holidays are religious festivals and special days. These days change each year.
Clothing in Arabic Countries
Arab men’s clothing consists of a wide range of dresses from western-style suits to jeans, from T-shirts to traditional long dresses. The Arabic attire is shaped by Islamic rules and, even more than that, by geographical and climate conditions.
Arab women’s clothes, devotion to traditional Arabic clothing varies from country to country. While Saudi Arabia is more dependent in tradition, Egypt is less dependent. Traditional Arabic women’s clothes cover the whole body. Arabic women living in the countryside wear less restrictive, lighter and looser clothes.
The Prohibitions in the Arab Cuisine
Arab people do not eat pork, many carnivorous animals, and sea animals without scales. Alcohol is one of the primary bans in most of the Arabic countries. All animals they eat are slaughtered in accordance with the Islamic rules. Mutton is the most popular type of meat. As per the Arabic culinary culture and lifestyle, guests are always offered snacks, tea, or coffee, and refusing these offers is considered rude since they present their friendship and respect together with these.
Arabic greetings and Meeting to be held with Arabs
The Middle Easterners are flexible about the time of the meeting, a delay is not perceived as a sign of disrespect. In the Arabic culture, greetings are done with men by shaking hands according to the order of seniority; and never attempt to shake hands with an Arab woman unless she reaches out for it.
In the Arabic culture, giving gifts is suitable if the meeting takes place at home, and the gift must be packed. The packages are not opened in front of the gift giver and the gifts offered must not be rejected more than twice for the shake respect.
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