Try your luck and see if you can spot some Lebanese still wearing this traditional garment: Bangladesh appears somehow to have fallen out of favour as a source of labour with the Saudis. For women, most of whom have their own jobs,   it is routine in fact the only outside activity   to pay visits to each other during the day, though the ban on women driving can make transportation a problem. It is prohibited to commit acts leading to disorder and division, Traditional clothes were once famous for the quality of their fabrics and the beauty of their embroideries, often in black and red.
These are long white, brown or black cloaks trimmed in gold. A man's headdress consists of three things: Not wearing an igal is considered a sign of piety. The gutra is usually made of cotton and traditionally is either all white or a red and white checked. The gutra is worn folded into a triangle and centred on the head. Among young men, since around , Western dress, particularly T-shirts and jeans have become quite common leisure wear, particularly in the Eastern Province.
Employment does not play the same part in native Saudi society as in some others. With enormous petroleum export earnings beginning in the mids the Saudi economy was not dependent on income from productive employment. Economists "estimate only percent" of working-age Saudis "hold jobs or actively seek work,"  and most employed Saudis have less-than-demanding jobs with the government.
One explanation for this culture of leisure is the hot, dry climate of the peninsula which allowed nomadic herding but permitted agriculture only in a small area the southwest corner.
Like other nomadic herders worldwide, the ancestors of most Saudis did not develop the habits so-called "work ethic" , skills, infrastructure, etc. No product-based commercial economy existed until oil" was discovered. Traditionally social life in the kingdom has revolved around the home and family. Saudis regularly visit family members, particularly those of an older generation.
For women, most of whom have their own jobs,   it is routine in fact the only outside activity   to pay visits to each other during the day, though the ban on women driving can make transportation a problem. For men, traditional hours involve a nap in late afternoon, after work if they are employed , and then socializing that begins after maghrib roughly between 5 and 6: Men gather in groups known as shillas or majmu'as of close friends of similar age, background, and occupation.
Men typically relax, gossip, and joke while smoking shisha and playing balot a card game , and have a meal around midnight before returning home. The groups may meet in diwaniyya s in each other's homes or a residence rented for the occasion. Being part of a closed, family-oriented society, Saudis tend to prefer to do business with, socialize with, and communicate with family members rather than outsiders, be they foreigners, or Saudis from other clans. At least in the s, most marriages in Saudi were "consanguineous"—i.
Traditionally men having more than one wife polygyny was "fairly common", but marriage has become increasingly monogamous as income has declined and western ideas of mutual compatibility between husband and wife have taken hold.
Although a Muslim woman is forbidden to marry a non-Muslim man, the reverse is permitted, although non-Muslim women are often strongly encouraged to convert to Islam. There have been many cases of foreign women marrying Arabs and discovering they are unable to endure the restrictions of local culture, deciding to divorce and finding that the Saudi father has custody in his home country.
He can rescind the divorce if this was done in the heat of the moment, but only if the wife agrees and only on three occasions. The husband must maintain a divorced wife and any children from the marriage if the wife is unable to support herself, although she may have trouble receiving timely payments. Girls more often remain with their mother. Despite the liberality of divorce laws, divorce is not commonplace outside of the royal family where it is "endemic".
Divorce for women who have been abandoned by their husbands in Saudi Arabia has been criticized for being slow. For female initiated divorce in Saudi, a wife must go to a court for the case to be heard.
The divorce wife is typically required to financially compensate their husbands for the mahr and any marriage gifts, no matter how long they were married. Saudi is one of ten countries where homosexuality is punishable by death the punishment of stoning to death may be applied to married men who've engaged in homosexual acts or any non-Muslim married or unmarried who commits sexual acts with a Muslim,  as well as fines, flogging , prison time, on first offense.
As in other Arab and especially Gulf countries , Saudi customs include avoiding certain practices, such as:. Observers have noted the importance of custom and tradition in Saudi society.
Folk beliefs such as "which foot to step first into the bathroom with, or urinating on the wheel of a new car to ward off the evil eye," hold an important place. Older brothers—even if older by only a few days—should have their hand kissed by younger brothers, sit above them on formal occasions, enter a room before them.
Women who go on even short trips of a few days are expected to visit senior relatives and even close neighbors to bid them goodbye, and upon returning, make another round of visits to the same individuals to pay her respects and dispense small gifts.
One observer has noted that "through their love of language, Saudis are swayed more by words rather than ideas and more by ideas than facts. Many outsiders are struck by the superficial resemblance of Saudi cities at least those on the coast such as Jeddah -- with their superhighways, shopping malls and fast food—to those of post-World War II western cities and suburbs.
As late as , most Saudis lived a subsistence life in the rural provinces, but the kingdom has urbanized rapidly in the last half of the 20th century. Like many people throughout the world, many Saudis derive "much pleasure and pride" in their homes. Saudis enjoy decorating rooms of their homes in "all the colours of the spectrum" and display objets d'art of many different styles together. Foreigners may also be struck by the lack of finishing touches in construction "Electrical switches may protrude from the wall supported only by their wiring" or maintenance "Piles of masonry are likely to lie scattered beside and on the streets of expensive suburbs".
Saudi Arabia, and specifically the Hejaz , as the cradle of Islam, has many of the most significant historic Muslim sites, including the two holiest sites of Mecca and Medina. However, Saudi Wahhabism doctrine is hostile to any reverence given to historical or religious places of significance for fear that it may give rise to 'shirk' that is, idolatry.
Demolished structures include the mosque originally built by Muhammad's daughter Fatima , and other mosques founded by Abu Bakr Muhammad's father-in-law and the first Caliph , Umar the second Caliph , Ali Muhammad's son-in-law and the fourth Caliph , and Salman al-Farsi another of Muhammad's companions.
While women were forbidden to drive motor vehicles until 24 June  and were consequently limited in mobility, they traditionally have often had considerable informal power in the home. According to journalist Judith Miller, "some Saudi women were veritable tyrants in their own homes.
They decided where their children would go to school, when and whom they would marry, whether their husbands would accept new jobs, with whom the family socialized, and where the family would live and spend vacations. They promoted their friends' husbands, sons and relatives to key jobs. Outside the home, a number of Saudi women have risen to the top of some professions or otherwise achieved prominence; for example, Dr.
Ghada Al-Mutairi heads a medical research center in California  and Dr. As of , child marriage is still legal    but no longer common,   with the average age at first marriage among Saudi females being 25 years old. While the status of women in the kingdom is "a very noble and lofty one", according to leading Islamic scholars, it does not include equal rights with men.
Under Saudi law, every adult female must have a male relative as her "guardian",  whose permission she is required to have in order to travel, study, or work. In the courts, the testimony of one man equals that of two women in family and inheritance law. According to a leading Saudi feminist and journalist, Wajeha al-Huwaider , "Saudi women are weak, no matter how high their status, even the 'pampered' ones among them, because they have no law to protect them from attack by anyone.
Saudi women's lives are also shaped by Wahhabi religious policy of strict gender segregation. In health, obesity is a problem among middle and upper class Saudi women, who have domestic servants to do traditional work and have limited ability to leave their house. In the public sphere restaurants have specially designated family sections women are required to use.
They are also required to wear an abaya and at the very least cover their hair. Like many Muslim countries of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has a high population growth rate and high percentage of its population under 30 years of age, Estimates of the young population of Saudi Arabia vary. Factors—such as the decline in per capita income from the failure of oil revenue to keep up with population growth, exposure to youth lifestyles of the outside world, lack of access to quality education and employment opportunity, change in child rearing practices and attitudes towards the ruling royal family—indicate their lives and level of satisfaction will be different than the generation before them.
In recent decades, child rearing in Saudi Arabia has increasingly been handled by hired servants. Consequently, according to at least one observer John R. Bradley , they both "lack the authority Unlike their parents, who grew up during the oil boom of the s and saw their standard of living rise from poverty to affluence, Saudis born "in the s and s have no memory of the impoverished Arabia prior to the oil boom and thus express almost no sense of appreciation.
Instead, they have experienced a kingdom of poor schools, overcrowded universities, and declining job opportunities.. Moreover, their royal rulers' profligate and often non-Islamic lifestyles are increasingly transparent to Saudis and stand in sharp contrast both to Al Saud religious pretensions and to their own declining living standards.
Saudi youth are exposed to youth lifestyles of the outside world via the internet, as cinemas, dating, and concerts are banned in their country. Public fields for soccer are scarce. Even shopping malls do not allow young men unless they are accompanied by a female relative. Nearly two-thirds of university graduates earn degrees in Islamic subjects,  where job prospects are in the public sector, dependent on government revenues.
However, funding for public sector may decline not expand in coming years. At least some experts expect the kingdom's expenditures to "exceed its oil revenues as soon as As a dangerous, illegal and so unregulated activity, crashes and fatalities sometimes occur.
Guest workers range in occupation from high skilled workers employed to jobs Saudis cannot do , to manual service workers doing jobs Saudis "will not do". One source places workers from Gulf oil producing countries at the top,  another places Americans there,  but all agree that Nationals from places like Bangladesh , Yemen and Philippines are at the bottom. With a large number of unemployed Saudis, a growing population and need for government spending but stagnating oil revenues with which to pay foreign workers, the large number of expats has come to be seen as "an enormous problem" that "distorts" the Saudi economy and "keeps young people out of the labour market.
Saudi Arabia expelled , Yemenis in and during the Gulf War due to Yemen's support for Saddam Hussein against Saudi Arabia,  and cut the number of Bangladeshis allowed to enter Saudi in after the Bangladeshi government cracked down on the Islamist Jamaat-e Islami party there.
The Saudi—Yemen barrier was constructed by Saudi Arabia against an influx of illegal immigrants and against the smuggling of drugs and weapons. Treatment of foreign workers is also an issue.
According to Human Rights Watch , as of , there was a "worrying trend" of expatriate domestic workers filing "complaints of exploitation and abuse" only to face counter-allegations by their employers of "theft, witchcraft or adultery.
The Arabian Peninsula has a long tradition of slavery and ethnically, Saudis have a range of skin color "from very light to very dark and features from Caucasian to African", a testimony to ethnicity of the slaves that intermarried over the centuries with natives of the region.
Saudi Arabian cuisine is similar to that of the surrounding countries in the Arabian Peninsula, and has been heavily influenced by Turkish, Persian, and African food. Animals are slaughtered in accordance with halal Islamic dietary laws , which consider pork impure najis and alcohol forbidden haram. As a general rule, Saudis like other Muslims consider impure pork to be disgusting, but forbidden alcohol a temptation. Consequently, dietary laws regarding the former are more strictly observed than those regarding the latter.
According to some observers Harvey Tripp and Peter North , though the kingdom is a "prohibition state", "discreet consumption" of alcohol by foreigners and even by Saudis is tolerated by authorities.
Both home brewed "sidiqui" and black market imports are consumed. Flat, unleavened bread is a staple of virtually every meal, as are dates and fresh fruit. Coffee, served in the Arabic style , is the traditional beverage. The appearance of modern supermarkets and commercial restaurants starting in the s has changed Saudi culinary habits.
International cuisine, particularly fast food, has become popular in all Saudi urban areas i. Coffee is often served "with great ceremony", and it is customary to drink two or three cups to indicate your approval of the coffee.
Cups are refilled unless a gesture—shaking your cup—is made to indicate you've had enough. Educated Saudis are well informed of issues of the Arab world , the Muslim world , and the world at large, but freedom of the press and public expression of opinion are not recognized by the government.
Most Saudi Arabian newspapers are privately owned but subsidized and regulated by the government. Labor unions and political parties are prohibited in the kingdom, although a few underground political parties do exist.
The government has created a national " Consultative Council " which is appointed not elected, and does not pass laws , and has given permission for certain "societies" to exist though they have little ability to influence government policy. Limited non-partisan municipal elections were held in Association football soccer is the national sport in Saudi Arabia. In recent years, some Saudi players have become skilled enough to play in Europe.
Basketball known as soccer is also popular. The Saudi Arabian national basketball team won the bronze medal at the Asian Championship. While spectator sport is popular, participant sport is less so, possibly because of the heat of the climate for most of the year, and the difficulty of playing football and other sports in traditional clothing. A sirwal or pants , izaar or lungi are typically worn underneath.
The word thawb is the standard Arabic word for 'a garment'. It is the traditional Arabian clothing for men. It is sometimes spelled thobe or thaub. It is a tunic, generally long. The word is used specifically for this garment in Arab States of the Persian Gulf and some areas in the south of Egypt. There has been some debate regarding the correct length of the thawb. It is normally made of cotton , but heavier materials such as sheep 's wool can also be used, especially in colder climates in Iraq and Syria.
The style of the thawb varies slightly among the various regions within the Persian Gulf. The sleeves and the collar can be stiffened to give a more formal appearance. Other names may be used for this garment. In the Levant and Oman , dishdasha is the most common word for the garment; in the UAE, the word kandura is used. In Morocco, the sleeves tend to be much shorter so that the thawb may seem more like a long T-shirt and is locally called gandora.
The neck also tends to be more open than in its Saudi counterpart and, along with the breast pocket, is often embroidered. It might also lack buttons altogether. Traditional clothes were once famous for the quality of their fabrics and the beauty of their embroideries, often in black and red. However, they have basically disappeared from the urban areas and are worn in the countryside only on special occasions.
It is dyed black and red and often accompanied by a belt of the same colour. They are long, loose and come in black or neutral colours. Jordanian and Syrian thobes share the same colours: When it comes to the Gulf it is pretty easy to spot its citizens as, differently from most other countries in the region, they have kept wearing their traditional clothes.
Women wear wide, long robes called abayas , usually in association with a shayla hijab that shows some hair and a niqab. Even if the thobes for the men and the abaya for the women may seem the same everywhere in the region, there are actuallysome small details that allow us to understand whether we are talking to a Qatari, a Kuwaiti or an Omani.
Saudi men and women have kept wearing their traditional items of clothing and adherence to the moderate Islamic dress for both sexes is an absolute must.
Most people wear the following:. It has a two buttoned neck, it is tight and made to have cufflinks kabak. Here are the typical Kuwaiti garments:. It is usually used for weddings, traditional dances and so on. This country might not be as big as Saudi Arabia, but it has certainly nothing left to be desired when it comes to history, biodiversity and, of course, clothes. Their traditional clothes are in line with the other Gulf countries, but have some special features which differentiate them.
Worn loose, it lets the head move freely. The UAE has a complex fashion panorama. While Dubai is the most progressive and up to date among the emirates, the other areas are more conservative in terms of clothing. Fashion here has evolved incredibly fast and if in the past sirwal and burqa were a must for women, they have been substituted by the abaya and even the white thobe now comes in a variety of colours. Dubai is the land of fashionable and trendy abayas decorated with sequins, embroideries and ribbons.
Very simply styled and left loose over the shoulders. It is collarless and features a long tassel called tarboosh. Emirati women in Dubai airport. The southern sultanate really cares about the integrity of its national heritage, clothing included. Western style clothes have no space in the country, with the exception of tourists of course. They match it with loose fitting sirwals.
It sports a short tassel, too. Omani family in Nizwa. This country has preserved an extraordinary heritage in terms of history and traditions. Clothes are just one expression of how much Yemenis still follow their customs and their outfits show the region they come from: Still, it is not uncommon for men to wear Western clothes in the cities.
Nowadays, only elderly women wear this colourful piece of cloth which covers them from head to toes. It comes in many different colours. The more valuable ones have been used by the same family for generations. There are also cheaper daggers manufactured in China.
Yemeni woman wearing a Sitara. The style of Sudan is unique and easily recognisable. Sudanese wear many of the garments which are widespread in the rest of the Middle East, but in a brighter and more colourful version which reminds us of other African countries.
While Western clothes are indeed used especially in the cities, some still prefer the loose fitting traditional items. It is wrapped all around the body and the head. It comes in varying patterns and colours, according to the occasion. It is generally donned by older women. They usually add a decorated scarf calledimmah. Clothing in the Middle East is important business, perhaps even more than in the West. Clothes reveal so many things about not only the personality, but also the region and social class of the wearer.
Moreover, the choice of a certain item of clothing assumes a fundamental moral value. For example, some Arabs more or less consciously think that women without hijabs are more open minded, but also have fewer morals, while women with hijab are somewhat more religious and thus respectable.
Thus, clothes in the Middle East are a fashion statement, just like they are in the West, but clothing has a stronger social and moral dimension, too. As we have seen there is an infinite variety of Arab garments and what we have listed represents only a minimum part of it. Clothes remain a fundamental element in the cultural identity of each country in the Middle East.
Some countries have followed Western footsteps in terms of fashion, namely the Levant and North Africa, while others are still holding on tight to their traditional attires like Saudi Arabia or Yemen.
While clothing might seem a superficial matter in Europe and America, this really is not the case in the Middle East. Clothes can give us precious info about the person in front of us while we are doing business or making friends and it is a useful key to understand the spirit of each Arab nation. All images in this post and the quiz are from Flickr and licensed under Creative Commons.
Arab Clothing: The Ultimate Guide The Middle East is a variegated and colourful universe when it comes to clothes and attires for both men and women. It is a complex reality where local traditions and Western fashion mix. of results for "arab clothing for men" Showing selected results. See all results for arab clothing for men. H HrokkMen's Muslim Solid White Business Saudi Arabic Thobe. by H Hrokk. $ - $ $ 25 $ 59 99 Prime. FREE Shipping on eligible orders. Some sizes/colors are Prime eligible. The word thawb is the standard Arabic word for 'a garment'. It is the traditional Arabian clothing for men. It is the traditional Arabian clothing for men. It is sometimes spelled thobe or thaub.