The sea has always provided a valuable source of food for the people of the Emirates. For years, fishing served as a source of economic development. Cities such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai began as small fishing towns and grew into larger trading hubs.
The Emirati were semi-nomadic Bedouin people, living in tented camps. Some tents were very elaborate, with carpets and furniture.
Education and literacy is one of the UAE’s highest priorities. Today, the UAE is transforming K-12 programs and is home to a wide range of universities.
Girls and Education
Girls’ education is a critical goal in the UAE. Female literacy rate is nearly 95 percent and 77 percent of females continue on to higher education from high school.
Henna, a reddish dye obtained from powdered leaves, is widely used to stain the hands and feet for weddings and other special occasions.
The camel is integral to UAE history and culture. Originally nomadic Bedouins, the Emirati people relied on camels as their source of food and transport in the deserts. Camel racing is a beloved sport in the UAE.
The sport of falconry, the use of trained birds for the pursuit of game, is a traditional pastime still practiced today.
During celebrations, Emirati men perform traditional dances, based on re-enactments of battles fought or successful hunting expeditions.
Rhythmic chanting and waving of camel sticks by groups of men are features of local celebrations. Here the stick dancers practice.
During celebrations, the brightly dressed women perform the na’ashat dance, where they whip their hair in circles.
Traditional drums are also used in national festivities.
Most of the surface of the UAE is desert, stretching from the Arabian Gulf coast south to the uninhabited sands of the Empty Quarter, and east to the gravel plains bordering the Hajar Mountains. The sands overlie the thick, oil-rich sedimentary strata of the Arabian Platform.
Traditional and Modern
The UAE is characterized as mixing the traditional with the modern.
Women customarily adorned themselves with gold and silver necklaces, forehead decorations, earrings, bracelets, anklets, and rings for fingers, noses and even toes.