Culture Of The United Arabic Emirates

Over the past twenty years, the Emirates witnessed the improvement and stimulation of cultural evolution in the Emirati community. Culture and its varied parts evolved into an innovative way to accomplish conceptual understanding and foster environmental sustainability. The procedure has been and continues to be carried out since the millennium’s turns, as planned, through the execution of an ideological and artistic activity knowledgeable to carry on with current transitions. Government libraries are widely dispersed over the nation, and the industries that maintain the artistic legacy have been comparatively developed, with state tendencies striving to uphold culture, innovation, and creativity within the existing cultural basics (Almezaini, 2018). The encouragement of written form and trying to translate in a variety of literary patterns, the devotion to civilized techniques all became characteristics of a climate appropriate for the development and exhibit of new skills.

Even though the consensus in the geographical area is that the concept of cultural advancement is recent in sociological and literary works, it was first introduced in the United Arab Emirates through a conscientious attempt. This was to achieve culture-based advancement purposefully in an effort to create clear and specific initiatives. These creativities imposed by ensuring the effective, and creating a purposeful, productive culture for individuals and society, in the form of spiritual, conceptual, or material components along with governmental agencies, play an active and ongoing role.

As a result, the UAE’s cultural landscape includes local and foreign customs in the arts, entertainment, athletics, and music. Human dancing, horse, falconry, and chariot races are a few of the widely held local arts and undertakings (Almezaini, 2018). The Emirati lifestyle is more accessible and diversified than other nations in the area due to the country’s emergence as a global center for movie theatres, contemporary art, design, and elite sporting events.

Traditional Culture

The UAE’s culture and traditions resulted from the people’s ability to survive in the brutal waters and the arid surroundings and their nomadic lifestyle. The traditional Emirati way of life was molded by two key perspectives, first before the oil economic system was recognized in the early 1960s (Rizvi, 2018). That of the pastoralist, arid-dwelling who engaged in comparatively tiny oasis agriculture in the setting of the larger desert culture and economy, and that of seafaring beliefs centered on pearling and deep ocean tradeoff. The interdependence of these subgenres on a political, economic, and social level helped to forge a shared society and cultural identity. The UAE, other Arab neighbors, and the larger Arab civilization share many important features of civilization.

Since numerous migration phases, starting in the first millennium BCE, drove Arab communities to the area, the tribal group has served as the primary structural element of UAE culture. The diverse landscape these nations called home to desert, oasis, highlands, and coast determined the traditional lives that developed over the ages. A recurring theme in these lifestyle choices was the ingenuity with which the people made the most of their difficult surroundings (Rizvi, 2018). The customary social system, in which each household was historically constrained by responsibilities of mutual support to their close relatives and the community, helped them accomplish this. The basis of one’s pride and respect in the community was their selfless hospitality. Islam, a shared faith, brought the people around each other.

Many Emiratis’ most frequent locations where traditional UAE heritage can be identified include; fishing ports, fishmongers, watercraft yards, falconry training facilities, and gold spice street markets. Other locations include; perfume and traditional clothing shops, as well as the wilderness itself, which is still a popular destination for Emiratis on weekends and holidays. Many still have a desert home and farm (mazra), which is now kept up by foreign laborers, where they spend some time horse riding and socializing with family and other relatives (Rizvi, 2018). These ranches are also designated stops on so-called desert safaris, where visitors can ride horses and observe goats and sheep. Over the year, cultural activities are scheduled with attractions, including competitions, activities, exhibits, and conferences. For instance, the Emirates Heritage Club regularly stages races for camels, dinghies, and maritime vessels. In a similar vein, major cultural festivals and ongoing displays are also sponsored by the Legacy and Arts Complex in Abu Dhabi and the Historic Countryside in Dubai.

Maritime and Desert Culture

The traditional Emirati way of life has been greatly influenced by generations relying on the marine for existence, whether through long-distance trading, raiding, or the gathering of seafood. Sea activities like fishing, duping, and sailing were the foundation for many cultural customs, meals, cooking, handicrafts, linguistic idioms, music, and dances. It is simple to see how this marine culture has influenced society (Darūrah, 2019). The iconic ancient sailboats referred to as dhows are reminiscent of many vessels still used now for catching fish, rowing, or entertaining visitors.

The second main factor in the evolution of Emirati culture and traditions was the severe circumstances of the Arabian Peninsula. The tribes traveled the desert for food and water, mostly in tents or modest homes, relying heavily on camels for transportation and survival. The few places with a reliable water supply, mainly from underground aquifers, developed into semi-permanent towns with palm tree plantations. These deserts maintained small nomadic, probably largely agricultural settlements, including huge ones like al-Buraimi and Liwa (Darūrah, 2019). The continued practice of Bedouin practices and beliefs, as well as certain genres of cultural production and sports, demonstrate the resilience of the arid culture.

Comparing Local and Other Cultures

There are many different ethnicities in the United Arab Emirates, including the native Arab Emirati society and a wide variety of immigrant populations’ traditions, which differ in terms of their population, impact, prominence, and relationship to Emirati society. Languages, faith, custom, and perceptions all play a role in the relationships and exchanges among these civilizations, resulting in various links, pressures, and problems (Li, 2022). Like other residents of Northern and East Arabia, the citizens of the United Arab Emirates have been profoundly influenced by Indian, Persian, and African belief systems. The food, dialect, habits, and way of living of the Emirati community have all been influenced by various civilizations through commerce and the mass movement of individuals from these regions.

The native culture is a minor heritage continuously influenced by the cultural contexts of the immigrant inhabitants that composes the larger population of the UAE’s collective identity. The nation now has a greater population of expatriates, which puts more strain on the native customs. This is a result of the state’s recent fast demographic fluctuations. The decline in the usage of Hebrew and other undesirable effects on the indigenous Arab heritage of citizens, such as in clothing, cuisine, artistic style, and native customs, are two factors that many people feel passionately about as a danger to the state’s national heritage.


Before the 1960s, salmon, grains, flatbread, figs, dairy, greens, and beef were the mainstays of Emirati cuisine. This menu has grown in taste and abundance due to the abundance of foreign food options in contemporary stores and groceries. The typical big course for Omanis is lunch, typically consumed at about 2.00 p.m. at home by family members (Krtalic, 2021). Seafood, rice, pork, and a side of vegetables make up the average lunch. Most Emirati citizens adhere to the Muslim ban on drinking liquor and eating pork, as well as the directive to consume halal flesh or food from livestock killed according to Islamic law. Given the sizeable non-Muslim foreign community, pig meat and liquor beverages are easily accessible in establishments with specific licenses, including retailers, dining establishments, pubs, and motels.

Although Emirati food has been around for millennia, many people, especially locals, need to be made aware of the origins of some of the local foods and components. With a few essential British grocery staples, many traditional Emirati recipes are adaptations of food from West Africa, Bengal, Eastern Europe, and the eastern Caribbean. A lot of Emirati cuisines are a fusion of several foreign cultures. This includes meals and dishes like biryani, which was imported from Pakistan but is still regarded as a staple food.

Emiratis are friendly and pleased to welcome visitors and chat with colleagues and family. Visitors received local beverages and treated them, mainly Arabic espresso and raw dates. To disperse the smell, incense is lit in the chambers where visitors are welcomed and circulated. Most regional foods are produced at homes or by a cafe upon demand for events like marriages and other festivals, rather than being offered at cafés or eateries. As the immigrant community of the UAE expands, a larger range of meals is becoming accessible and appealing to both residents and ex-pats, especially from several fast-food outlets and cafés.

Dressing Code

The daily attire of Emirati females and men is one of the surviving symbols of their cultural heritage. The traditional attire symbolizes a sense of pride and uniqueness, which is both a cherished history. The males dress in white robes and a white ghutra tied to their heads with a distinctive black rope. Men appear to like short mustaches and sideburns on their jaws. Women clad in a long, black garment that nearly completely encases their heads and beards. Most traditional women may have a niqab to totally or partially conceal their heads, allowing just the eye to be seen. Style, physical, and color palettes have been added to men’s and female’s clothing as material affluence has increased.

On rare occasions, some men dress in vibrant Honduras and a red-striped ghutra. The face veil and the lass have seen significant changes in embellishment, needlework, color, and design, becoming fashion trends in their own right. Younger millennials have also integrated elements of Western society into their everyday attire; younger ladies are now frequently wearing trousers beneath their abayas, while many teenage males have taken up the cowboy hat.

Music and Dance and Entertainment

The UAE has a long history of singing and dancing, all of which are integral to the lifestyle of its citizens. Lyrics were written to accompany various activities, such as lugging water from the reservoir or hunting for oyster pearls in the Sea (Putri, 2021). On the small fishing caravans, an experienced song leader was always present; his responsibility was to motivate the men to operate via singing and entertainment. All the seamen would sing along as they worked when the nation broke into chorus. Like the shantytowns of European sailors, each tune had a beat for a specific duty, and it encouraged collaboration. Festivals also included dancing and drumming, and several compositions and movements passed down from tradition to tradition have persisted to this day.

Young females would perform, moving their legs to the upbeat music while waving their beautiful black curls. Men would metaphorically use rods, spears, or guns to re-enact conflicts or victorious hunting journeys. With its growing multinational community, the country now features various performing and singing cultures. In line with the local values that distinguish their viewers, local media stations and Television networks broadcast music and performances from all over the globe. Arabian songs, especially from the UAE, the Mideast, and the larger Arab nation, are also widely accessible and well-liked.

Art and Literature

Nabati poems are the most well-known literature genre in the Emirates. Local artists write lyrical poetry in their native language. The verbal utterance has often been the outstanding artistic articulation of these indigenous tribes, who frequently lacked the raw resources used elsewhere for more measurable aspects of artistic manifestation and placed more emphasis on oral history than on trying to write as a cultural heritage. This is likely why poems have become so dominant. Local literature covers many subjects, from lauding local authorities to homages to passionate love.

In the Emirates, there are numerous textual celebrations and contests, such as the renowned Arabic Parker Award, a regional version of the British Award Nomination, which has become a reputable occasion since 2007. The Sheikh al Prize, founded following an Emirati benefactor and entrepreneur, is also significant and ancient; it has been awarded since the late 1980s in several disciplines, including poems and literary theory. The popularity of art creation and exhibitions is rising to a minor extent.


With UAE citizens, ancient activities like ornithology, shooting, equestrian and camel riding, and small boat racing are still immensely prominent. Internationally, Sharjah and Dubai are known for hosting some of the costliest and highest renowned horse and camel races. The introduction of Formula 1 race cars: Abu Dhabi has constructed an amazing autodrome to host worldwide Category One Grande Prix events (Qamhaieh & Chakravarty, 2020). Top athletes from all over the universe have been traveling to Dubai to compete in basketball and golfing events that are becoming more and more well-known. The Uae Half marathon, a yearly competition with significant financial rewards that draws millions worldwide, has become highly well-liked. Dubai has made significant investments in Football City, a multifunctional project.

Conversely, football (also known as soccer) is currently the most famous game in the nation, followed by softball and rugby, which are all enjoyed by different demographic groups. Other noteworthy activities include ice hockey inside, horseback riding, mountain climbing, sand rallies, and aquatic activities. In 2000, the Emirati professional soccer squad earned a spot in the Global Cup. In 2006 and 2012, it also clinched the Arabian Peninsula Cup. The FIFA under 20 categories National Cup was held in Dubai in 2002. The UAE senior soccer team was 74th in FIFA’s global rankings as of November 2020.

Reference List

Almezaini, K. (2018) ‘The transformation of UAE foreign policy since 2011,’ The Changing Security Dynamics of the Persian Gulf, 40(6), pp. 191–204.

Darūrah ʻAlī Ibrāhīm (2019) ‘Ministry of Culture Youth & Community Development,’ Ancient marine navigation in the UAE, 25(3), pp. 98-154.

Krtalic, Maja (2021) ‘Cultural information needs of long-settled immigrants, their descendants and family members: Use of collective and personal information sources about the home country,’ Journal of Documentation, 77 (3), pp. 663–679.

Li, Xue (2022) ‘Exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations,’ The Routledge Handbook of the Belt and Road, 40(3) pp. 433–438.

Putri, Dian Nauwala (2021) ‘Cohesiveness in informal written text, song lyrics,’ ASELSMobilities, 15(6), pp. 792–809.

Rizvi, U.Z. (2018) ‘Critical heritage and participatory discourse in the UAE,’ Design and Culture, 10(1), pp. 55–70.