Local Traditions: Embracing Emirati Culture as a Visitor


When visiting a new country, one of the most enriching experiences is immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions. Dubai, with its rich Emirati heritage, offers a unique opportunity to learn about and embrace the local traditions. We will explore some of the key aspects of Emirati culture and provide tips on how visitors can respectfully engage with and appreciate these traditions.

Dress Code and Modesty

Emirati culture is rooted in modesty and respect. When visiting public places, it is important to dress modestly, especially when entering religious sites or cultural landmarks. For women, this means covering the shoulders, wearing skirts or pants that reach below the knees, and avoiding low-cut tops. Men should also dress modestly, with shirts that cover the shoulders and pants that reach below the knees. By following these guidelines, visitors not only show respect for Emirati traditions but also contribute to a harmonious and inclusive environment.

Greeting Customs

Greeting customs play a significant role in Emirati culture. When meeting someone for the first time, it is customary to shake hands and exchange greetings. Men and women may greet each other with a handshake, but it is essential to wait for the woman to initiate the gesture. It is also common for Emiratis to place their right hand on their heart after shaking hands as a sign of sincerity and respect. By observing and participating in these greeting customs, visitors can show appreciation for Emirati traditions and foster positive interactions.

Hospitality and Coffee

Hospitality is deeply ingrained in Emirati culture. Emiratis are renowned for their warm and welcoming nature, and visitors will likely experience this firsthand. When invited into an Emirati home or majlis (guest room), guests are treated with utmost respect and courtesy. Accepting an offer of coffee is an essential part of Emirati hospitality. Emirati coffee, known as gahwa, is a traditional Arabic coffee brewed with cardamom and served in small cups. Visitors should accept the coffee with their right hand, as using the left hand is considered impolite. Participating in these hospitality customs allows visitors to connect with Emiratis on a deeper level and appreciate the significance of relationships in Emirati culture.

Ramadan Customs

Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer, is an integral part of Emirati culture. During this time, it is important for visitors to be respectful and understanding of the fasting practices and customs observed by Emiratis. It is customary to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours. Visitors should also dress modestly and avoid engaging in any behaviors that may be considered disrespectful. By demonstrating cultural sensitivity and awareness during Ramadan, visitors can show their appreciation for this sacred time in Emirati culture.

Local Crafts and Traditions

Exploring and supporting local crafts and traditions is an excellent way to appreciate and preserve Emirati culture. Visitors can visit heritage villages and souks to learn about traditional crafts such as pottery, weaving, and carpet making. They can also purchase souvenirs or gifts made by local artisans, supporting the local economy and promoting the preservation of these traditional crafts. Engaging with Emirati traditions in this way not only allows visitors to learn about the culture but also contributes to the sustainability of these practices for future generations.

Embracing Emirati culture and traditions as a visitor to Dubai is a rewarding and enriching experience. By respecting the dress code, participating in greeting customs, embracing Emirati hospitality, being mindful during Ramadan, and supporting local crafts, visitors can show their appreciation for the local culture and foster meaningful connections with Emiratis. So, on your next visit to Dubai, take the time to explore and embrace the diverse traditions that make this city and its people so unique.

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