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We are a bit confused about what to wear, having read conflicting advice. Our guide book pretty much says no shorts, long sleeved tops, ladies to cover necks etc, but I have seen plenty of photos of Petra with tourists wearing shorts and tee shirts. I am mindful of not wishing to offend but also don't want to be overdressed.
Any advice would be much appreciated. Your guide book sounds very strict to me, even some Jordanian men wear shorts. The norm for Muslim men is that you cannot show your knees or bellybutton. She will not offend anyone. We're travelling to Jordan as a family next month. Can my children boys, 8 and 10 years wear shorts? Particularly once we leave Amman , I'm assuming the weather will be warm enough for this!
Its really nice and considerate when people take the trouble to enquire about dress codes and conveys a true sense of sensitivity and consideration for others and that's really appreciated! Its actually different in different areas. In conservative East Amman and the Downtown area, where the Citadel and the Roman Theatre are -one would normally wear something less revealing, ie jeans, long pants, long skirt or at least calf length - T shirt, blouse is acceptable - but what is usually good is carry a pashmina scarf which is light and versatile as it can be used as a shawl or stored away when not needed.
In more touristic areas like Dead Sea , Petra, then dress codes are more relaxed. There are varying attitudes to shorts but in general they don't affect the tourists since locals know your culture is different. This is from the Rough Guide to Jordan - "Visiting tourists who wear shorts on the street give roughly the same impression that they would wandering around Bournemouth or Baltimore in their underpants. The author of Rough Guide to Jordan - Matthew Teller, is particularly knowledgable about Jordan, and he refers to the traditional inhabitants who frequently refer to the nape of the neck and other attributes like hair, gait etc in Classical Arabic Poetry and other literature..
Jordan is a traditional country but the Tourist areas see all kinds of dress and are therefore more relaxed in this manner. However, one's dress code if going to a traditional village or religious area would differ considerably than it would for walking around Petra. However, its unlikely during your stay that you will visit such areas so, just bear in mind when you walk around places like Karak , Downtown Amman , even Aqaba. If your dress is flimsy or revealing it will attract unwanted and uncomfortable stares and maybe some comments which you wouldn't understand anyway.
Likewise with shorts, Matthew is right - if you walked around Tafila or Ma'an in a pair of shorts they would'nt be pleased to say the least. A litmus test of whether its acceptable or not is: The beach is something else, shorts totally acceptable. South of the West Bank, Jordan shares a border with Israel. To the north lies Syria, and to the east and south lies Saudi Arabia. Iraq shares a northeastern border with Jordan. Jordan has three distinct zones: Among the 4 million people who live in Jordan, there is an ancient distinction between the people of the desert and the pople of the valley.
The desert people are descended from warlike tribes. The valley people are considered more peaceful and more tolerant of other cultures.
The official and most commonly spoken language of Jordan is Arabic. Many Jordanians also speak English. Other common greetings are as-salam alaykum peace be with you , with the reply of walaykum as-salam and to you peace.
The numbers one to ten in Arabic are: Common names for boys are Talal, Muhammad, and 'Abdullah. Common names for girls are: Fadwa, Leila, Fatima, and Reem. Jordanians are very superstitious people. They are firm believers in fate and omens. When someone is sick or injured, it is believed to be the result of rire jealousy and hassad envy.
To ward off the "evil eye," incense is burned, a lamb is offered to the poor, and a blue medallion is worn around the neck. Jordanian folktales, particularly those of the Bedu Bedouin , often feature themes of honor, generosity, and hospitality, all considered important Arab attributes. One folk story revolves around the legendary Hatim al-Ta'i, whose name means "generosity. She chose to have Hatim, and indeed he proved to be highly generous. When Hatim was sent to take the family's camels to pasture, Hatim proudly returned to tell his dismayed father that he had given away every one of the camels, and that this no doubt would bring fame to the family name.
This story typifies the importance that Jordanians place on generosity. More than 90 percent of Jordanians are Sunni Muslim, the majority sect of Islam. The remaining Jordanians belong to a wide range of Muslim and Christian sects. Islam impacts almost every aspect of the lives of Jordanians. There is no such thing as the "separation of church and state" in an Islamic country such as Jordan.
Religion plays just as large a part in government as it does in the everyday life of Jordanians. Friday is the Islamic day of rest, so most businesses and services are closed on Fridays. The main Muslim holidays include: Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year during which everyone fasts from dawn to dusk; Eid al-Fitr, a three-day festival at the end of Ramadan; the First of Muharram, or the Muslim New Year; Mawoulid An-Nabawi, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday; and Eid al-Isra wa Al-Miraj, a feast celebrating the nocturnal visit of Muhammad to heaven.
Weddings are the most important event in a Jordanian's lifetime. The cost of the celebration is second only to that of buying a home. Guest lists can number anywhere from to 2, people. Births are also joyfully celebrated, with the mother's family providing the child's first wardrobe and furniture. The aza, or "condolence period," following a death is a very important ritual in Jordanian society. It is essential to attend the aza of a neighbor or colleague. It is even required of the relative of a neighbor or colleague of a deceased person.
During the aza, men and women sit in separate rooms in the house of the deceased and drink black, unsweetened Arabic coffee. For forty days after the death, the aza is reopened every Monday and Thursday at the deceased's home. Jordanians wear black for mourning, contrary to the Islamic custom of wearing white or beige during mourning. Jordanians are generally introverted and conservative, yet they are extremely hospitable.
When invited to a Jordanian home, a guest is expected to bring nothing and eat everything. In personal encounters, Jordanians are formal and polite. Before , few houses had piped water. Most houses still simply have home storage tanks and rely on water deliveries by truck. Due to a severe water shortage, rationing is in effect. About 70 percent of Jordanians live in urban areas, most of them in the capital city of Amman considered one of the cleanest and most efficient cities of the Arab world.
Jordan is among the top ten countries of the world in reducing infant mortality, and life expectancies are fairly high: Because of the difficulty in finding employment in Jordan, particularly for skilled workers, many Jordanians go abroad in search of work.
The majority go to the Persian Gulf oil states Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates , whose small populations require them to import laborers from neighboring states. Working in the Gulf allows Jordanians to earn steady incomes, a percentage of which they send to family members in Jordan, thus helping the Jordanian economy.
Traditional values are very important to Jordanians. Marriages usually result from family introductions, if not outright matches. Couples are almost never forced to marry against their will, however. Upper-middle-class couples court each other in the Western style. One out of five marriages ends in divorce, and divorced women rarely remarry because of the stigma attached to them by society.
A married woman's primary role is to produce children, preferably sons. A woman with many sons is considered more powerful than a woman with only daughters. The average Jordanian family has seven children, giving Jordan one of the highest birth rates in the world. Women are guaranteed equal rights in the Jordanian constitution.
Religious laws and social custom often undermine this. However, there are a few women in the Jordanian Parliament, suggesting their improved status. Homes are built so that floors can be added when sons marry. Sons bring their brides home and they raise their family there. Most Jordanians live in three- or fourstory homes containing extended families who eat together. Daughters-in-law are expected to do most of the cooking.
Men never cook or do housework. The Islamic tradition of women covering their faces is currently becoming more popular in Jordan. Everyday Jordanian dress is generally conservative, particularly for women. They are not allowed to wear tight clothes, sleeveless blouses, shorts, short skirts, or low-cut backs on shirts or dresses.
There are basically three styles of clothing for women in Jordan. Westernized women dress in modern Western clothes. Very religious women wear an outfit called the libis shar'i or jilbab. This is a floor-length, long-sleeved, button-front dress worn with the hair covered by a scarf. Stores catering to religious women are common in Jordan. Women from other Muslim countries shop in Jordan for libis shar'i clothing. The third type of attire is the national costume.
This is a handmade dress with embroidered and cross-stitched patterns that represent the region of the country that the wearer comes from. For example, in northern Jordan, women wear black cotton dresses embroidered with multicolored tri-angles. In central Jordan, women wear dresses made from over sixteen yards sixteen meters of fabric, with sleeves measuring ten feet three meters in length.
Blue panels are stitched around the sleeves and the hem of the dress. Jordanian men dress in Western clothing. Some men wear a Jordanian kaffiyyeh, or scarflike headdress. The Jordanian kaffiyyeh is red and white, in contrast to the black and white Palestinian kaffiyyeh. The kaffiyyeh is folded in a triangle and laid over the head.
Jordan has one of the world's most elaborate and sophisticated cuisines, mostly taken from its neighbors. Few dishes are unique to Jordan; one unique dish is mansaf, chunks of stewed lamb in a yogurtbased sauce served with rice. Mansaf, also called fatiyyeh, is the traditional Jordanian meal served for special occasions.
Kishk is required for the preparation of mansaf. Kishk dough is made of yogurt, salt, and semolina flour. The kishk is shaped into pellets or balls that fit into the palm of the hand, and then allowed to dry and harden.
A recipe for mansaf that uses pasta in place of kishk, follows. Jordanians love sweets and eat lots of them. A favorite kind of sweet is layers of a thin pastry called filo , filled with nuts or creams, similar to baklava. Jordan is a very well-educated country. It has the highest number of university graduates per person in the Arab world.
Its main export is skilled labor and professionals to other Arab countries. At 82 percent with a target of 92 percent by the year , Jordan also has one of the highest literacy rates in the Arab world. Education is free and required from grades one through ten, and then it continues to be free for another two years. Literacy training is free to all Jordanian residents.
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