BAHRAIN TRAVEL GUIDE
Traditions & Customs in Bahrain
Bahrain is a welcoming host country, however you must always show respect and politeness in regard to your cultural traditions and religion. When visiting areas frequented by local Arabs, it is preferable to wear long trousers rather than shorts, and ladies should avoid wearing transparent dresses.
Swimsuits, bikinis, and shorts are acceptable attire at beach clubs and hotels. In public, do not display indications of love towards individuals of the opposing sex. People of the opposite sex have been arrested for kissing in public, and they are socially unacceptable. Always avoid getting into a fight and never engage in a debate, particularly with a local.
The official religion of the kingdom is Islam. It is followed by more than 70% of the population. Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus comprise for the remaining portion. A small fraction of inhabitants do not claim any religious affiliation. The Church and state are not separate. Sharia (Islamic law) applies in this case. The concept of religious liberty is enshrined in the Constitution. It is a fact. No religious persecution exists here. Representatives of various religions are permitted to freely observe their rites and celebrate holidays.
The Muslim community is heterogeneous. Sunni Muslims see Bedouins as their forebears. Shiites are descended from the Prophet, according to their beliefs. The majority of Shiites belong to the Baharna ethnic and religious community. They are traditional and pious. Sunnis and Shiites establish separate communities. Their legal conflicts are resolved by separate court authorities.
The social position of women in Bahrain is superior to the majority of Arab nations. Here, women can work. They constitute almost one-third of the country’s labor force. They have access to education and healthcare. Approximately 60% of women hold a college degree. There are many women in business. Women are still underrepresented in politics. They are absent from government authority. There are no official laws that violate the rights of women. However, the regulation conflicts with Sharia law, which mandates that women cover their faces and bodies. Most ladies wear a chador that does not cover their faces. The niqab totally conceals the face of women from more traditional families. Foreign ladies are tolerated by the natives. However, you should cover your shoulders and legs. Additionally, there are requirements for foreign guys. It is prohibited to appear in public wearing shorts and athletic attire.
This democracy is the result of Bahrain’s quickly rising economy, which attracts a large number of foreigners. Bahrain is the most liberated of Muslim nations. Residents of other Arab countries frequently vacation here. The country sells and consumes alcohol. During the holy month of Ramadan, moral standards become tighter. At this time, believers are fasting. Muslims are prohibited from eating and drinking during daylight hours throughout this period.
Religion has an impact on etiquette. The left hand is traditionally considered filthy because it is used for personal hygiene. It is acceptable to accept food and money, but only with the right hand. When entering a house or mosque, shoes must be removed. You cannot point your feet at the interlocutor, stare intently into the interlocutor’s eyes, eat while walking, or gesticulate actively during a conversation.
Family is of paramount importance to the country’s citizens. Women marry very young, beginning at 14 years of age. Men marry between 20 and 22 years of age. It is common practice to ransom brides. Polygamy is permissible under Sharia law. But each wife should have her own comfortable residence. Also, there are transitory marriages (muta). They are exclusively accepted by Shiites. A reward is given to the woman at the conclusion of such a marriage. Formally, a woman’s rights are equivalent to those of an ordinary wife. Her offspring are likewise regarded as legitimate. She qualifies for a mahr (gift from her husband). The duration of the marriage can be prolonged an indefinite number of times. A lady must take a gap before remarrying after a failed marriage. This gap is required to rule out the possibility of pregnancy. During this four-to-twenty-week hiatus, the husband continues to assist the wife.
Following the country’s independence in 1971, Bahrain’s culture began to flourish significantly. In addition to the development of traditional art, modern art is also growing. Impressionism, expressionism, and surrealism are gaining in popularity. Frequent exhibitions of modern art are organized. Several museums and galleries are utilized for this purpose. The traditional arts of Arabic calligraphy, ceramics, jewelry, and blacksmithing are noteworthy. Also beginning to develop rapidly at the end of the 20th century was literature. Strong Western influence is inherent in it. Bahrain, unlike other Islamic nations, has a large number of women poets who publish their works.
Arabic, Indian, and Persian music impacted Bahrain’s traditional music. The most popular styles are Saut, Fijri, and Liwa. Bahraini citizens have long been involved in pearl mining. Pearl divers developed their own culture, including music. Fijri is the music of pearl divers. It is important to note that there are coastal songs and sea songs. Liwa is the music of African people. Arabic music known as saut is performed on oud, percussion instrument, and rebab. Modern music exists as well. There are bands that play rock music. Bahrain also contains recording studios. Cinema is not illegal. But local movies are practically never made.