The United Arab Emirates is home to one of the most diverse cultures in the world. In this country, which is made up of seven different emirates, people from almost every corner of the globe have come to reside. So much so that, as of 2018, roughly 84% of all residents are not native Emiratis. As such, there’s a very distinct culture present within the UAE as a result. To learn more about what makes Emirati culture unique and how it has been influenced by other cultures around the world, keep reading our brief guide.
The culture of the United Arab Emirates is a unique blend of the country’s seven unique emirates. While each emirate has its own specific cultural elements, the majority of people living in the UAE are immigrants from other parts of the world. As such, the cultural elements of the Emirati people have been heavily influenced from the outside. While most people generally associate the UAE with Dubai, the culture in Abu Dhabi is actually quite different. This is why Abu Dhabi has its own space in this list.
While the UAE is technically part of the Arab world, it is more heavily influenced by Western culture than other Arab countries. In fact, Arabic is not even one of the country’s official languages. It is only spoken in one emirate, Dubai. Instead, the UAE’s official languages are English, Malay, and Persian. Also, Emiratis do not follow the culture of other Arab nations when it comes to the importance of religion. While Islam is the official religion of the UAE, it is far less strict than in other Arab countries. This is illustrated in several ways, including the fact that alcohol is available in public places.
Like in most cultures, family is incredibly important to Emiratis. In fact, the UAE’s family-friendly policies are what has contributed to the country having one of the world’s highest rates of immigration. Food is also a very important part of Emirati culture. Flavours from all over the world are present in the UAE’s dishes, and Emirati cuisine is a reflection of the country’s diversity.
Art in the UAE has a long tradition, dating back to the country’s use as a trading post. Over the years, the art of the UAE has been heavily influenced by the cultures of the people living in the Emirates. In fact, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open in the capital city of Abu Dhabi in 2019. The country’s art scene also features theatre, which is very popular among the Emirati people. Theatre used to be very popular in the UAE, but it has recently taken a back seat in favour of film and TV.
While Arabic is spoken in the UAE, English is the official language. As such, it is the language of business and education in the country. And although Arabic is not an official language of the UAE, the country’s citizens do have the option to study the language. All citizens are expected to study Arabic in school, but the government does not require people who do not want to pursue a career in which Arabic is important to become fluent in the language. Likewise, Persian is not an official language of the UAE, but it is spoken in the country by the Emirati people living in the emirate of Sharjah.
The culture of the United Arab Emirates is a mix of the cultures of the seven different emirates. While each emirate has its own distinct cultural elements, the majority of people residing in the UAE are immigrants from other parts of the world. As such, their cultural elements have been heavily influenced by the outside. Art, music, and theatre have a long tradition in the UAE, dating back to the country’s use as a trading post. Likewise, the UAE’s language and employment conforms to that of the rest of the world. Art, music, and theatre are all extremely popular in the UAE, and the country has its own distinct culture.