Arabs were around long before … For single women travelling alone, it is suggested to bring a ring that looks like a wedding band, and possibly a picture of any man that you can refer proudly to as “my husband”. Today, the cultures of the world can be divided into two main parts such as the Eastern and Western culture. You get the picture. The headscarf option may be of more use in the more rural areas as city women tend to dress far more “western”.  This is true for cities such as Marrakech, Istanbul, Damascus, Beirut where the rules about head scarves are much more relaxed – however, ALL mosques require you to be respectful and cover yourselves before entering. Therefore, reading for prestige (or blessing) takes precedence over reading for meaning. People in the East are rigid in their ideologies and beliefs; they are often reluctant to challenge an… The you-are-what-you-speakparadigm works pretty well for Berbers (speaking Berber), Pashtuns (speaking Pashtu), Panjabis (speaking Panjabi), Uzbeks (speaking Uzbek), Kurds (speaking Kurdish) and so on. In this way, Muslims have maintained the holy text’s resonant eloquence and assured themselves that no part of the Quran has been altered (a huge concern for Muslims). Some of the influencers of Lebanese culture are Phoenicians, Assyrians, Romans, Ottoman Turks, Greeks, Persians, … The culture of a community or a nation depends upon the surroundings, the values and beliefs that they are brought up upon. In the Middle East, for instance, getting a cup of coffee (or tea) is a significant part of each day, with cultural and social importance. The history, culture, religion, and tradition have played a huge role in defining the cuisine of this vast landmass. Middle Easterners often greet each other with a number of ritual phrases and fixed responses. They’re just trying to make a living to feed themselves and their family. The use of Hebrew became a defining trait of Zionism, and Jewish youngsters in Eastern Europe studied Hebrew when preparing to immigrate to Palestine. Turkish Weddings: Colorful and Lavish Traditions 2. Many Bedouins in Morocco believe taking a photo image of them steals their soul – it’s serious stuff in their culture. Do not, under any circumstances, take pictures of obvious military or governmental staff, or heavily guarded buildings.  You have been warned! In Tajikistan, most people speak Tajik, which is a dialect of Persian. Avoid Public Displays Of Affection. These specialists memorize the Quran by heart, recite it, and pass it on orally to others. In the Middle East, “ Islam stresses the idea of a public morality, which is to be enforced collectively”. Najda: Women Concerned About the Middle East. Religion: The major religion of North Africa and the Middle East is Islam and there are substantial numbers of Jews and Christians who also live in these countries. In both cases, we refer to those people as Tajiks. Ancient Middle East, history of the region from prehistoric times to the rise of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and other areas.. Evolution of Middle Eastern civilizations. Racial and ethnic harmony varies from peaceful in Syria to contentious in Israel. Not all Iranians are Persian though. If people don’t look like they’re eating snacks or drinking coffee while walking in the street, you shouldn’t either. Afghan, on the other hand, is a term generally used to refer to any ethnic group in Afghanistan, although some use it to refer specifically to Pashtuns. Arabic describes the language they speak, whereas Arab refers to the people. However throughout the years, the two have come to influence one another consta… But the pattern begins to break down with Persian. Guide Written by Erika Linden Green-Rafeh. The country has a rich culture which is mainly borrowed from different groups of people who lived in the region in the past. For travel in Middle Eastern countries, taking a lightweight  headscarf is highly recommend for women. The Middle East is a region that includes eighteen nations and is home to at least twelve languages. Man is dependent on the fate as determined by God and is powerless in controlling many of life’s events. Dietary law: Rules And Customs In World Religions; Health and Disease. A great tension exists between different ethnic groups in the Middle East. If you want to buy something in a souk, you will be haggling about the price. 3. Bedouin men seem not to care and will usually pose handsomely, but ask anyway. The language barrier between dialects, therefore, is overcome through the medium of Modern Standard Arabic. Many matters of etiquette in the Middle East are connected to Islam as it is written in the Qur'an and how it has been traditionally understood and … What’s an Arab? Some are Arabs, Turkish, Kurdish, or Baluchi. Lace, Fabric, and Fashion Design in Turkey 5. In South Asia, for example, Pashtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis, Hazaras, Tajiks, and other groups are in constant conflict. However, intensive efforts were made to teach all of them Hebrew, and the revival of the language became complete. This article on ethnicity is designed not to express the scope of tension between ethnic groups across the region (an endless topic touched upon throughout the historical sections), but rather to help explain the importance of language and its link to ethnicity. The Middle Eastern Health Inequality Paradox and the Gender Obesity Gap (2018) Because I’d walked about 45 minutes to get there, I decided to squat down beside the chokidar, wait, and practice my Urdu on him. The Middle East contains a multitude of societies with different traditions regarding etiquette. For this reason, you could say you are what you speak. In fact, before the late 19th century, almost no one grew up speaking Hebrew at home. It’s helpful at times, to have a pack of cigarettes, even if you don’t smoke. The literary language of pre-Islamic poetry, the Quran, and classical Arabic literature has survived today in a version called Modern Standard Arabic, or fusha. CUSTOMS & CULTURES IN THE MIDDLE EAST MIDDLE EAST The Arab world consists of about 20 countries stretching from Mauritania in the west to Oman in the East. While generalizations of Middle Eastern culture are readily apparent, some variation and extremes are found within the geographical area known as the Middle East. While Islam is the predominant religion, other religious groups are accepted and treated with respect.Most Arabs believe that most of life’s events are controlled and orchestrated by God. The Middle East is actually a transcontinental region that centers on western Asia, Egypt, and Turkey. Don’t bring too many tank tops or short sleeved shirts or shorts, even in summer (Capri pants can be okay in the more moderate Arab states). Family is extremely important to Middle Eastern cultures and usually extends to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Thousands of Muslim pilgrims make ziyārāt, or visits, to saints' shrines, some large, some small, dotting the urban and rural landscapes of countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt but also in Middle Eastern countries outside the Arab world, including Turkey and Iran. Many Muslims believe that reading the Quran in translation to understand it is less of a blessing than reading it in the original Arabic, even if you can’t understand the meaning. In South Asia, for example, Pashtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis, Hazaras, Tajiks, and other groups are in constant conflict. No matter what your personal feelings about this custom are, it saves you a lot of staring and unwanted attention from grinning teens to hassle from grown men.  More importantly however, it’s more respectful of the culture. The Muslim dilemma of Arabic stems from the fact that the majority of Muslims don’t speak Arabic. Within that area is a diverse group of people bound together primarily by language and religion. From the first generation of Muslims, the duty of preserving the Quran has fallen to a Quranic specialist called hafiz (meaning one who memorizes). The high antiquity of civilization in the Middle East is largely due to the existence of convenient land bridges and easy sea lanes passable in summer or … For example, Indians pay respect to their elders by touching their feet; East Asians use bows as greetings, apologizing and thanking. Prophetic and ṢūfÄ« healing traditions continue to flourish in many parts of the Middle East, particularly in the countries of North Africa. Language, Ethnicity, and Tradition in the Middle East, Setting the Stage for the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Understanding the Disputed Areas of the Middle East, Weathering Iraq’s Stormy Romance with the West, A great tension exists between different ethnic groups in the Middle East. Promotes understanding between Americans and Arabs by offering educational programs and audiovisual presentations on Middle Eastern history, art, culture, and current events. The Arab, Turkish, and Iranian cultures are heirs to great Islamic empires that had their centers in the region and represent three distinct variations within the global Islamic civilization. What is the Traditional Dress of Israel? Our M.A. The geographical location of any given society close to certain physical features may shape the social life of people. In particular, Orientalist painting, depicting more specifically "the Middle East", was one of the many specialisms of 19th … Also a large number of Afghans speak a dialect of Persian they usually call Dari. He added that he was sorry for the delay, but said, “I thought you were Punjabi.”. Related and sometimes useful is a bag of small cheap plastic hair barrettes to hand out to little girls – comes in handy when you want to take pictures. British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel advice for British citizens including travel warnings. Modern Standard Arabic is used primarily for official speeches, television newscasts, newspapers and magazines, books, and so forth. When I told him the United States, he leaped up, shook my hand, expressed his pleasure in meeting me, and informed me that I was free to enter the hospital. You may actually be surprised that street crime is much lower in the Middle East than the towns and cities back home (punishment and discipline is far stricter in all levels of society) but it always pays to look after your valuables carefully. Use the right hand to eat, touch and present gifts. Travel Tip: Ditch those Western ways! •“In-Group”-Make statements that show an appreciation of the culture, “Tell me about your culture, I love learning about other cultures”. Box 7152, Berkeley, California 94707. There may be good reasons these days to avoid looking like you’re from America. The primary religions of the region are Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Because Muhammad handed down the Quran in Arabic, you can only appreciate the resonant eloquence of the Quran when you recite it. Bye!”. As in much of Asia and the Middle East, the left is generally regarded as unclean. Yiddish vs. Hebrew: What’s the Difference? In 1988, this author went to a small Afghan hospital in Peshawar … This section is an attempt to gather information on customs of the oral tradition world-wide. When I announced to the Pashtun chokidar (gatekeeper) in my flawed Urdu of my intentions to visit a patient, he abruptly informed me in his equally flawed Urdu that visiting hours were three hours off. How to Dress: Modestly for men (i.e no shorts) and for women, a headscarf is an essential and absolutely no bare arms or bare legs. Make sure you keep any expensive cameras in cases and preferably out of view in a bag or rucksack, or at least carried towards your body rather than in view of wandering hands on the street. Arabs are located in 22 principle countriessituated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). These are strict and extremely obligatory. The spread of Buddhism and Hindu Yoga is partly responsible for this. In the ancient African culture, some of the people associated mountains, trees, or hills to their Gods and their cultural practices. This includes Collectivist vs. Individualistic … Fewer than half the world’s Muslims are Arabs. If you offer a cigarette to the person selling the thing (if it’s a man 9 times out of 10 he’ll be a smoker), you start to become more like a friend than a customer, “Oh, we’re just sitting here, two friends, talking about something I like.”, Always handy is a good story to tell while haggling for the product you want –  “it’s for my cousin who is getting married” for example. Middle Eastern Culture & Cuisine Religious Customs. Most Muslims grow up speaking any number of languages other than Arabic. If the Moroccan farmer and Lebanese farmer have graduated high school, they’re likely well versed in fusha and could communicate with one another, read the newspaper, and comprehend television newscasts from other Arab countries. After I finally succeeded in getting the reserved Pashtun gatekeeper to talk about his family, tea, upcoming Ramadan holiday, and other small talk, he asked me where I was from. You know, I really have to be going now. Many of these characteristics and customs apply as much today as they did in ancient times, while other traditions have died out. If you plan to travel to this regio… In some major cities, such as Beirut, Tel Aviv or Dubai, you will likely see locals and tourists... Hospitality Is Key. Scope out some place safe (bus terminal, gas station, porch of private home with kids) where you can check a map, ask a question or just get your bearings. Eastern world refers to countries in Asia and Middle East. “No, thank you.” said firmly and clearly is better and will let them exit to find another victim.

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