about saudi

Ethnicity . Religion . language

Ethnicity

Nearly the entire population of Saudi Arabia is ethnically Arab. This ethnicity though is a general term for the people from the Arabian Peninsula and their descendants and in Saudi Arabia this consists of numerous groups. The core of the word and the original bearers of the title "Arab" are the Bedouin people, a term that today generally only refers to the nomadic Arabs, but genetically the Bedouin and Arabs of Saudi Arabia are nearly identical, although every part of the country has various genetic variations and introductions. There is also a significant African and Asian minority in Saudi Arabia, primarily Muslims.

Religion

As the center of the Muslim world, it is not a surprise that Muslim is the official religion of Saudi Arabia and all citizens must be Muslim. Although foreigners may live in the country temporarily, if a non-Muslim dies in the country, their body must be removed for burial. By law, every citizen of Saudi Arabia is Muslim.

language

Arabic is the only official language in Saudi Arabia; this language is written in the Arabic script distantly related to Hebrew. English is the most commonly taught second language in the country and nearly everyone with a college education speaks at least minimal English as it is considered the most important language in many international industries

Geography

Saudi Arabia occupies four-fifths of the Arabian peninsula. It is bordered to the northwest by Jordan, to the north by Iraq and Kuwait, to the east by the Gulf of Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and to the south by Yemen. To the west lies the Red Sea. Along the Red Sea coast is a narrow coastal strip (Tihama) which becomes relatively hotter and more humid towards the south and has areas of extensive tidal flats and lava fields. Behind this coastal plain is a series of plateaux reaching up to 2,000m (6,560ft). The southern part of this range, Asir, has some peaks of over 3,000m (9,840ft). North of these mountains, in the far north, is An Nafud, a sand sea, and further south the landscape rises to Najd, a semi-desert area scattered with oases. Still further south the land falls away, levelling out to unremitting desert, the uninhabited 'Empty Quarter' or Rub al Khali. Along the Gulf coast is a low fertile plain giving way to limestone ridges inland.

Climate

Saudi Arabia has a desert climate. In seaside Jeddah it is warm for most of the year, though winter is probably the most pleasant time for a visit. Riyadh, which is inland, is hotter in summer and colder in winter, when occasional heavy rainstorms occur. Early spring and late autumn are lovely times to visit this desert capital. The Rub al Khali, or Empty Quarter, seldom receives rain, making Saudi Arabia one of the driest countries in the world.

Currency

Saudi Riyal is the only official Saudi Arabia currency that is in operation within the kingdom. The currency structure of Saudi Arabia shows that each Saudi Riyal has been divided into one hundred Halalah.

The currency format of Saudi Arabia resembles the Indian currency in its structure, where 1 Riyal equals 100 Halalahs. The Riyals are actually bills and are obtained in bill notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. The Halalahs are coins, which are found in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100. Saudi Arabia currency has been maintaining a fixed exchange rate with the US currency since the July of 1986. At present SR3.75 equals $1.00 of the US.

Currency exchange within the Saudi Arabian kingdom is not much of a problem because, exchange counters can be found at all commercial banks across the country. Most of the established credit and debit cards are accepted within the Saudi Arabian economy. However, it is always advisable that foreigners carry adequate exchange money in Saudi Riyals so as to avoid additional exchange rates. Currency of all foreign nations can be freely imported into and exported from Saudi Arabia, but Israeli currency is prohibited in the country.

Saudi Arabia Society and Culture

The Saudi Arabia society and culture is dominated by the values of Islam and it is a culturally rich country. The customs and beliefs of the Saudi Arabia society and culture are dominated by the Wahhabism sect of Muslims. The most prominent basis of distinction in Saudi Arabian society is based on natives and migrant population. Though the Arabian society welcomes and accepts people from other countries, yet the immigration factor does affect the social interaction and marriage issues.

Islam is the dominant religion of the Saudi Arabian people and about 95% of them are Sunni Muslims. The architectural buildings in the country also have an influence of Islam and Saudi Arabia is the home of the two most pious Muslim pilgrimages, Mecca and Medina. Even the art of calligraphy has a distinct impact of Islam as most of the patterns follow the style depicted in Quran. The major festival in Saudi Arabia is the Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, which is organized twice a year and provides a glimpse into the rich past of the country.

Saudi Arabian men and women have a preference for traditional clothes over Western styles of dress. Jewelry is not only a means of decorating oneself but also as a symbol of social and economic status. Folk music is very popular among people. Most of the dishes are non-vegetarian and very spicy.

The society and culture of Saudi Arabia has a uniqueness of its own which makes Saudi Arabia stand apart in the Muslim world.

Traditional Dances

The most traditional of dances performed in Saudi Arabia is the Al Ardha which is also known as the Sword Dance. Al Ardha is in fact the countrys national dance and naturally will be performed by men. Every national day and at very special occasions the Al Ardha dance will be performed and at those same special occasions, even King Abdullah will participate in the dance. It is a national dance that the majority of Saudi men know how to perform learning at a very young age.


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