Culture and Tradition in Dubai
Dubai's culture and tradition are deeply rooted in the Islamic faith, the Bedouin lifestyle, and the Arabian hospitality that shape the way of life of Emirati citizens. It is vital that when tourists visit Dubai, they must be respectful and behave appropriately, as the Emirati nation is very protective of their culture and traditions.
In this article, we will give you a brief overview of some of the aspects of culture and tradition in Dubai that you should know before you visit.
- Traditional Emirati Clothing
- Typical Emirati Food
- Traditional Arts and Handicrafts
- Important Envents and Festivities
One of the most distinctive features of Dubai's culture is the traditional attire of the Emiratis, which is designed to provide comfort and modesty in the hot desert climate. You will see many locals wearing their national dress in public places, especially during religious or festive occasions.
The typical Emirati clothing for men is called a kandora or dishdasha, which is a long, loose-fitting white robe that reaches the ankles. On their head, they wear a ghutrah, which is a white or red-and-white checkered scarf that is held in place by a black cord called an agal. The ghutrah can also be used to cover the face from the sun or sand.
The typical Emirati clothing for women is called an abaya, which is a long, black cloak that covers their body from head to toe. Underneath the abaya, they may wear Western clothes or a traditional long-sleeved dress called a jalabeya. On their head, they wear a black scarf called a shayla, which may also cover their face partially or fully.
If you are visiting Dubai, you are not expected to wear the Emirati clothing, but you should dress modestly and respectfully in public places. Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight, too short, or too revealing. You should also cover your shoulders and knees when visiting mosques or other religious sites.
Another way to experience the culture and tradition of Dubai is to taste its delicious cuisine, which is influenced by the Arabian, Persian, Indian, and African culinary traditions. Emirati food is rich in spices, herbs, meat, rice, and seafood, and it reflects the nomadic and coastal lifestyle of the ancestors. Some of the typical Emirati dishes that you should try are:
- Camel: This is a delicacy that is served in various ways, such as roasted with rice and nuts, or made into burgers or milkshakes.
- Dates: These are sweet fruits that are often eaten as snacks or desserts. They can also be stuffed with nuts or cheese, or dipped in chocolate or honey.
- Fouga deyay: This is a rice dish with grilled chicken marinated in Emirati spices. It is usually served with yogurt or salad.
When eating Emirati food, you should follow some basic etiquette rules:
- Wash your hands before and after eating.
- Use your right hand to eat (the left hand is considered unclean).
- Do not waste food or leave leftovers on your plate.
- Compliment your host on the food and thank them for their hospitality.
Dubai is also home to many talented artisans who preserve and promote the traditional arts and handicrafts of the Emirati culture. You can admire and buy their creations at various souks, museums, and cultural centers around the city. Some of the traditional arts and handicrafts that you can find in Dubai are:
- Al Sadu: This is a weaving technique that uses wool, cotton, or camel hair to create colorful patterns on carpets, rugs, cushions, bags, and tents. It is a skill that was passed down from generation to generation by the Bedouin women.
- Al Aseefa: This is a pottery technique that uses clay to make pots, bowls, plates, and other utensils. It is a craft that was done by both men and women in the past, using simple tools and methods.
- Al Qatt: This is a painting technique that uses geometric shapes and bright colors to create abstract designs on walls, ceilings, doors, and furniture. It is a style that originated in Saudi Arabia and was adopted by some Emirati families.
If you are interested in learning more about the traditional arts and handicrafts of Dubai, you can visit some of the places that showcase them, such as:
- Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood: This is a restored area that dates back to the 19th century. It features traditional style houses with wind towers and courtyards. You can also find museums, art galleries, cafes, and cultural events here.
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding: This is a non-profit organization that aims to educate visitors about the Emirati culture and heritage. You can join cultural tours, lectures, workshops, and activities here.
- Dubai Culture Village: This is a waterfront development that celebrates the diversity and creativity of Dubai's culture. You can find art studios, galleries, museums, theatres, restaurants, and events here.
Dubai is a city that loves to celebrate its culture and tradition with various festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the most important and popular celebrations and festivities in Dubai are:
► Ramadan: This is the holy month of fasting for Muslims, during which they abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and other worldly pleasures from dawn to dusk. It is a time of spiritual reflection, charity, and worship. Ramadan ends with Eid al-Fitr, which is a three-day festival of feasting and joy.
► Eid al-Adha: This is another major Islamic festival that commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail for God. It is also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, as Muslims slaughter an animal (usually a sheep or a goat) and share its meat with their family, friends, and the poor. Eid al-Adha lasts for four days.
► Dubai Shopping Festival: This is an annual event that takes place from December to January. It is one of the biggest shopping events in the world,
offering discounts, deals, prizes, and entertainment for shoppers from all over the world.
► Dubai Food Festival: This is an annual event that takes place from February to March. It is a gastronomic celebration that showcases the diversity and quality of Dubai's cuisine, featuring food markets, tastings, workshops, competitions, and events.