Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jordan Facts and Culture

Some culture tidbits and Jordan fast facts for you!

I am fairly familiar with Middle Eastern culture and things that go along with that such as modesty and hospitality, but I was glad to learn BEFORE I go of some more specific Jordanian culture taboos:

  1. One should not carry/jangle my keys in their hands walking outside because it basically denotes prostitution.
  2. Don’t go outside with wet hair – especially important for me as a single woman because the understanding is that women wash their hair after…doing things that only married couples should do.
  3. Loose hair means loose woman – put that hair back!
As I briefly mentioned before, modesty is extremely important especially in Middle Eastern cultures and so if you see me looking frumpy and shapeless in pics, know it’s on purpose. ;)  

In America it's good manners to look someone in the eye as you talk with them, and in the South to smile at people as you pass on the street.  With women this should be JUST fine, but to do that in my interaction with men in Jordan would be considered flirtations.  I need to watch out that I don’t freely give away hugs to everyone, either – watch that gender interaction, Cara! :P

Except for a small portion of the Red Sea, Jordan is surrounded by other counties – Saudi Arabia on the southeast, Iraq on the east, Syria on the north (close to where I will be), and Israel on the west.

There are approx. 6,249,000 million people in Jordan.

The language is Arabic, but many people also speak English. 

Jordan is 8 hours ahead of Nashville time.

Religion is an important part of Jordanians' day-to-day lives.  The call to prayer is broadcast five times a day and during Ramadan (which starts the evening of July 8th) many businesses are closed during the day.  Most of the country is Sunni Muslim.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar and is considered a “month of blessing marked by prayer, fasting, and charity” focusing on self-sacrifice and devotion to Allah.  Muslims fast for the entire month whenever the sun is shining – they don’t even drink water throughout the day (which grips the heart of this ER nurse a bit – can only imagine the heat exhaustion cases that are seen during summer Ramadan months!).

Fasting (sawm) is one of the five pillars of Islam.  Confession of faith (shahada), prayer (salat), almsgiving (zakat), and pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) are the other four. 

(several of these tidbits came from http://www.gomideast.com/jordan/fastfax.html)

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