Customs and Traditions of Jordan
Jordan is a Muslim country with its rich history, biblical legends and lost cities. Many traditions and features of the national character are due to religion, although this dependence is not as strong as in many other Islamic states.
Jordanians are friendly and hospitable people. So, it is considered normal to invite a person with whom you have just made an acquaintance to your house, or to come to the aid of a confused foreigner.
The hot climate largely determines the leisurely pace of life of the Jordanians and some of their forgetfulness. An Arab has to be reminded of this or that matter several times, and an order in a restaurant often takes more than an hour to prepare.
Jordan is one of the countries with rather conservative views. This is clearly expressed in relation to the sexes. Women are restricted in their rights, in some cases they are even forbidden to sit next to men, and separate rooms for women are made in Jordanian houses. Women should walk in closed clothes and behave as modestly and restrainedly as possible.
At the same time, the attitude of Jordanian men towards their wives is very careful and zealous, the wife is sacred. So, in men’s conversations, the wife should not be touched upon, except in extreme cases (for example, serious health problems). Jordanians, like most Muslims, are very jealous of their national and religious feelings. In conversations, you need to try your best not to offend them. A special time is fasting in the month of Ramadan, when residents give up almost all worldly pleasures.
The surprise of a European tourist can be caused by the increased emotionality of the inhabitants of the country and the habit of clarifying almost all disputes in a raised voice, with active gestures.
According to Countryaah, the total number of inhabitants of Jordan is about 5.9 million people. The population of the country mainly consists of Arabs (they are 95%). Within them, Jordanian Arabs (35%) and former residents of Palestine (55%) are distinguished, who were forced to move to Jordan and obtain citizenship in it during the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967.
In addition to them, a fairly large number of Chechens, Armenians, Syrians and people from the Caucasus, called “Circassians” or “Sherkasi”, live in the country. You can also meet Jordanians with European origins.
After the war in Iraq that began in 2003, refugees from this country are resettled in Jordan (there are 150-300 thousand of them registered). The number of immigrants from Lebanon is also large, as well as workers, consisting mainly of Egyptian Arabs.
The official language of the nation is Arabic. In the government sphere, in business circles and among educated citizens, English is actively used. It is also well owned by shopkeepers in popular tourist centers, which allows them to bargain freely with European buyers. Characteristically, English is a compulsory subject in Jordanian schools.
A number of educational institutions also teach French. Although it is not mandatory, French is growing in popularity, radio broadcasts are being made in it, and a fairly large French-speaking society is forming in the country.
Almost the entire population of Jordan can be classified as Sunni Muslims, actively preaching Islam. About 6% of the inhabitants are Christians. Within this community, adherents of Orthodox, Catholic Christianity, as well as various areas of Protestantism, stand out. Christians are mostly of Arab origin, although services are conducted in many European languages.
A minority of the inhabitants of Jordan are religious minorities of various kinds: representatives of the Ismailis and supporters of the Baha’i faith.
Tourists should remember a number of rules of conduct, the violation of which can offend the dignity of the Jordanians. For example, in the country it is not customary to abuse alcohol and walk around drunk outside of hotels or bars.
Especially strict orders during the period when Muslims fast. During this time, eating, smoking or drinking alcohol in crowded places is considered indecent and offensive. It is better for tourists to eat in a restaurant in a hotel or in establishments near attractions. Yes, and behavior during the period of fasting should be much more restrained than at other times.
Jordanians greet each other and say goodbye with a handshake. At a meeting, it is supposed to ask questions about current affairs (except for personal life). Greetings are quite long, and interest in health, children of the interlocutor, etc. more ritualistic than sincere.
Tourists should be careful with active gestures in public, as Jordanians can misunderstand some movements. For most gestures, the inhabitants of the country use the right hand, since the left is associated with the concept of “impurity”. So, the food served should be taken only with the right hand and no less than three fingers.
During the meal, the right to take food first is granted to the owner of the house, he also completes the meal. If food falls on the table, it is considered normal to pick it up and eat it. It is better to take food from the tray closest to you. Guests are always offered to drink coffee, it is not supposed to refuse, it will be considered disrespectful. You can’t blow on hot food.
There are quite a few rules in Jordan regarding women. It is better to choose clothes that are loose, covering knees and hands, modest, so as not to cause unnecessary unrest among the local population. It is extremely indecent for a woman to try to sit in the front seat of a car. Also, a woman never touches an unfamiliar man, even when greeting.
It is better not to take risks and not appear on the public beaches of Jordan in full nude, at any time of the day. Nudist beaches are not here and cannot be.
You also need to be careful when taking pictures. Objects of strategic importance, vehicles should not fall into the frame. When photographing people, you must first ask their permission to do so.
National Jordanian holidays
Muslims celebrate their holidays according to the lunar calendar, which is 10-12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. The end of the month of Ramadan and the Feast of the Sacrifice are accompanied by almost a week of general rest, even individual museums are closed.
- January 1 – Christian New Year;
- January 15 – Day of the Tree;
- January 30 – Birthday of King Abdullah II;
- March 22 – Day of the League of Arab States;
- March 25 – Independence Day;
- May 1 – Labor Day;
- May 25 – Independence and Army Day;
- June 9 – the day of ascension to the throne of King Abdullah II;
- November 14 – Birthday of King Hussein;
- December 25 – Catholic Christmas.