Customs and traditions in Dubai reflect the essence of Islam, the primary religion within the UAE. The growth and development in recent years has made Dubai a distinctive blend of old and new. Despite the progression of Dubai, this city successfully maintains its heritage and culture, traditions and customs.
Some Dubai customs and traditions include:
• In Dubai, when hosts greet visitors, courtesy is a vital trait that should be followed by both parties. Local Emiratis greet each other by touching their noses together.
• Eid ul-Fitr is an annual festival celebrated in Dubai immediately after the month-long fasting for Ramadan. During the festival, families and friends get together every evening to celebrate with each other with enormous feasts that can take hours and hours to prepare for.
• Weddings in Dubai entail sophisticated preparations, especially for the brides side of the family. From the day the wedding ceremony is announced, only the bride’s close family members are permitted to see her for forty days till the day of the marriage ceremony. The custom is to wash the bride’s hair with amber and jasmine extracts leading up to the day of the marriage ceremony. Ahead of the wedding ceremony, the “ladies only night” or Laylat Al Henna is celebrated wherever the fingers and feet from the bride and is also elaborately adorned with henna. Preparation for the groom pales compared to what the bride is required to do.
• Emiratis do not drink alcohol in accordance with their Muslim religion; however, Dubai does cater for the international expat community in that most hotels in Dubai do serve alcohol. It is important to note though that alcohol is prohibited to be drunk in public.
• Shisha pipes are the local water pipes that locals delight in smoking in selected cafes and dining establishments. A variety of flavored tobacco such as strawberry and apple is used in these pipes.
• In Dubai, men wear a dishdash or khandura, a white shirt gown as well as a red checkered or white head gown acknowledged as gutra. Classic dress for females consists of a long black robe known as an abaya that goes over the top of their normal apparel. In public, local women are required to wear a headscarf.
Dubai is very tolerant to the international community and is very much an open society. The growth and development of Dubai in recent years has resulted in a huge number of inbound Expatriates from other countries. The m ix of cultures from people from so many different nationalities has been welcomed by local “Emiratis” on the whole. In return, it is very important that residents from other cultures respect the local culture, traditions and customs of this country.