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Abu Dhabi Culture

The UAE's culture is tolerant and welcoming, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine friendliness of the people. Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures, all of which are embraced without losing the cultural and national identity of which the UAE’s people are justifiably proud; a culture and heritage inextricably linked to its religion.Women face no discrimination and are able to drive and walk around the city unescorted. The rapid economic development of the last 40 years has, in many ways, changed life in the UAE beyond recognition. However, despite rapid development and increased exposure to foreign influences, indigenous traditions and culture are alive and thriving. The people of Abu Dhabi enthusiastically promote cultural and sporting events that are representative of their past, such as faiconry, camel racing and traditional dhow sailing. At times it may seem like the national sport is shopping, but many important traditions are retained. Arabic poetry, dances, songs and traditional art are encouraged, and weddings and celebrations are still colourful occasions of feasting and music. As a mark of pride in the culture and national identity, most locals wear traditional national dress. For men this is a dishdashlal — a full length shirt·dress that is worn with a white or red checked

head—dress (gutra) which is held in place with a black cord lagal, Women wear a black abaya — a long, loose black robe, and an sheyla — a headscarf. Some women also wear a thin black veil a cover their faces and older women sometimes wear a leather mask (burkha). Religion & Ramadan ,é Blom is the official religion in the UAE and is widely practised. j- is based on five pillars (Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting Phrirnage) and Muslims are called upon to pray five times - _ __ these times varying according to the position of the A · »· · keeping in mind that Islam is more than just a the basis for a complete way of life that all Muslims : · are plenty of mosques dotted around the city people pray in them when possibIe,most oflices ` ngs have rooms set aside for prayers. Also it'S I(f\QQ|i|’]g `[hé $lC.l€ ofthe road a mosque, it is considered impolite to start? l of- course mean that the call to prayer Can " `_·`· a day from the loudspeakers of the many ‘`.. ls. and not always in sync! Friday is the lililllllf Q much everything will be closed until mld· holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are 0bl¤9§g 3 ‘ng daylight hours. Non-Muslims are €><i>€€Y€d;·’0kB _ l lfl l -· out of respect,and you should not eat,d¤;l< T; dress afeas dufing the f3$tlI"Ig hOUl'$a.YOU Zhoukllitil the Iftaf imma _C_,mseNative|y_ At Sunset! the fast is bro 6**

feast. All over the city, festive Ramadan tents are lilled each evening with people of all nationalities and religions enjoying shisha and traditional Arabic mezae and sweets. In addition to the standard shisha cafes and restaurants around town, many hotels erect special Ramadan tents for the month. The timing of Ramadan is not fixed in terms of the westem calendar, but each year it occurs approximately 11 days earlier than the previous year, with the start date depending on the sighting of the moon. ln 2007. Ramadan began on 13 September so it should be declared around 1 September

200i8. Parks and shops open and close later (many are closed uring the day), entertainment such as live music is stopped and cinemas limit daytime screenings. Eid AI Fitr (Feast of The! Breaking of the Fast) is a three~day celebration and holiday at the end of Ramadan, when the new moon is spotted. It is the year's main religious event, like Diwali for Hindus and Christmas for Christians. Local Cuisine Abu Dhabi's restaurant scene has a truly global flavour, with most of the world's major national cuisines represented, and many of the fast—f0od outlets too. Eating out is very popular, but people tend to go out late so restaurants are often quiet in the early evenings. Modern Arabic cuisine reflects a blend of Moroccan, Tunisian, Iranian and Egyptian cooking styles, but the term usually refers to Lebanese food. From pavement stands serving mouth·watering shawarma (lamb or chicken sliced from a spit) and falafel (mashed and fried chickpea balls) sandwiches to the more elaborate khouzi (whole roast lamb served on a bed of rice, mixed with nuts), it’s all here and it’s all delicious. Arabic Coffee _ Traditional Arabic coffee is served on many occasions

and, it offered , it is gracious to accept because coffee plays a special role as a lroieasas‘ymbolicexpressionofwelcorne.Even thepot itself, with its characteristic shape and iong spout, has come to depict Arab hospitaiity. Freshly ground and fiavoured with cardamom, Arabic coffee comes in tiny cups with no handles. Thecup should be taken with the right hand.'l`he server will Stand by with the-pot and fill the cups when empty. lt's normal taotakeoneortwotimen signaiyouhavehadenoughby shaking the cup gentiy from side to side. Until you shake the cup, the server will continue topping it up! Pork Pork is not part of the Arabic menu and the consumption of it is taboo to a Muslim. Many restaurants don’t serve it, though


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Abu Dhabi History

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