Society Of United Arab Emirates Cultural Studies Essay

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Culture of UAE revolves mainly around Islam and Bedouin culture but none the less it has a vibrant and diverse culture thanks to being a cosmopolitan society. Arabic culture and Islam have a great influence over its music, art, attire, architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle. Mosques are scattered all around the country where Muslims pray five times daily. As Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend begins on Friday.

Islam is the main religion of UAE but it has been tolerant to other religions as well as a result Hindu Temples, Sikh Gurudwaras, and Christian Churches can also be found alongside Mosques. But surprisingly no Jewish Synagogue is found!

UAE homes several communities which are facing persecution in other parts of the world which is unique in itself. Due to the rapidly growing cosmopolitan atmosphere a number of Asian influenced schools, themed restaurant and cultural centers can be found. European centers, restaurants and school are also seen in UAE today. Etiquette is important feature of the culture and tradition of UAE so the visitors are but naturally expected to show good manners and etiquette. Recently the expatriates who were not respecting laws were arrested as they were not wearing enough clothes at beaches; some of them were even completely nude.

people of uae

People of Emirates comprises of native Arab people who have dominated this region for centuries. Majority is represented by descendants of Al Nahant and Al Mattoon.

Many people from Indian subcontinent, Europe and Arab countries migrate to UAE seeking better life style and higher income jobs. U.S. state department estimated the population to be at 4.4 million people with citizens being only 15-20%. The annual growth rate of population is 4% per annum. 96% of population is Muslim. Christianity, Hinduism is followed by traces of population. Arabic is majorly spoken so it is the official language. English, Urdu, Hindi and Persian are also spoken among various groups of people. Average life expectancy is found to be seventy seven years.


Islamic architecture greatly inspires the architecture of United Arab Emirates. Builders use simple materials but still they are nicely adapted to the demands of harsh climate and life style. In winter season portable tents provide shelter during tribal wanderings. More permanent houses build with stone guss and were roofed using palm tree leaves in inland. In coastal regions fossilized coral bonded with sarooj and plastered with water paste and chalk was extensively used. Privacy and ventilation were taken care in houses layout.

museums and art galleries

Sarah was declared the cultural capital of Arab world in 1998 with 17 museums in its Heritage District. Cultural foundation of Abu Dhabi is a place for the presentation of indigenous & for an art. The Al Quoi area of Dubai has attracted a large number of art galleries.

A cultural district on Saadiyat Island has led Abu Dhabi on a way to become an art center of international caliber. Here six grand projects planned are:

Sheikh hayed National Museum

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi- Modern art museum

Louvre Abu Dhabi- Classical museum

A Maritime Museum

A Performing Art Center

A Biennale Park with sixteen pavilions

A Kunsthal Museum and a district for galleries & artist is also planned to be built in Dubai.

food and cuisines

Cuisine of the UAE is a blend of different Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The modern diet of UAE is cosmopolitan, including several dishes from all over the world. Many people confuse Levantine as being Emirati Food, but tabbouleh, hummus, mixed grill and shawarma are recent additions which does not do justice to title 'soul food' that makes up Emirati menu.

Due to harsh climatic conditions of desert, traditional food of UAE uses a large quantity of meat, dairy and cereals. Here vegetables are very difficult to grow and so they are not strongly featured in daily diet. Traditional dishes include Arsee'ah, Margooga, Harees, Fireed, Ma'louba, Machbous, Jisheid and Mishwy. Meats usually used are either chicken or small fowl, like Houbara bustards and goats. Because camels are highly prized for milk and unique transporting ability, the eating of their meat is reserved for special occasions.

Dishes are usually like the stews, because everything is cooked within a single pot. The core flavors which are used in Emirati cookery include Saffron, cardamom, turmeric and thyme. Rice was included in the diet when traders moved to this region. The leaves from the indigenous tress like the Gaff also used to make stuff of the small birds, thus releasing the flavor and aroma during the cooking process.

In UAE breakfast usually features many types of breads like chebab, khameer and ragag, served along with cheese, syrup of date, or eggs. These are made over the curved hot plate, which are used by the Bedouins. Balaleat is yet another popular dish, but is advent again with traders, who are known to introduce pasta.

Sweet choices include luqeymat which a deep fried ball made of pancake batter which is rolled in sesame seed then further drizzled with date syrup. Other major desserts are khabeesa which is flour bread crumbs mixed with sugar, cardamom, saffron or bethitha, and semolina mixed with crushed dates, cardamom and butter.

At the end of the meal generally a red tea infused with mint is served, which helps in digestion of food. Other traditions to the meal include a welcome with dates and ghawah (Arabic coffee), which are offered on arrival and are kept available through the guests visit

Seafood is the mainstay of Emirati diet for centuries. The UAE cuisine is a reflection of Arabian heritage together with vast exposure to other civilizations over the period of time. Pork meat is prohibited in Islam so it is not included in the Arab menu. Meat, fish and rice are staple foods. Lamb and mutton are most favored meats, then the meat of goat and finally beef's meat. Popular beverages include coffee and tea which are supplemented with cardamom and mint to give it a delightful and distinct flavor.

Many Hotels have substitutes like beef sausages and veal rashers in their respective breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labeled.

Alcohol is usually only served in hotels, restaurants and bars (and not in Sharjah). All the night clubs and golf clubs are allowed to sell alcohol. Very specific supermarkets may also sell alcohol and pork but still they have to sell it in separate sections.

Dishes which are part of the UAE cuisine are as follows-


Yeast Bread





Al Majboos

Camel Milk



Al Salona

Al Madrooba


Camel Meat

Al Khabeesah

Al Khanfaroosh

Raqaq (flat)

Al Jabab Bread

dress and clothing

While the major religion is Islam, still the Islamic dress code is not compulsory unlike Saudi Arabia. Many of Emirati men prefer wearing thaw which is ankle length white shirt made of wool or cotton while women wear abaca which is a black over garment covering most of the body parts. These clothing's are well suited for the hot and dry climate. Apart from traditional clothing, western clothing is also quite popular among the youngsters.

Etiquette is important feature of the culture and tradition of UAE so the visitors are but naturally expected to show good manners and etiquette. Recently the expatriates who were not respecting laws were arrested as they were not wearing enough clothes at beaches; some of them were even completely nude.

poetry and literature

Poetry has been part of the culture of UAE since dawn of time. Style and form of ancient was influenced by 8TH century Arab scholar, Al Khalil bin Ahmed, who followed 16 meters. This form went slight modification during Islamic civilization in Spain. However, the Indigenous Arabic poetry was not left unaffected from western influence. In 20th century the prose poetry made its way into local literary scene.

Poetry is vivid in themes ranging from patriotism, religion, family to love, satire and chivalry, self-praise. It can vary from descriptive to narrative.

Iconic poets include Ibn Masjid who belongs to a family of successful sailors. He has total 40 surviving compositions, of which 39 are verses.

Other noted poets include Salem bin Ali Owais, Mubarak Al Oqaili and Ahmed bin Sulayem. Other poets which thrived from Sharjah are Khalfan Musabah, Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi{he was also an ex ruler of Sharjah area} and Sultan bin Ali.

dance and music

The United Arab Emirates is known for its Bedouin folk music. Liwa type of music and dance is performed in communities which have descendants of East Africa. During the celebrations, singing and dancing takes place and many songs and dances, which are passed down from generation to generation, have survived till the present time. Young girls usually dance by swinging their long hair and swaying their bodies according to the strong music beats. Men re-enact the battles fought and successful hunting expeditions, often using sticks, swords and rifles. Bollywood and Hollywood movies are quite popular in Dubai. The UAE has active music scene, with the musicians like Amr Diab, Tarkan, Aerosmith, Diana Haddad, Santana, Mark Knopfler, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Shakira, Pink, Celine Dion, Phil Collins and Coldplay having performed on major occasions in the country. Kylie Minogue was paid a handsome 4.4 million dollars to perform during the opening ceremony of Atlantis resort on 20 November, 2008. Dubai's Desert Rock Festival is yet another major festival which consists of Heavy metal music and rock artists.


Football is the National Sport of the UAE. Emirati Soccer clubs like Al-Ain, Al-Wasl, Al-Sharjah, Al-Wahda, Al-Shabbab ACD and Al-Ahli clubs are most popular teams and they enjoy reputation of the regional champions. Great rivalries keep the UAE streets energized because people crowd the streets when the team which they are supporting wins. The UAE Football Association, first established in 1971 has dedicated itself to promote the game, organizing many youth programs which improve the abilities of not only its players, but also of the officials and coaches who are involved with regional teams. The U.A.E. football team first qualified for World Cup in 1990 with Egypt. It was the 3rd consecutive World Cup having 2 Arab countries qualifying after Kuwait and Algeria doing it in 1982 and Iraq and Algeria doing it again in 1986. The UAE has recently won the Gulf Cup soccer championship organized in Abu Dhabi in January 2007.

Cricket is amongst one of the most popular sports, mainly due to the high population from Indian subcontinent. Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium hosted 4 international Test matches. Also Abu Dhabi stadium also hosts international cricket matches. Dubai has got 2 cricket stadiums, i.e., Dubai Cricket Ground no.1 and no.2 with a 3rd 'S3' is currently under construction as part of the Dubai Sports City. Dubai is also home to the International Cricket Council. United Arab Emirates' national cricket team was qualified for the 1996 World Cup and missed out narrowly on qualification match for 2007 World Cup. Other popular sports are racing, Falconry, Tennis and Endurance riding.


January 1- New Year's Day

December 2- National Day

Variable holidays include Islamic new year, Eid-ul-fitr(end of Ramadan), the Night Journey, Eid-ul-Adha(Day of Sacrifice).