Culture and Values





Culture and Values

The Saudi Arabian culture is deep and rich. It is rooted in the traditions of the Arabs and in the religion of Islam. People learn their culture from an early age. The Arabian tradition teaches people to be welcoming. Therefore, it is common for people in Saudi Arabia to welcome family, friends, and strangers in their homes. They receive strangers warmly and they give them food, drink, and accommodation. One cannot say no to a stranger in need. It is not possible to separate the Saudi culture from religion. Islam began in Saudi Arabia and many pilgrims visit the kingdom annually. The Islamic practices and beliefs have informed most aspects of the culture. Religion also dictates people’s diets, art, music, and language. It also informs the manner of dress and socialization.

The Saudi culture places a lot of emphasis on families. In many cases, marriages are arranged between families of the same tribe. People value their families. This includes the nuclear and extended families. A person knows several generations of his family. The extended family is a close part of the immediate family. Helping one another is natural and common. A person cannot suffer when he or she has family members. People are expected to be responsible for their families’ welfare. The issue of family responsibility is very important. Mothers are often considered the main keepers of the home. This is an important responsibility because it means that they are responsible for the welfare of their children and their husbands. They also make all decisions concerning the home. Elders are respected and revered in the Saudi culture. Families are expected to take care of the old people within their midst. They are sought for advice on many issues, especially those concerning the family.

Social contacts and networking are important cultural aspects. They inform business practices in many cases. Close friendships are valued and people are expected to help their friends and associates. People can only do business with those they trust. They will often engage others in personal conversations if they meet them for the first time. A Saudi will be interested to know about a stranger, his family, friends, work, and any other information. This determines whether he or she can trust him.

In some cases, it is not possible to distinguish between the traditional Arabic influences and the Islamic influences in forming the present Saudi culture because the two are connected. Saudis speak Arabic, which is the religion in Islam. They eat a variety of foods provided they are acceptable in the Islamic faith. The main traditional dish is stuffed lamb. This can be accompanied by rice. Unleavened bread is common in every meal. Although pork is forbidden, the people enjoy eating other forms of meat such as chicken, goat, and different varieties of fish. Alcohol is mostly forbidden although some people do consume it. Coffee is the most common beverage. Guests are welcomed with a cup of coffee and they are given dates, which are the most common fruits in the region.

Dressing is very conservative. Women wear long clothes that cover their bodies. The Saudi women do not show any part of their face and they wear a full veil. Any woman visiting the kingdom is expected to ears the same although she does not need to cover her face. Men wear special attire known as thobe. Music and dance are common expressions. Bedouin poetry is one of the oldest in the kingdom. Traditional music is common and popular. It is associated with poetry and is often accompanied by various percussion instruments. Men often engage in a form of dance known as Al Ardha. The main form of art includes visual arts. –

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