Understanding Culture

Discovering More .... Dubai


Understanding Culture

The idea of this section is to explain some of the facets of the Emirati Life - this should help you appreciate your hosts more.

Other aspects of Emirati life can be found in the section on Modern Dubai (underconstruction)


The UAE is an Islamic country, however other religions are allowed to practice. Religion and everyday life are inseparable for devout Muslims. Belief in God governs all aspects of life.


The symbol of the falcon remains a powerful one in the UAE and is the national symbol and heraldic emblem. The falcon represents history and the struggle for survival in the desert. It is still prized by Emiratis and represents a part of their culture that dates back before the coming of oil.




Camels are synonymous with deserts; picture a desert and you also imagine a caravan of camels plodding across it. Without the camel for transport, food and shelter the nomadic people of the desert would have had great difficulty surviving. In the UAE, camels are no longer essential beasts of burden but are valued more as thoroughbred racing animals and reminders of the past. Camels are status symbols, used for transport and carrying heavy loads; they provide milk and meat, and racing camels are beloved animals while also being investments.


The Emirati dress reflects the climate of the  country as well as Arab and Islamic customs. Emirati men usually wear the dishdasha or kandura, while the women mostly wear the abaya. Although you can buy these garments locally, it is best not to wear them in Dubai – if nothing else, you will be expected to speak Arabic if you do.


Poetry plays an important part in the Arab world, with a much higher profile that in the West. It is an important expression of their creativity.


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