In the past, Emirati traditions spelled into two dominant groups: seafaring pearl divers or fishers and desert-dwelling nomads known as Bedouins. So, most of the nations, we meet today, belong to these two groups. Before 1960, the only settlement was villages and small towns. They have now established a modern multicultural society at the core of UEA with Emirati traditions.
At present, we know UEA as the melting spot of multiculturalism with over 200 nationalities. It has become difficult to figure out the bonafide Emirate traditions Because of overmuch emigration, many communities, and premix traditions. In this essay, I have discovered and compared some Emirati traditions of the past and present through the interview with my old member of the family, which may help us comprehensively understand the culture and society.
I have come to know through my grandmother that Emirati clothing has evolved but not wholly as certain aspects of clothing still mirror the traditional outfits of the times of Bedouin and fishers’ ancestors. They wore full sleeves and long hemlines mindfully to cover skin from the harsh desert height of the sun. Because of the uncooperative climates, they had to use loose cuts clothes as a traditional dress for Emirati men and women. So, traditional Emirati clothes were less functional and more comfortable with combined Islamic values practiced in the region.
Even today, most Emirati women wear Abayas and men wear long white traditional clothing called Kandura or Dishdasha. This dress symbolized the traditional clothing of Emarti as well as the Arab world’s Islamic values. Abayas suites with headscarves called Shells. Some modern and fashion lovers Emarti girls like wear designer headscarves to cover their heads. Covering the head is a traditional style that has been carried until now by Emarti women. Similarly, women also cover their faces with a piece of cloth commonly known as Niqāb. On the other side, men like to wear Kanduru usually with the white color because Bedouins preferred to wear white to reflect the sun’s rays.
Weddings in the past and now
In the past, marriage was performed according to the Bedouin’s religious point of view. When I ask my grandfather about the Traditional wedding in Emeriti traditional, he informed me that Sharia Law confirmed the traditional wedding styles. Marriage was not merely between the two people man and woman but they carry and fix the things between the two families. He further told that the Wedding preparations usually lasted at least seven days and performs simply at home. They didn’t waste a lot of money on the name of weddings as today happens; even the food was made at home. The bride and groom were not allowed to meet each other before the post-wedding dwelling.
In the present, the wedding has heavily evolved. Most of the things are stilled hold to traditions but with new additions by Weston cautions influence and globalization as we have discussed the impact of globalization. Now the bride and groom are free to see each other. In the engagement ceremony, the bride and groom place rings on each other’s hands. In contrast to traditional marriage, they waste a lot of money on marriage preparation and like to do a big wedding ceremony at hotels.
Traditional Emirati food
Historically, in the meat, they usually used camel and goat meat and fish from the Arabian sea. In their diet, they included complex carbohydrates to get energy for long journeys. Using Indian species like saffron, cardamom, turmeric, and cinnamon was also introduced by Emirati traders and merchants, as they were used to traveling in India for the purpose of trading. The use date is also considered traditional by Emirati. Now, the young generations have made fast food their paradise such as shawarma; now it has become their most desired food as a snack or for refreshment.
The role of Religion in the past and now
Before in the past, religion, and Islam dominates all aspects of Emirati people’s life such as matters relating to marriage, inheritance, economics, divorce, politics, and personal conduct. But now although they are still connected to religious activities the dominations cannot be seen and the practice of religion is also not as it was before. It seems the youth of the Emirati wants more freedom.
Emirati traditional Language
In the past, Arabic was the only language spoken in the whole Emirati region. The people of the Emirati were proud of their language; although this language still dominates in the different regions other languages also exist such as English. In the UEA, English is used in trade schools and colleges.
So, after this interview, I have come to know that the Emirati traditions were both rich and interesting in the past, but instant changes in traditions are also noticeable. Modern technology has transformed the overall lifestyles of people and structures of places. Now they have wide roads, a variety of shopping areas, and a well-structured separated housing area. Emirati traditions were a dominant event until a few decades ago, this era consisted of vast pieces of deserts but after the time of oil discovery, it has changed culturally as well as geographically.
Abed, Ibrahem (2001). United Arab Emirates: A New Perspective. p. 114.