When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Hebrew was decreed as one of its two official languages (the other one, Arabic, being the language of the Arab Palestinians who remained in Israel). In this way, Muslims have maintained the holy text’s resonant eloquence and assured themselves that no part of the Quran has been altered (a huge concern for Muslims). Jews returning to Israel in the 20th century spoke Yiddish, Ladino, Arabic, as well as the many languages of their countries of origin. Arabs are individuals who speak Arabic as a native tongue. Travel Tip: Ditch those Western ways! •“Duty”-Validate family’s role as caregiver. Tu… In the Middle East, for instance, getting a cup of coffee (or tea) is a significant part of each day, with cultural and social importance. He added that he was sorry for the delay, but said, “I thought you were Punjabi.”. You may actually be surprised that street crime is much lower in the Middle East than the towns and cities back home (punishment and discipline is far stricter in all levels of society) but it always pays to look after your valuables carefully. For single women travelling alone, it is suggested to bring a ring that looks like a wedding band, and possibly a picture of any man that you can refer proudly to as “my husband”. This includes Collectivist vs. Individualistic … The literary language of pre-Islamic poetry, the Quran, and classical Arabic literature has survived today in a version called Modern Standard Arabic, or fusha. The headscarf option may be of more use in the more rural areas as city women tend to dress far more “western”.  This is true for cities such as Marrakech, Istanbul, Damascus, Beirut where the rules about head scarves are much more relaxed – however, ALL mosques require you to be respectful and cover yourselves before entering. I was wearing Pakistani clothes, including a tope, a Pakistani hat. If you try to say “no-I-know-you-made-it-yourself-it’s-very-nice-I-just-don’t-want-any-I-already-have-seen-that-crap-in-dozens-of-other-shops-I’m-not-buying-any.” in your rapid-fire speaking voice and alien accent, they might not understand, and it seems rude, as if you’re making fun of them. Box 7152, Berkeley, California 94707. Middle Easterners often greet each other with a number of ritual phrases and fixed responses. While it’s considered impolite to make out in … . Related and sometimes useful is a bag of small cheap plastic hair barrettes to hand out to little girls – comes in handy when you want to take pictures. Yiddish vs. Hebrew: What’s the Difference? •“In-Group”-Make statements that show an appreciation of the culture, “Tell me about your culture, I love learning about other cultures”. Our M.A. In the ancient African culture, some of the people associated mountains, trees, or hills to their Gods and their cultural practices. Most Muslims grow up speaking any number of languages other than Arabic. Arabs are located in 22 principle countriessituated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Man is dependent on the fate as determined by God and is powerless in controlling many of life’s events. degree in Middle Eastern Cultures and Religions is an interdisciplinary program that combines studies in religion, language, history, and social sciences, and provides students opportunities for field education. Many of these characteristics and customs apply as much today as they did in ancient times, while other traditions have died out. Because Muhammad handed down the Quran in Arabic, you can only appreciate the resonant eloquence of the Quran when you recite it. Therefore, reading for prestige (or blessing) takes precedence over reading for meaning. Making Enemies: Egging on bartering shop keepers, ranting in English, taking unrequested photos of people, especially the Bedouin. While religion is a strong common denominator, adherence … Eastern philosophy, art, literature, and other traditions, are often found throughout the region in places of high importance, such as popular culture, architecture and traditional literature. While Islam is the predominant religion, other religious groups are accepted and treated with respect.Most Arabs believe that most of life’s events are controlled and orchestrated by God. In Iran, most Muslims speak Persian; in Afghanistan, Pushtu, Dari (a dialect of Persian), or Uzbek; in Pakistan, perhaps Sindhi, Baluchi, or Punjabi; in India, Hindi, Kashmiri, or Urdu; in Bangladesh, Bengali. In 1988, this author went to a small Afghan hospital in Peshawar to visit one of my Afghan students who’d developed typhoid fever. A guide to Moroccan eating and hospitality. In particular, Orientalist painting, depicting more specifically "the Middle East", was one of the many specialisms of 19th … Dietary law: Rules And Customs In World Religions; Health and Disease. However, intensive efforts were made to teach all of them Hebrew, and the revival of the language became complete. The history, culture, religion, and tradition have played a huge role in defining the cuisine of this vast landmass. Watch what the local women wear and your trip will go a bit smoother. The primary religions of the region are Islam, Judaism and Christianity. There may be good reasons these days to avoid looking like you’re from America. Contact: Paula Rainey, President. What is Middle Eastern culture? Modern Standard Arabic is used primarily for official speeches, television newscasts, newspapers and magazines, books, and so forth. You can pretty much answer any question you don’t want to answer with “Inshallah!” It’s a great phrase – sort of like “we’ll see, sort of, I don’t know, maybe, probably not!”. When we get to Modern Hebrew, the whole theory falls completely apart because the native speakers of Hebrew are Jews, (primarily Israeli Jews). CUSTOMS & CULTURES IN THE MIDDLE EAST MIDDLE EAST The Arab world consists of about 20 countries stretching from Mauritania in the west to Oman in the East. God called Abraham from Ur and made a unique covenant with him. Lebanese culture is one of the most diverse cultures in the Arab region. There are several characteristics of culture impacting the interactions between Middle Eastern and Western peoples. The Middle East contains a multitude of societies with different traditions regarding etiquette. Given Arabic’s special status in Islamic tradition, the consensus among Muslims is that any translation of the Quran into another language dilutes the meaning and full impact of the Quran’s message, not to mention the loss of resonant eloquence that you can only attain in Arabic. Arabs were around long before … Also a large number of Afghans speak a dialect of Persian they usually call Dari. [5] In some areas, Islamic rules have affected certain cultural values. there are substantial numbers of Jews and Christians who also live in these countries Family plays an extremely important role in Eastern society. Bedouin men seem not to care and will usually pose handsomely, but ask anyway. Family is extremely important to Middle Eastern cultures and usually extends to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This question is a good place to start. Giving a gift to a stranger’s child will not have the same negative connotations as in the West. In fact, even today a superb Quranic recitation can drive Muslims to tears. Don’t offer a lengthy explanation in your native language of why you don’t want the thing, simply say “No, thank you”, preferably in Arabic (“La, shokran”), firmly but strongly and walk away briskly. They’re just trying to make a living to feed themselves and their family. Middle Eastern Culture & Cuisine Religious Customs. After I finally succeeded in getting the reserved Pashtun gatekeeper to talk about his family, tea, upcoming Ramadan holiday, and other small talk, he asked me where I was from. Traditional Storytelling in Asia and the Middle East. How to Dress: Modestly for men (i.e no shorts) and for women, a headscarf is an essential and absolutely no bare arms or bare legs. Eastern world refers to countries in Asia and Middle East. People in the East are rigid in their ideologies and beliefs; they are often reluctant to challenge an… In 1988, this author went to a small Afghan hospital in Peshawar … You get the picture. When visiting a Mosque or a holy shrine, as a woman or a non-Muslim you are required to wear a headscarf, no exceptions, but you’ll win points if you put it on automatically for respect. Afghan, on the other hand, is a term generally used to refer to any ethnic group in Afghanistan, although some use it to refer specifically to Pashtuns. The revival of spoken Hebrew is due in great part to Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who emigrated from Russia to Palestine in 1881, and promoted the use of Hebrew in everyday life. The Middle East is actually a transcontinental region that centers on western Asia, Egypt, and Turkey. Not all Iranians are Persian though. Family. Arabic describes the language they speak, whereas Arab refers to the people. Learn a few useful and polite phrases in Arabic and you’ll soon be making friends with the warmest and most welcoming people in the world. Arabs tend to “talk around the point”, while Americans and Europeans are more direct. Stay away from crowds and never get involved in the local demonstrations.  Steer clear of heavily guarded American embassies, except if you’re going in to register, and always steer clear of military-looking areas. Arabs are part of an ethnic group, not a religion. As a result, religious affiliation is essential to every… Fewer than half the world’s Muslims are Arabs. The Middle East, as defined above, encompasses four distinct culture areas: Arab, Turkish, Iranian, and the newly evolved Israeli culture. The Middle East is a region that includes eighteen nations and is home to at least twelve languages. A great tension exists between different ethnic groups in the Middle East. “Here, please have one. Do not, under any circumstances, take pictures of obvious military or governmental staff, or heavily guarded buildings.  You have been warned! In art history, literature and cultural studies, Orientalism is the imitation or depiction of aspects in the Eastern world.These depictions are usually done by writers, designers, and artists from the West. Storytelling traditions vary all over the world, yet have many things in common. The spread of Buddhism and Hindu Yoga is partly responsible for this. For travel in Middle Eastern countries, taking a lightweight  headscarf is highly recommend for women. Of course, it’s your preference, but if you want to travel as unobtrusively and respectfully as possible, dress modestly in these countries. For these reasons, the prestige of Arabic and oral recitation have remained an essential component of Islamic tradition. The high antiquity of civilization in the Middle East is largely due to the existence of convenient land bridges and easy sea lanes passable in summer or … To avoid being a target for pickpockets, walk confidently at all times, even if you’re totally lost and terrified, pretend you’re not. In fact, before the late 19th century, almost no one grew up speaking Hebrew at home. The country has a rich culture which is mainly borrowed from different groups of people who lived in the region in the past. In both cases, we refer to those people as Tajiks. Many Muslims believe that reading the Quran in translation to understand it is less of a blessing than reading it in the original Arabic, even if you can’t understand the meaning. These specialists memorize the Quran by heart, recite it, and pass it on orally to others. Countries of the Middle East – a link to a list of 11 countries. The Middle Eastern Health Inequality Paradox and the Gender Obesity Gap (2018) Middle Eastern Geography and Culture Essay How does geography affect culture? If you plan to travel to this regio… Always ask permission first. Ancient Middle East, history of the region from prehistoric times to the rise of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and other areas.. Evolution of Middle Eastern civilizations. Racial and ethnic harmony varies from peaceful in Syria to contentious in Israel. Don’t bring too many tank tops or short sleeved shirts or shorts, even in summer (Capri pants can be okay in the more moderate Arab states). The you-are-what-you-speakparadigm works pretty well for Berbers (speaking Berber), Pashtuns (speaking Pashtu), Panjabis (speaking Panjabi), Uzbeks (speaking Uzbek), Kurds (speaking Kurdish) and so on. No matter what your personal feelings about this custom are, it saves you a lot of staring and unwanted attention from grinning teens to hassle from grown men.  More importantly however, it’s more respectful of the culture. A little politeness and a smattering of a few Arabic words will earn you dividends one hundred-fold when encountering the local people in any of the Arab lands. Fertility of agriculture, of edible animals, and of the human population was a paramount factor in the life and religion of the ancient Middle East. The book will be useful for teachers and students, … Small talk and ritual greetings is normal. But the pattern begins to break down with Persian. MIDDLE EASTERN CULTUREs AND RELIGIONS About the Program What You Will Learn. World Bank data for 2017 estimated the population of the Arab world at 414.5 million. In some major cities, such as Beirut, Tel Aviv or Dubai, you will likely see locals and tourists... Hospitality Is Key. By Craig S. Davis. Many Bedouins in Morocco believe taking a photo image of them steals their soul – it’s serious stuff in their culture. Bedouins like this young man wearing a fez are traditionally renowned for their hospitality . Particularly … Najda: Women Concerned About the Middle East. The major countries of this region are Lebanon, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, and Cyprus. Dress and Act Modestly. When I announced to the Pashtun chokidar (gatekeeper) in my flawed Urdu of my intentions to visit a patient, he abruptly informed me in his equally flawed Urdu that visiting hours were three hours off. This article on ethnicity is designed not to express the scope of tension between ethnic groups across the region (an endless topic touched upon throughout the historical sections), but rather to help explain the importance of language and its link to ethnicity. Strong religion beliefs often govern family life and their way of life. For example, many countries in the Middle East still have arranged marriages and require that women cover their head and/or face to varying degrees. Many souvenir hawkers seem to know many languages, but often they only known a few appropriate phrases or attention getting questions in that language, and that’s where their knowledge ends. Most of these s… So for instance, you can say an Arabic (language) newspaper, but Arab food or Arab customs. Prophetic and ṢūfÄ« healing traditions continue to flourish in many parts of the Middle East, particularly in the countries of North Africa. Make sure you keep any expensive cameras in cases and preferably out of view in a bag or rucksack, or at least carried towards your body rather than in view of wandering hands on the street. Within that area is a diverse group of people bound together primarily by language and religion. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs Travel advice, warnings and resources for all American travellers. Each section describes the staple foods, meal patterns, cooking techniques, and food-related customs and traditions. 3. In the Middle East, “ Islam stresses the idea of a public morality, which is to be enforced collectively”. Today, the cultures of the world can be divided into two main parts such as the Eastern and Western culture. Use the right hand to eat, touch and present gifts. If a women is wearing a headscarf or is Bedouin (recognisable by facial tattoos), better to not take her picture at all. This formal Arabic is in many ways an artificial language because almost no one really grows up speaking Modern Standard Arabic at home (although most Arabs try to convince you their dialect is closest to fusha). The term Persian generally refers to an Iranian who speaks the Persian language, also known as Farsi. This section is an attempt to gather information on customs of the oral tradition world-wide. British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel advice for British citizens including travel warnings. While generalizations of Middle Eastern culture are readily apparent, some variation and extremes are found within the geographical area known as the Middle East. Watch how the locals dress, greet each other and follow suit. Maybe you think of the Golden Age of Islamic civilization, or of hummus and falafel, but, in fact, there is a great diversity of the cultural production of the Middle East today. . Sometimes, offering a cigarette to a persistent male will give you time for a graceful exit. Today you can find children all across the non-Arab Muslim World reading and reciting the Quran in an almost flawless Arabic under the patient guidance of a mullah (who has normally donated his time) even though these young children don’t have a clue what they’re saying. The people in eastern countries are more traditional than people in the West when we consider their rituals, customs, clothing, etc. Because I’d walked about 45 minutes to get there, I decided to squat down beside the chokidar, wait, and practice my Urdu on him. Greetings and Conversations. 1. Steer clear of travel mishaps and social gaffs when on the road to Damascus (or anywhere else in the Middle East) with our handy travel guide to the customs and cultures of the region. “No, thank you.” said firmly and clearly is better and will let them exit to find another victim. The use of Hebrew became a defining trait of Zionism, and Jewish youngsters in Eastern Europe studied Hebrew when preparing to immigrate to Palestine. If you don’t have children and they ask “when?” or “why not?” and you don’t want to get into a lengthy discussion of whatever reason you have, just look slightly wistful and say “Inshallah.” which means “god willing (I’ll have children one day).” which gives you a friendly, graceful exit. Guide Written by Erika Linden Green-Rafeh. Thousands of Muslim pilgrims make ziyārāt, or visits, to saints' shrines, some large, some small, dotting the urban and rural landscapes of countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt but also in Middle Eastern countries outside the Arab world, including Turkey and Iran. For this reason, you could say you are what you speak. In South Asia, for example, Pashtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis, Hazaras, Tajiks, and other groups are in constant conflict. The culture of a community or a nation depends upon the surroundings, the values and beliefs that they are brought up upon. If the Moroccan farmer and Lebanese farmer have graduated high school, they’re likely well versed in fusha and could communicate with one another, read the newspaper, and comprehend television newscasts from other Arab countries. Religion: The major religion of North Africa and the Middle East is Islam and there are substantial numbers of Jews and Christians who also live in these countries. However, Iran and Turkey, which many people consider Arab nations, are not part of this group because they speak Farsi or Turkish. If people don’t look like they’re eating snacks or drinking coffee while walking in the street, you shouldn’t either. Avoid Public Displays Of Affection. Even more diverse than the different English dialects spoken in Australia, Ireland, England, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, Arabic has a vast array of dialects so distinct that an uneducated farmer from Morocco likely couldn’t communicate with an illiterate farmer from Lebanon. 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