Libyans see themselves as members of a larger Arab community. The fact that Arabic is the state’s sole official language adds to this. The regime prohibited the teaching of previously taught foreign languages in academic institutions, as well as the usage of the Berber language, leaving whole generations of Libyans with little English understanding. Despite the fact that the dialect and language are Arabic, there are certain terms from the Italian colonial period that are still commonly used today.
Libyan Arabs have a history steeped in the traditions of the formerly nomadic Bedouin and Amazighi tribes, and most Libyans would identify with a specific surname derived from tribal or conquest-based ancestors, usually Ottoman.
The state of Libya just made it to the top 20 on the global giving index in 2013, reflecting the “nature of giving” (Arabic: Ihsan) among the Libyan people as well as the feeling of hospitality. According to CAF, almost three-quarters (72%) of all Libyans assisted someone they didn’t know in a normal month, the third highest rate among the 135 nations studied.
Due to decades of cultural persecution during the Qaddafi government and a lack of infrastructural development under the dictatorship, there are few theaters or art galleries. For many years, there were no public theaters and just a few foreign-language theatres. Folk culture is still alive and well in Libya, with troupes performing music and dance at festivals both at home and abroad.
Political analysis, Islamic issues, and cultural phenomena are all covered by a wide number of Libyan television channels. A number of television channels broadcast traditional Libyan music in different forms. In Ghadames and the surrounding areas, Tuareg music and dancing are quite popular. Libyan television transmits mostly Arabic-language programming, with time periods reserved for English and French programming. Libya’s media was the most closely regulated in the Arab world under the dictatorship, according to a 1996 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Due to the fall of the previous regime’s censorship and the emergence of “free media,” hundreds of TV stations have started to broadcast as of 2012.
Many Libyans visit the country’s beaches and ancient sites, particularly Leptis Magna, which is generally regarded as one of the best-preserved Roman archaeological sites in the world. Although many individuals commute by car, the bus is the most popular mode of public transportation between cities. Libya currently lacks railway services, although they are expected to be built in the near future.
Tripoli, Libya’s capital, is home to many museums and archives. The Government Library, Ethnographic Museum, Archaeological Museum, National Archives, Epigraphy Museum, and Islamic Museum are among them. The Red Castle Museum, constructed in collaboration with UNESCO and situated near the shore and directly in the city center of the capital, may be the country’s most renowned.
Libyan cuisine is a vivacious mix of Italian, Bedouin, and traditional Arab culinary influences. In the western part of Libya, pasta is the mainstay, while rice is the mainstay in the eastern part.
Several variations of red (tomato) sauce based pasta dishes (similar to the Italian Sugo all’arrabbiata dish); rice, usually served with lamb or chicken (typically stewed, fried, grilled, or boiled in-sauce); and couscous, which is steam cooked while held over boiling red (tomato) sauce and meat (sometimes also containing courgettes/zucchini and chickpeas).
Bazeen, a barley flour meal served with red tomato sauce, is traditionally served communally, with many people sharing the same plate, which is typically done by hand. This is a meal that is often served during traditional weddings or celebrations. Asida is a sweet variant of Bazeen that is baked with white flour and served with a honey, ghee, or butter mixture. Rub (fresh date syrup) with olive oil is another popular method to serve Asida. Usban is stuffed animal tripe with rice and veggies and served in a tomato-based broth or steamed. Shurba is a red tomato-based soup that is typically served with tiny pasta grains.
Khubs bi’ tun, literally “bread with tuna fish,” is a popular Libyan snack that consists of a baked baguette or pita bread filled with tuna fish that has been combined with harissa (chili sauce) and olive oil. These sandwiches are prepared by a variety of snack sellers across Libya. International food is available at Libyan restaurants, as well as more traditional dishes like as lamb, poultry, vegetable stew, potatoes, and macaroni. Many underdeveloped regions and small towns lack restaurants due to a severe lack of infrastructure, and grocery stores may be the sole source of food items. Alcohol use is prohibited across the nation.
Traditional Libyan cuisine consists of four major ingredients: olives (and olive oil), dates, cereals, and milk. Bread, cakes, soups, and bazeen are all made using roasted, ground, and sieved grains. Dates are collected, dried, and eaten raw, as a syrup, or gently fried and served with bsisa and milk. Libyans often drink black tea after meals. This is usually done a second time (for the second glass of tea), and the third round of tea is served with shay bi’l-luz (roasted peanuts or almonds) (mixed with the tea in the same glass).