Saudi Arabia Culture
This article is about Saudi Arabia Culture. Saudi Arabia Culture is really interesting. The culture is mostly influenced in Islam. Islam is the only religion which is allowed legally in Saudi Arabia. The culture of Quraish and ancient Arabs are still holding the attitude of the people strongly though. Saudi Arabia Culture is considered as one of the old culture in the world.
The cultural setting of Saudi Arabia is Arab and Islam, and is deeply religious, conservative, traditional, and family oriented. Many attitudes and traditions are centuries-old, derived from Arab civilization. However its culture has also been affected by rapid change, as the country was transformed from an impoverished nomadic society into a rich commodity producer in just a few years in the 1970s.
The Wahhabi Islamic movement, which arose in the 18th century and is sometimes described as austerely puritanical, now predominates in the country. Following the principle of “enjoining good and forbidding wrong”, there are many limitations on behaviour and dress are strictly enforced both legally and socially, often more so than in other Muslim countries. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, for example, and there is no theatre or public exhibition of films.
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Five times each day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques scattered throughout the country. Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend is Friday-Saturday. In accordance with Wahhabi doctrine, only two religious holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, were publicly recognized, until 2006 when a non-religious holiday, the 23 September national holiday (which commemorates the unification of the kingdom) was reintroduced in 2006.
The traditional heritage of Saudi Arabia is varying from handicrafts to costumes to ethnic dishes. Folklore is a key element in the enchanting tourism experience of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Kingdom has a unique diversity in its traditional heritage, varying from one province to another, each describes the early social life of its locals. If you want to live the experience and truly indulge in it, then you need to visit the various local tourist sites spread all over the Kingdom.
Clothing and Accessories in Saudi Arabia Culture
The types and shapes of clothes and accessories differ from one province to another and from an environment to another inside the same province. Because of the cultural and social harmony among the Kingdom’s provinces, the clothing styles and the accessories designs became similar to each other in most of the provinces. The markets display different types of textiles from around the world and large quantities of clothes. Moreover, the sewing and knitting occupation had flourished for men and women. The locals became proud of their new and beautiful clothes.
The Saudi official clothing for men consists of Shimaq or Ghutra (triangle cloth worn over the head). On top of Ghutra, Igal (doubled black rope-like cord) is worn in order to hold Ghutra in place. Then, a full-length, loose garment with long sleeves called Thawb is worn. Thawb comes in different types and colors. Often, the shoes or sandals are worn. Bisht (cloak) in its bright colors is worn over the Thawb on official occasions. As for the women, there is no specific clothes around the Kingdom. For the women, there are diverse traditional clothes and they conceal rather than reveal. The Saudi women wear black cloaks that cover their clothes, reflecting the Saudi woman’s identity. Although, the men and women clothes are influenced by modernity and development, they still preserve their ancient Arabian descriptions, namely in the southern parts of the Saudi Arabia where traditional clothes are still worn.
The Traditional Cuisines in Saudi Arabia Culture
Some types of Saudi foods became dominant all over the provinces despite the different social and economic segments of the Saudi community. There are various cuisines and beverages, including Al-Kabsah, Al-Qursan, Al-Mutazees, Al-Mutabbaq, Al-Ma’soub, Al-Mandi, Al-Arikah, Al-Aseedah, Al-Hanith, and so on.
Most of the cuisines have many nutritional benefits and high calories that give the body the power to work. Such cuisines are prepared by the women at home, but the traditional restaurants have spread lately to a large extent. You can taste any of these cuisines any time. Their ingredients are brought from the materials available in the local environment.
The Folklore in Saudi Arabia Culture
The folklore in Saudi Arabia is based on the theme of unity and groups. It is comprised of enthusiastic songs and games that express Arab customs and traditions. Citizens consider folklore as a source of pride that they inherit from one generation to another.
The Architectural Style in Saudi Arabia Culture
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has plenty of buildings that reflect the distinctive architectural heritage of the country which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The buildings shapes and construction methods differ from one province to the other.
The architectural heritage in the central region is distinguished for using the local building materials, namely the mud. The western region is famous for using the stone in building whereas the eastern region uses the mud, stone, and gypsum in the building walls and palm tree trunks for the ceilings.
Customs and Traditions in Saudi Arabia Culture
The customs and traditions in Saudi Arabia are inspired by the Islamic and Arab culture, namely the culture of the Arabs in the Arab Peninsula. However, they differ from one province to another, especially the dialect, housing pattern, clothing, cuisines, dances, and folk songs.
Being generous with the guest and helping the poor are the most prominent traditions of Saudi people since they organize big feasts during occasions and invite everyone. Also, the Saudi traditions involve pride, courage, protecting their women, self-esteem, dignity, and others which were mentioned in the traditional poetry and local tales.
Al-Janadriyah Festival in Saudi Arabia Culture
It is one of most beautiful festivals held in the Kingdom. It is a heritage village built near Riyadh to reflect the real picture of the Kingdom’s heritage. This Festival is organized annually when the weather is mild within the first months of the Gregorian year. It last for two weeks and it includes heritage events that revive the heritage through the traditional buildings, handicraft activities, and the modern audio-visual technology that is used to display them. Moreover, the village includes a theater, performance halls, and model buildings that represent the built heritage of all cities in the Kingdom. The Saudi and expat visitors and tourists consider this Festival as the best occasion to recognize the traditional heritage. It is worth noting that the Festival is accompanied by cultural activities and diverse events held inside Riyadh city.
Souk Okaz in Saudi Arabia Culture
Souk Okaz is one of the markets where the Arabs met for trading and presenting poems and speeches in the past. Today, it is revived at the same historical location to be a unique poetry, artistic, and historical meeting. Souk Okaz now combines the ancient history and the shining present. Here, the visitor will find the modern techniques and the location’s geography with its historical value. Also, folklore performances are organized in Souk Okaz. The visitor can reach the venue by using his own car or by accompanying a tourism group.
The Arabian horse in Saudi Arabia Culture
The Arabian horse is famous around the world. It is connected with the history of the Arabian Peninsula. The horse was domesticated before nearly 9000 years by the Bedouin tribes in Najd plateau. The horse can adapt quickly to the desert conditions. It has descriptions respected by the Bedouin, including beauty, patience, intelligence, high speed, courage during battles, and loyalty. The Arabian horse endurance races make the spectators view with respect and awe.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, says: “Our ancestors see, for many view the Arabian horse is one of the most valuable treasures”. To fulfill a harmony with the spirit of his people, the King constantly supports the Kingdom’s pioneer role as being responsible for this ancient heritage.
Poetry and Poets in Saudi Arabia Culture
Kingdom is home to Arab poetry and poets since ancient times. From the Kingdom’s suburbs and deserts, beautiful poetry was given by the most important poets of the old Arab times. Such poetry takes its place in the history of literary world. They convey the meaning of wisdom, horse riding, and pride, in the annals of human knowledge and cited on Tombstones. The poetry has continued to keep pace with the stages establishment and unification of the country in the modern times. Also, poetry assisted in recording the country’s remarkable achievements and developments. The most famous purpose of Arabic poetry in the Kingdom is pride, praise and spinning flirtation, and elegy.
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