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All About the Arab Cultural Norms & Customs in the Country of UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a melting pot of Arabian, Islamic, and Persian cultures, boasts a rich heritage and diverse traditions that have left an indelible mark on its seven emirates. From distinct social protocols to incredible architecture and from religion to art and cuisine, the Arab cultural norms and customs in the UAE offer a unique and fascinating glimpse into the country’s identity. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the captivating cultural aspects that define the essence of the UAE.

1. Greetings and Social Protocols

Emiratis follow distinct and peculiar ways of greeting each other, which reflect their strong sense of hospitality and respect. Among men, the traditional Emirati kiss, known as “Khusmak,” involves a gentle touch of the nose. A warm embrace between individuals of the same gender and a steady handshake using the right hand are also common greetings. However, it’s essential to note that due to religious adherence, greetings such as handshakes or hugs between individuals of the opposite gender are often avoided. In such cases, a brief nod with a hand placed on the heart and a warm smile serves as an alternative greeting.

Moreover, certain acts, such as taking pictures of people, especially women, without permission, staring or complimenting women, criticizing Islam, or displaying public affection, are considered offensive and may even lead to legal repercussions.

2. Customs and Traditions

The Emiratis proudly practice various customs and traditions unique to their culture. Arab coffee served in Dallah – the Arabic coffee pot- embodies hospitality and respect. Accepting this traditional coffee when offered is considered polite and appreciative. Falconry, deeply rooted in Bedouin culture, is another revered tradition in the UAE. Falcons, symbolizing bravery and elegance, are cherished, and the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital offers an enchanting experience for visitors interested in this ancient art.

Marriage holds immense significance in Emirati society, and the customs surrounding it are both elaborate and sacred. Marriage within the same kinship is encouraged, while marriages outside are generally frowned upon. The Laylat Al Henna, or Henna night, is a beautiful custom reserved for the bride and her close female relatives and friends, where intricate henna designs are applied to their hands as a symbol of celebration and financial prosperity.

3. Incredible Architecture

Influenced by Persian, Arabian, and Islamic architecture, the UAE’s stunning structures pay homage to age-old customs, traditions, and the Emiratis’ rich cultural heritage. Local architects skillfully utilize various materials, considering climatic conditions to ensure sufficient ventilation and privacy. The iconic “Barjeel” or “Windtower,” a typical Iranian architectural element, facilitates natural ventilation and is a testament to the region’s ingenious design.

4. Art, Music, and Dance

The rich cultural tapestry of the UAE is vividly reflected in its art, music, and dance forms. Calligraphy, an exquisite traditional art, transforms Arabic words into mesmerizing visual expressions. Contemporary literature, including “Nabati poetry” and “Spoken poetry,” provides glimpses into the lives and routines of Emiratis over the years.

Music and dance are integral to Emirati celebrations and gatherings, with rhythmic dances like the Stick Dance and Khaleegy embodying traditional values and unity among tribe members. The country has also witnessed performances by renowned international artists, adding a global touch to its vibrant cultural scene.

5. Dressing Style

Islamic teachings of modesty and conservatism heavily influence the Emiratis’ dressing style. Both men and women wear clothing that mostly conceals their bodies. The Abaya, a long black cloak used by women in traditional attire, completely encloses the body, excluding the face, hands, and feet.  It is often paired with the Niqab and Gafaaz for added modesty.

For men, the Kandura, a loose-fitting white robe, is a traditional outfit, typically accompanied by the Ghutrah, a headscarf worn in various styles. The length of the Kandura can often signify the person’s status.

6. Cuisine

The UAE’s diverse cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors and ingredients, featuring spices like dates, cloves, cardamom, and saffron. Traditional dishes like Harees, Kabsa, and Maqluba showcase the country’s rich culinary heritage. Bedouin recipes, such as camel dishes, are reserved for special occasions, exemplifying the Emiratis’ respect for their cultural roots.


A remarkable example of a country embracing both its rich cultural past and the modern world is the United Arab Emirates. Through distinctive social norms, beloved traditions, breathtaking architecture, religious tolerance, and dynamic cultural manifestations, the UAE cultivates a distinctive feeling of identity and solidarity among its citizens. Travel Vlog captures the essence of the UAE’s cultural preservation, offering a captivating glimpse into the allure of this fascinating destination in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula. Join us on a journey to experience the richness of Arab traditions and witness the harmonious blend of old and new in the UAE.

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