Dubai culture is unique and attractive. If you are tempted to get a glimpse of its glitter as a traveler, my article will give you the perfect opportunity to take a look at this enchanting city!
“When you are in Rome, do as Romans do.
If you are elsewhere, live as they do elsewhere.” ~St. Ambrose~
This popular proverb needs to be kept in mind by every traveler. It takes centuries for a place to build its own culture and traditions. It is generally expected that, travelers who visit a new city or country get accustomed to cultures and traditions of the place beforehand. This is basically to avoid the effects of cultural shock to local citizens as well as travelers. Naturally, this applies to Dubai as well. So if you are planning your next holiday in this Arabian ‘oasis’, then you have just landed on the most appropriate article.
A Brief Insight
The name of the city is said to be derived from the worddaba which means a swarm of locusts. The city was first known to exist in the year 1095 but was established in 1833 by Sheikh Maktoum bin Buti al Maktoum. Dubai has been under Al Maktoum dynasty from that year and it remains a constitutional monarchy till date. For a brief period, Dubai was under the imperial British empire but gained its independence on 2nd December 1971. Dubai is the largest city in United Arab Emirates. It is a cosmopolitan city with 80% of its residents being from other countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, etc. The primary religion of this city is Islam and Arabic is the most widely spoken language. However, locals are also fluent in English, Hindi, Persian and Urdu. The local currency is called UAE Dirham.
Dubai: Traditions and Culture
As mentioned earlier, the primary religion followed in Dubai is Islam, however locals respect the sanctity of other religions as well. Travelers are usually advised to follow certain Islamic norms in this city to avoid attracting any controversies during their visits.
Dubai follows its own set of cultural dress codes. You will find the local men from Dubai are dressed in long, white and ankle length robe called kandura while women wear long, black, ankle length robe called abaya. There are certain extra stringent traditions for women’s dress codes such as usage of burka or facial mask. This tradition is however, getting relaxed as new generation educated women have started working for financial independence. Both male and female travelers are expected to be dressed in decent clothing at all times. The clothing should neither be too revealing nor transparent. Also, women may wear western wear, provided they are not shorter than knee-length.
Dubai laws restrict consumption of alcohol in public. Similarly, for consumption of alcohol in one’s own homes requires a permit. Basically, considering all these norms,you might conclude that Dubai is a dry state.
In Dubai, it is forbidden to dance in public. Also, it is illegal to make any public display of affection like kissing or holding hands. When out in public, it is generally expected that men do not shake hands with members of opposite sex and vice versa.
Friday is observed as a ‘Jummah day’ or holy day in Islam. Therefore, most of the city observes a weekly holiday on this day.
One popular tradition followed in Dubai is that of fasting during the month of Ramadan. One might notice that locals do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. However, food is generally consumed after sunset and early in the morning before sun rises. At such times, new comers and travelers are expected to respect the feelings of locals and avoid consuming food in public.
Festivals in Dubai
Dubai is not just known for its Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr festivals but also for some new alluring festivals as listed below:
Dubai Shopping Festival
Dubai is often described as shopping paradise with an amazing number of shopping malls boasting of innumerable outlets of world-renowned brands. Dubai holds this shopping festival each year during January and February. There are sky-rocketing sales with branded items sold at heavy discounts in duty-free shops.
Dubai Gold Festival
Traditionally, Dubai was known as a pearl market. Dubai boasts of duty-free gold market and sells gold jewelry at some of the lowest prices in comparison to rest of the world. The Dubai Gold Souk or the traditional gold market boasts of more than 300 gold jewelry outlets. It was once quoted that the Gold Souk had approximately 10 tons of gold at any given point of time.
Dubai Sports Festivals
Come February, and Dubai holds a week-long golf festival in the city. Other major events include the horse racing festival in the month of March and the Rugby Sevens in the month of November each year.
A visit to Dubai can be exhilarating as one gets to view the city’s traditions and its Midas touch. With breathtaking splendor, the city will stay in your mind forever.