Monday, December 13, 2010

Traditional UAE


Customs and traditions are passed on from parents to children and in the long run they are inherited by generations. The people of UAE are known for their generosity, bravery and friendliness. They have a great legacy which they are still proud of, despite the speedy and tremendous transformation and development that took place in the society. The people of UAE have also adopted some of the various customs and traditions brought into their country by expatriates from all over the world. Although the UAE has become a cosmopolitan society, people still boast of the great heritage of their forefathers. It is the custom of the UAE people to entertain their guests warmly. They usually serve Arabic coffee to their guests as a gesture of respect and warm welcome. It is a symbol of generosity and hospitality. The Arabic coffee is made and served in very special way. Folk dances and other traditional sports are still highly appreciated by many people. Falconry, horseback riding, camel racing, boat racing and rowing are a few examples. Songs praising God are sung on special occasions to promote spiritual feelings and reinforce people's belief. The Prophet's Birthday, the Hijrah New Year and Isra & Meraj are some examples.
National Dress
National costumes of UAE are divided into two main categories: * The costumes which were used very long ago and are now out of fashion. It is not easy to find any of them nowadays. * Old costumes commonly used in the first half of the twentieth century. The present national clothes are a continuation of the old costumes of early Muslims. However, due to the cultural changes that have taken place in all the classes of the society, the national clothes, especially women's clothes, have changed significantly. The following is a brief description of the national clothes of women and men in the UAE. Women's clothes Women's clothes in the UAE look like the usual clothes worn by women all over the Arabian Peninsula. The dress, commonly called "Nafnoof" or "Al Goon" is a long variety that reaches down to the feet. UAE women also wear an embroidered "Kandoorah" whose style varies according to its embroidery, fashion or material. They also usually wear a "Sirwal" under the "Kandoorah". Women cover their head and face with a loose scarf called "Sheelah" or "Waqayah". Sometimes a woman would cover her face with a sort of veil called "Borgo" which is a special piece of cloth tied to the rear of the head and partly covers the face. She usually wears a black mantel to cover the whole dressed body and special shoes or sandals, too. Men's clothes Men all over the country nearly wear the same unified dress called “Kandurah”. Men usually wear as underwear a "Wezar" or "Wezarah" with which they wrap the lower half of their body. The head cover called "Ghottrah" is usually supported by a black or white "Kofiyyah" or "Eqal". Under the "Ghottrah" and the "Eqal", men usually wear a loose sleeveless cloak or mantle called "Bisht" or "Abayah". Men of all classes wear sandals on most occasions. 
Popular Arts
The UAE in general and Ras Al Khaimah in particular is well known for its folklore, folk music, folk dance and other traditional and popular art forms which embody and reflect the social, ethical and aesthetic values of the community. Traditional dances for example are meaningful movements played rhythmically to symbolize the common ideas and likes of a certain community. Al Wahabiyyah It is one of the oldest art forms of Ras Al Khaimah and is performed only here. The songs during this performance are divided into three sections. Drum players stand between two rows of performers comprising the band. One of the performers begins by reciting a line of poetry. He repeats it a number of times until the other performers have memorized it. Then he recites another line of poetry from the same poem. The first line is a start and the second is the astinato or pedal. The two rows of dancers rhythmically move forward and backward, a row bows and drummers keep drawing nearer to it for 10 minutes while moving their heads. The opposite row repeats the some movements as the drummers draw nearer to them as well. Dancers with swords and guns add charm to the show. This folkdance is usually performed on special occasions, feast days and at wedding parties.
National Food
The UAE kitchen is known for its delicious dishes and recipes passed from one generation to another. The following are some the most popular dishes and recipes in the UAE. Khammer (Leavened) Bread It is made of a flour paste mixed with water and dates. The mixture is left for a whole night. In the morning it is cut into round pieces. They are then spread into loaves and baked one by one on a "Tabi" which is either a pot or a frying pan made of iron. A mixture of water and eggs is put on each loaf to improve the flavour. Regag (Wafer-thin) Bread It is the most common sort of bread in the United Arab Emirates. A fairly soft paste is manually cut into pieces and spread into a frying pan or pot (Tabi). It is left on fire until the bread gets dry. The loaf is taken out of the Tabi with an iron or copper handle called Mehmas. Regag bread is usually eaten with butter and sugar. It can also be made into porridge or gruel. Chabab Bread It is made of a fine paste that can be scooped with a can and poured on a "Tabi" placed on a light fire. The paste should be spread before it gets dry. It should be turned upside down to get it evenly dried. Butter and sugar are put on the loaf to improve the flavour. Al Harees It is a very popular dish that undergoes a complicated process of preparation. It is costly as well. Al Harees is usually associated with wedding parties, special occasions and along with special meals during the Holy month of Ramadan. Al Harees is made up of ground wheat and meat. In the past, people used to sing a folksong called Allayah while grinding flour for the dish. Meat should first be washed and then mixed with ground wheat, boiling water and some salt. The mixture is kept boiling on fire until it is well cooked. Then it is poured into a special pot with a small neck called Berma and is placed into a hole for about six hours. The pot is then taken out and the mixture is stirred again. Finally some butter is added to the dish before it is served
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