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Emirates TravelUAE guide / UAE people & culture

People and culture of UAE

Cultural relations between citizens are extremely important to any society
Most of the landmass in the United Arab Emirates is dry, burning desert. Toward the eastern parts of the UAE, part of the Jabal al Akhdar Mountains. Oil was originally found in the UAE in the 1960s. It can be a politically charged export. Oil ranks first among Arab states’ exports, and the per capita profits have grown substantially. In addition to oil preserves, there are natural gas deposits in the UAE. However, due to the boom in economic growth particularly of Dubai as a travel destination, financial services, business headquarters, and tourism are increasingly important to the economy of the UAE. The traditional occupations were fishing and pearl diving. Foreign workers who are mostly Asian, were originally attracted to the area because of the petroleum boom. They far outnumber the native population, which are Sunni Muslim Arabs. For business purposes, the language used most is Arabic, but English and Farsi are also widely spoken. The ability to make laws is vested in the UAE’s Council, which is composed of seven sheiks. For any legislative action to pass, a majority of five of the sheikhs must agree, and two of those agreeing must be Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Cultural relations between citizens are extremely important to any society. The people inherit cultural and societal norms from their ancestors, many of whom worked very hard for the benefit of future generations in the UAE. A person’s identity is derived from their culture, and from behavior of the society in general. There are also distinctions between different people in the same society. For instance, a society might have people of various races, but they may have different status within the society. The “good” families in a “good” society usually enjoy good cultural experiences in work and life.

Culture is not invented. However, it can be grown gradually by slow and continuous improvement in people’s behaviors. Even within one religion, there can be much that informs culture and society. One example is the Hindu religion, which has the same race, but very different cultures within the race. A Brahmin may have totally different people in his life and experiences the culture in a completely different way than other strata of society. Sometimes other people’s examples shine so brightly that others may hesitate to follow, for fear of failing. There are also poor work cultures, and people from those cultures may be totally unfamiliar with the larger culture. It is possible for even one family to have many different cultural influences.

Suppose one person is considered to have “good” culture. He may have a certain way of talking, and certain mannerisms, in an effort to get along with people. Then again, some family members may be immersed in nothing but “bad” culture, and this cannot be fixed forcefully. It is not possible to teach good culture in a day or two. Culture sometimes comes from interior voices of each human, with the inspiration of “good” or “bad” coming from the heart. This can lead to a good culture for a person. It is a long, slow process for a society to gain a good overall culture. In this world, there are more cultures than can be counted. Major religions like Hindu, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have millions of adherents. Each has people and culture that follows. Each religion has many members who are different from others and sometimes results in an entirely new culture for the society. The new culture makes a difference to the people, who may gain a new religion and a new view of people. The increase in Jainism and Buddhism in Hindu society is an example of the above.

The deeply entrenched Islamic culture of the UAE has done much to preserve the bonds among the UAE and the rest of the Arab world. The government of the UAE is very careful about the preservation of tradition and culture in their country. Some steps toward this are the institution of the culture of Abu Dhabi. Those citizens who are wealthy and considered “cultured,” are a great draw for travelers worldwide. Most citizens in the UAE are Muslims, though there are some Hindu, Christians, Sikh, Parsi, and Buddhist sectors. Because of the strong Muslim majority, the UAE culture is filled with Islamic inheritance and religious rituals. But there are increasing numbers of Europeans in the UAE with schools, restaurants, and culture centers that influence the modern UAE.

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