Culture Traditions In Saudi Arabia Literature Reviews Example

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Internet, Muslim, Islam, Family, Kingdom, House

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/06


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was funded in 1933 by Abdulaziz Al Saud. In a few short decades, the Kingdom has turned itself from a desert nation to one of the most important countries around the world. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays an important role in the world economy these days. Different countries around the world have different set of beliefs, norms, cultures, practices. The behavior of people tends to be shaped by these factors. Many people from all the world view Saudi Arabia as this mysterious land of desert and camels, oil and Usama Bin Laden. However, both parties are mistaken. There is much, much more about this country, and unfortunately it is one of the most stereotyped places on this planet. These are not fluent phrases. A lot of researchers and scientists have argued on this topic. There are a lot of articles published and put in the Internet. Special attention is paid to the attitude of the Americans to the Muslim world, for example the article by Richardson, John E.( Richardson) or various articles and interviews on Making Contact International Internet resource (Presumed Guilty).

The complex of customs and traditions in the Saudi Arabia is very complicated and multifarious. Arabic families are still very big. They consist of different generations who live together or within one population aggregate. The head of the family is the eldest man of the kin who is afterwards succeeded by his sons in order of seniority. At least one son in the family has to stay in his family house to take care of his parents even if he is married. A daughter lives with her parents till marriage, then she comes to her husband’s house. A lot of families still arrange marriages but nowadays most young people chose their beloved themselves. However they sign a traditional agreement, an analog of a marital agreement, which is a stable rule of local civil law (Weekend shift). According to Islamic laws a man can have several wives if he is capable to provide proper living conditions for each of them. Still these proper conditions are not mentioned anywhere except for a marital agreement, that’s why in modern Arabic society most men have only one spouse (House, Karen Elliott).
Speaking about clothes inhabitants of Saudi Arabia stick to century-long Islamic canons. Traditional clothing includes long loose robes called Thawbs, which are made of wool or cotton, Bisht, also a long cloak of white, black or brown color. Bisht is decorated by golden trimming and usually used on special occasions. It is difficult to imagine an Arab without Ghutrah, a traditional male headwear made of a cotton cloth which is wrapped around a head. This item of clothing is usually worn by men in arid parts of the country to protect a head from direct sun rays and a face from the sand and dust. In addition to Ghutrah men wear Agal. This headgear is made of a black cord fastened around keffiyeh in order to keep it on the place. Women dress is called Abaya. It looks like loose black clothing that hides the whole body of a woman except for a head. Though, some of them cover a part of a head as well (Richardson).
Traditional Arabic housing of nomads is big marquees from black wool, settled Arabs live in houses of unburnt bricks. Nowadays they use more modern materials. Although it is normal to demonstrate the level of sufficiency, it is difficult to see a house because of a high fence around it (Rodenbeck).
Guest invitation is a rare phenomenon and a big honor for a guest. The Arabs prefer to meet at cafes or restaurants. Even if a person has received an invitation, he must wait for a confirmation of a host before he enters a house. It can be a gesture of an arm or the word tafaDDal said to a male or tafaDDali to a female. It is preferably to talk on some common themes, excluding business and personal life. The master of the house mandatory lights a censer with labdanum and sets the table for his friend. Their conversation will be accompanied by a cup of coffee and sweets (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Public holidays in Saudi Arabia

The most popular holiday in Saudi Arabia is Eid al-Fitr, also called theSugar Feast, Feast of Breaking the Fast, Bayram, the Lesser Eid and the Sweet Festival. This is an important religious holiday. It is celebrated by Muslims around the world. This festival means the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is the Islamic holy month, the time of fasting. It lasts for the first 3 days of Shawwāl month, the next one after Ramadan. On this day the Muslims carry on a celebration prayer, Eid prayer, congratulate each other with the words “Eid Mubarak” which means “blessed celebration”. The day before and during the day people gather mandatory charity called Zakat al-Fitr that is later given to the community in order to help the poor and wayfarers (Tripp).
Another famous holiday is Eid al-Adha, which means “a festival of a sacrifice”. This holiday was established to commemorate Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his first-born son .He was ready to do it in obedience of an order given by God. It is celebrated 70 days after Bayram and stands for the end of the yearly Hajj to Mecca. All Muslims wear new clothes on this day and traditionally repeat the Takbir while going to the mosque. There Khutbah, a traditional Islamis sermon, is served. It usually begins from apotheosis of Allah and the prophet Muhammad, then the sermon explains the origin of the Hajj holiday and the meaning of sacrifice. An experienced Khatib, a man who delivers this sermon, presents it as rhymed prose. The Muslims usually sacrifice a camel, cow or sheep. Their fell is traditionally given to the mosque, the meat is eaten.
On the 23rd of September the Arabs celebrate the Saudi National Day. The origin of this holiday was the day when the King Abdulaziz announced Saudi Arabia as a kingdom. It happened on 23rd of September 1932. Now it is a holiday of Unification of the Kingdom. In Saudi Arabia it is called Al-Yaom-ul-Watany. During all public holidays it is prohibited to work. Private institution employees also have a day-off (Tripp).

Works Cited

Hilton, James L. (1996) Annual Review of Psychology: Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Ahmad, Hayat. "Saudis Still Stereotyped in the West." Arab News. 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <>.
Babwin, Don. "Chicago Homicides Down Drastically In 2013 To Fewest Murders Since 1965, Police Say." The Huffington Post. 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.>.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica Online: Saudi Arabia". 28 April 2011.Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <>
House, Karen Elliott (2012). On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future. Knopf.
Lacey, Robert (2009). Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia. Viking. p.267. Print.
Presumed Guilty: American Muslim and Arabs. Presumed Guilty: American Muslims and Arabs. Making Contact. 22 Mar. 2011. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <>.
Primo, Valentina. "7 Successful Saudi Women That Beat the Stereotype." 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <>.
Richardson, John E. (2004) Misrepresenting Islam: the racism and rhetoric of British broadsheet newspapers. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Rodenbeck, Max "Unloved in Arabia (Book Review)".The New York Review of Books. 21 Oct. 2004. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <>
"Saudi Arabia, a kingdom divided." The Nation. 22 May 2006 Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <,3>
"Shaking Saudi Stereotype."Echo Depiction. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <https://echodepiction.>.
"Stereotype Examples." Your Dictionary. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://examples. yourdictionary. com/stereotype-examples.html>.
"The History of Saudi Arabia." Saudi Embassy. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. <http://www.>.
"The Problem with Negative Stereotypes." Centre for Confidence and Well-being. Web. 30 Jan. 2015. < lives.php?p=cGlkPTE4NQ ==>.
Tripp, Harvey (2003).Culture Shock, Saudi Arabia. Singapore: Portland, Oregon: Times Media Private Limited. Print.
"Weekend shift: A welcome change.", 24 June 2013. Web. 3 Feb. 2015. <>

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