Yemen Lifestyle and Culture

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Compared to other Arab nations, Yemen is the least affected by globalization. If one seeks to experience a pure Arabic culture, the country can't be beaten linguistically, culturally, and religiously. Following is some essential information about Yemen. Yemenis are simple and warm people that have a nice way of introducing themselves to foreigners!

The country is a culturally-rich country, with most of its influences coming from the Sheba inhabitants as well as from early Islam. The music and dance in the nation also stem from these times though today's Yemen traditions were primarily founded by the Yemenite Jews. The influences dig as far as during these times!

The country is connected to some of the world’s oldest civilizations, with the Semites of South Arabia being the first civilization to inhabit the region from the 3rd millennium BC to the 8th century BC. But the country’s history dates back before this to the 23rd century BCE, when it was filled by the Qahtani Yemeni tribe of Jurhum.

The Semites remained dominant until 800 BCE when the Sabaens dominated what was then called ‘Arabia Felix’. The Sabaens made Ma’rib their capital, where they built the Dam of Ma’rib. There were three kingdoms here during Sabaen rule; the Kingdom of Ma’in, the Kingdom of Himyar, and the Kingdom of Aksum.

The Yemenite Jews left a strong influence on the music in the country, with many Yemenite Jews becoming music gurus. Yemenite music was traditionally performed in the home while under the influence of qat, a psychoactive stimulant leaf with mild euphoric effects. This form of music is called homayni and it can still be heard in the capital today.

The Ottoman Empire left its mark on the local food, with the Yemeni cuisine being most connected to this empire as opposed to the typical Middle Eastern cuisine that is popular in the rest of the Arabian Peninsula. Soccer here is extremely popular, with the Yemen national football team competing in top leagues such as FIFA and AFC.

The country shares in many of the customs and lifeways that are found in other parts of the Arab world. Culture is extensively patriarchal, and households usually consist of an extended family living in a single domicile or family residence. The head of the family is the eldest male across the Yemenite society, who makes all significant decisions for the family and its members.

There are quite a several Yemen holidays throughout the year, many of which are major attractions for foreigners. Many of the most popular festivals here take place in the summer, including the colorful month-long Sana’a Summer Festival. The Al-Baldah Tourist Festival is another popular festival which is held in Mukalla City each year around August.

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