Useful Data on Traditions and Openness to Other Cultures in the UAE
Traditions are very important for Emiratis. There are a number of religious holidays celebrated throughout the country. Ramadan is one of them – it is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a month of fasting, a month for reflection, prayer and spiritual self-perfection. During this time, the Muslims commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr (literally “the festivals of breaking of the fast”). A number or rituals are performed on this day but it is particularly important to show happiness and do an act of charity. Please, note that during the month of Ramadan many offices will work reduced hours, while restaurants and cafés close earlier.
Salah prayers (also known as salat, athan or namaz) are performed five times a day plus the Friday prayer.
The UAE is a wonderful mixture of tradition and modernity. Families, marriages, children and communities are extremely important for Emiratis. They respect their own customs and religious beliefs; they follow the guidelines given in the Quran and revere the book. However, they also welcome foreigners who’d like to visit or to reside in the country. Hospitality and generosity are highly important in Emirati culture, especially towards newcomers. When shopping, you can be offered tea even before you ask for it. You might also be invited for a family dinner. Guests will be offered coffee with spices. A goat can be slaughtered in your honor as a special kind of courtesy.
Every tourist or an occasional visitor will be surrounded by kindness and attention. The same refers to colleagues and acquaintances. If you ask for directions, you might be escorted to the exact place you are looking for. This type of courtesy and generosity is inherent in the culture of the United Arab Emirates.
Remember, that Dubai is a very multicultural city and the hub of the Middle East. Tradition and innovation successfully co-exist here. Any foreigner is welcome, no matter if this is a tourist staying in the country for a fortnight or someone who plans to move to the country and start a business. So, if you are planning to visit or to move to the UAE, you should take into account its traditions.