Saudi Arabia 101


We had a chance to visit with Soltan Aljorais in Toronto, who was kind enough to explain what we can expect when in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi culture is defined by its Islamic heritage, historical role as an ancient trade center, and its Bedouin traditions. Regarding traditions, the holy month of Ramadan and the Hajj (pilgrimage) season, are the highlights, and Ramadan, where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, ends with the Eid-Al-Fitr holiday, where it’s traditional to visit and give gifts to children.

The national dance is the Ardha, an ancient tradition from the central area known as the Najd. The Ardha was performed before battle, and involves singing, dancing with swords and poetry. This dance is part of one of Saudi Arabia’s famous cultural events, the Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival.

Sports and recreation may include horse and camel racing, falconry,    soccer and golf.

Common food dishes will include lamb, chicken, yogurt, potatoes and dates. Shararma and Falafel are two common dishes. Coffee is extremely important, and serving coffee (gahwa) is a sign of hospitality and generosity. You’ll find both typical Arabian marketplaces as well as western-style grocery stores.

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