Jordanian Culture

Jordanian Culture

The thriving Jordan is more than just its architectural laurels finding life in the legendary Petra and ancient Jerash. Its true character best reflects in the tales of the nomadic Bedouins that still roam in the desert valley and the surprising nods to a centuries-old heritage hidden in the cities.

This is the gateway where the three continents of the ancient world merge. Arabic renovations breathe life into old Bedouin teaching, while the principal values of daily life remain down-to-earth and raw. Hospitality is the most valued custom since the times of the Bedouin. As socially conservative as they are, they always treat travelers with utmost sympathy when it comes to western codes of behavior that don’t necessarily fit Islamic beliefs. The religious and secular can co-exist perfectly in the palette of Jordanian culture.

Jordanian culture

Eating & Drinking

“Not too eventful, but overly fulfilling—Jordanian food culture will remind you of a warm hearth and cozy feelings.”

Jordan’s cuisine is not too different than the rest of the Levant. Legumes, grains, seasonal spices, and meat from local animals are the building blocks of simplistic recipes. Yet, there is something that makes the Jordanian culture of food and drinks absolutely fascinating. It is the unique touch of the pastoral nomadic tribes. From the Nabateans to the Palestinian, myriad Bedouin tribes made their addition to culinary techniques used from Syria to the Red Sea. As a result, satisfaction has become the identifying element of the dishes.

As delicious as they are, hummus and falafel are not the only stars of Jordanian food. Make sure to try less popular but equally tantalizing dishes like Mansaf or Maqluba. They are as local as it gets, having been cooked in tents and homes for centuries. Some Ottoman recipes like Kunafa are also at the forefront of Jordan’s gastronomy scene recently. As for the social aspects of Jordanian culture of food, it is all about gathering and joy. Locals eat from one large plate of whatever food is being served, usually with their hands. Salads, yoghurt, and white flour bread are never missing from the table.

There is nothing like the bittersweet taste of Bedouin tea and coffee drunk at the heart of Jordan, the mystical Petra. Perhaps it is the winding cliffs of the desert valley that gave rise to this cozy tradition. Nowadays, Bedouins serve it not only to warm your insides but also your heart. Tea is a symbol of hospitality in Jordanian culture, so better not to refuse a steaming cup.

Unique Crafts & Shopping

The shopping scene is raw and contained relative to huge traders like Egypt and Morocco, reflecting Jordanian culture in all aspects. Jordan’s most common products are functional everyday items, such as rugs, hand-weaved textiles, and ceramics. In making them, Jordanians have used the offerings of their landscape for centuries. Whatever you will buy is not only a result of organic labor but also a narration of Jordanian culture. Dominant colors are rich brick reds, bright blues, warm oranges, and greens. Bedouin weaves are a delight even to look at, while natural dyes from the Jordan valley make their way onto the stall of contemporary artisans in the city.

Wadi Rum is your ideal place to shop for handcrafted goods made of raw materials. If you wish to get that iconic desert-dweller shot for Instagram, a traditional scarf is an answer. Buy some as presents and wrap one around your head before you begin your jeep safari in the valley. When in Amman, the exciting souq of Rainbow Street will have you wondering which stall to visit first. Souq Jara is the best place to experience the bargaining scene of Jordanian culture. If the prices are too high, head to more out-of-sight bazaars.

Amman has a plethora of metalwork and glass workshops where you can observe the process and get goods for lower amounts. Lastly, a box of Medjool dates is perhaps the most authentic souvenir to take home. After all, it is the Middle East, where dates are a cultural symbol and one of the most commonly produced fruits.

  • Takeaway: Jordanians are not that used to haggling, so don’t bother to start a bargain if you are not determined to buy the product. Patience and kindness is the key while bargaining in Jordan. When buying jewelry, be aware that most of the items are imports from close-by destinations. Still, they make beautiful souvenirs.
Jordanian culture
Jordanian culture

Religion & Etiquette

The dominant religion in Jordan is Islam, with over 90% of the population Sunni Muslims and the rest following Christianity. Islamic values of faith and manner are the main influence in Jordanian daily life. You can easily blend in with society by following simple rules without compromising your individuality. It is good to know that women’s dress code involves clothes that cover most parts of the skin. The same goes for males. For women, hair should also be covered when entering religious sanctuaries. If you decide on keeping your freedom in dress code and manners, be aware that you may receive disapproving commentary, especially in more conservative areas. However, Jordanians are hospitable and kind in general, doing the best they can to make travelers feel at home.

Ramadan is the holy month of Islam in Jordan and is celebrated with utmost attention as in most Muslim countries. You may find that some facilities are closed during specific times of the day, so always check before you go. It is a month when the feelings of unity, faith, and appreciation are most intense. Visiting Jordan during Ramadan will be a truly rewarding experience.

Some common rules of etiquette include asking for permission while taking photos of individuals and religious sites. Jordanians consider it a violation of privacy especially to take pictures of women. Public displays of affection will not be tolerated by most Jordanians. When eating with your hands, use your right hand only. And it is customary to thank the host and God after finishing your meal.

Festivals & Events

“From Islamic holy days in Amman to boundless arts and culture in Aqaba, Jordan’s festivals are so phenomenal that they will lift your spirits in no time.”

Islamic celebrations and religious festivals are the core of Jordanian culture as a predominantly Muslim country. Ramadan is arguably the most glorious, with the month-long ritual of fasting and feasting ending with the fascinating Eid-al-Fitr. If you are traveling during this time, you will witness locals serving the most hearty meals and mouth-watering traditional desserts, coming together young and old alike, and communal expressions of gratitude. Ramadan is the most authentic and classical celebratory event you will come across in Jordan.

Plan a trip to Jordan in February and the most rousing festival of the Levant: Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival. Bolstered by the laid-back vibes of the Red Sea, the festival is vast in size and extraordinary in its cultural value. Almost every natural element of Bedouin culture is on display here—from handmade crafts to nomadic rituals. As for the summer festivals, Jerash and Amman offer the best of them. In the aura of Jerash blessed with antiquity, you will find hidden pockets of Jordanian culture at its rawest. And Amman celebrates the coming of spring with a dazzling theatre festival just for the sophisticated traveler.

The most popular event in Jordan among tourists, to your surprise, is not a traditional event but a rally. You heard it right! Jordan has one of the most iconic rally shows in the world, the one and only annual Rally of Jordan. Even if you are not attending it, it is one of the most vivacious times to experience Jordanian culture.

Jordanian food

Jordan Food Guide

Check out our Jordan Food Guide for the tasty local dishes and drinks you must try.

best places to visit in Jordan

Jordan Travel Advice

Everything you need to know about traveling to Jordan is in our Jordan Travel Advice guide.

Solo Travels

Are you traveling alone? Check out our Solo Travels page for detail.

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Why Book With Travel Talk

At Travel Talk our passion is providing unforgettable adventures and unique experiences for, and with, avid travellers like you. That’s why we only run tours to the most breath-taking destinations which we specialise in. Each tour is designed to take you to the heart of a new authentic culture.The wellbeing and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited have always been our utmost priority. We are committed to ensuring your peace of mind with our enhanced Safe Travels protocols and Special Flexible Conditions, so that you can book and travel with confidence.

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