Traditionally, the people of the UAE (who are known as the
Emiratis) have had their staple foods as rice, meat, and, seafood. Seafood is
mostly fish while mutton and lamb are the more common meats. Cultural Emirati
foods include chabab bread, Lugaimat (a famous dessert), machboos, and a few
others. Just like most of the other countries in the world, western culture has
played a part in shaping the cuisine of the UAE. For example, fast foods are
now more common than in previous times.
A number of sports are also present in the UAE. Some of them are
local while others are a result of other cultures and countries. For example,
Formula One racing has particularly gained popularity with most of the events
happening at the Yas Marina Circuit. The circuit is popular as it is the first
one to hold a Formula One race that started during the day and ended at night.
Other sports include camel racing, endurance riding, golf, football, cricket,
and many more. Some of the more popular football teams include Shabab Al Ahli
Dubai, Al Nasr SC, Al-Sharjah, and others. Presently, the country has been
confirmed as the host of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The cricket team is extremely
popular and has a number of honors including qualification for the 1996 Cricket
World Cup and the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Being an Arab country, it is not a surprise that Islam is the
most popular religion. In fact, the religion is the
state religion in the Emirates. However, this does not mean that other
religions like Christianity are not allowed. Data from the Pew Research Center
shows that 76% of the population is Muslim with Christianity coming next with a
following of 12.6%. The non-Muslims in the UAE's population are mostly
immigrants from foreign countries who have arrived in the UAE for work and
business. Among the Muslims, the bigger chunk (about 97%) are Sunni while the
remaining 3% are Shia Muslims. Other religions include Hinduism (6.6%),
Buddhism (2%), and a few other minority religions. Despite the fact that the
government does not interfere with other religions, it prohibits the spreading
of non-Islamic religions through any kind of media since this is classified as
proselytizing. Presently, there are more than 30 churches while Hindus have
only one temple at Bur Dubai.
Just like other Arabic countries, the national language of the
UAE is Arabic. The Emirati people speak the Gulf Dialect of Arabic natively.
The Gulf Dialect is also spoken in other Arab countries such as the Persian
Gulf in Kuwait, eastern Saudi Arabia, southern Iraq, and other regions and
countries. Due to the previous occupation of the country by the United Kingdom
in the past (until 1971), English is also the UAE’s primary lingua franca.
Traditionally, the Emirati wear clothes such as the abaya and
the kandura. The kandura is a white shirt that has a length of up to the ankles
while the abaya is a black over-garment worn by women as a headscarf. Data
shows that the average man in the UAE has around 50 kanduras for changing
regularly and staying immaculate. The white colors and the design of the attire
are two aspects that make it suitable for the hot climate of the UAE. Western
style of clothing has crept into dressing with most youths preferring western
styles. However, wearing clothes that are deemed inappropriate could be a cause
of being arrested in the UAE.
Literature And Poetry
The poetry area of the UAE revolves around several themes and
topics including satire, religion, love, family, self-praise, chivalry,
patriotism, and many other things. The poems written in the UAE have had an
immense influence on the culture of the Arab state since historical periods. A scholar
from the 8th century who was known as Al Khalil bin Ahmed mostly influenced a
huge part of the style of poetry. However, just like every other aspect of the
culture, the 20th century saw
the introduction of styles such as prose, which is a western style. Some of the
greatest poets in the history of the UAE include Mubarak Al Oqaili, Ahmed bin
Sulayem, Salem bin Ali al Owais, Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi, Sultan bin Ali al
Owais, and a few others.
Music And Dance
The UAE is part of the tradition known as Arab khaleeji. For
these people, they have a kind of music known as Yowla while the Bantu people
hailing from Africa’s Great Lakes region mainly influence dances. Songs and
dances are usually common in social events such as weddings and parties. Girls
would mainly dance by moving their hips and hair while men perform dances
reenacting past battles. All these dances are usually transmitted from one
generation to another usually by word of mouth. In modern times, other forms of
music have emerged with the current generation blending the past and the
present. The local populace has also embraced foreign artists such as Elton
John, Celine Dion, Zayn Malik, and many others.