Customs & Traditions

Customs and traditions in Dubai reflect the essence of Islam, the main religion in the UAE. Dubai is a unique mix of traditions and modernity and is an open society. This is one of the main reasons why there is heightened interest shown by the international community towards this Emirate.

Some examples of customs and traditions include:

In Dubai, as hosts greet guests, courtesy is an important trait that must be followed by them. Hosts must greet guests and be polite while speaking to them. Places where visitors are made to sit at homes are known as “majalis”. Dubai homes usually feature two “majalis”, one for receiving male guests and the other for female guests. Eid ul-Fitr is a festival celebrated here after a month long fasting during Ramadan. As this festival is being celebrated, majalis are organized on the basis of age.

As a guest in Dubai, you will be served with aromatic, unsweetened coffee. Another important tradition here is to eat only with the right hand. Guests in the majalis are sprinkled with rose water accompanied by incense burning after the conclusion of the celebration.

Weddings in Dubai entail a lot of advanced preparations, especially for the family of the bride. From the day the wedding date is fixed, only the bride’s family and close relatives are allowed to see her for 40 days until the day of the wedding. The bride is served with the best of foods and taken care of well during this period. The custom is to wash the bride’s hair with amber and jasmine extracts as the day of the wedding nears. Traditional oils and perfumes are used to pamper her body with.

Before the wedding, the “ladies only night” or Laylat Al Henna is celebrated where the hands and feet of the bride and is elaborately decorated with henna. Preparation done by the groom pales in comparison to what the brides do. Continuous singing of traditional songs and dancing takes place as the relatives and family members enjoy the week before the wedding.

Almost all hotels in Dubai serve alcohol however alcohol is forbidden to be served in stand alone restaurants. In keeping with the culture and tradition of this country, drinking alcohol is prohibited in public and it is highly recommended not to get overtly drunk and be a nuisance in public to avoid confrontation with the police.

As depicted in the above Dubai Pictures, Shisha are the traditional colouful water pipes that locals enjoy smoking in cafes and restaurants while they wait for the food. Various flavored tobacco such as strawberry and apple is used in these pipes.

In Dubai, men wear a dishdash or khandura, a white shirt dress of full length along with a red checkered or white head dress known as gutra. Traditional dress for women includes a long black robe called an abaya that covers their normal clothing. While in public, women wear a headscarf.

At least 95% of the local population of Dubai follows Islam and the majority of local citizens speak English and Arabic (the official language of the Emirates). As such, a Dubai tourist will find it relatively easy to communicate. Dubai is also highly tolerant towards communities following other religions. In fact, all local traditions and customs of Dubai reflect the essence of the tolerant culture of the Emirate.