Jordan’s culture is a pleasant jumble of old and new, and Amman (its capital) has rapidly become one of the most sophisticated cities in the Middle East.

The majority of Jordanians are either of Bedouin or Palestinian origins, however, various minorities from neighbouring countries are also present. This is because Jordan historically has been a safe destination for refugees fleeing the conflicts in the region. It has been calculated that one in every three persons in Jordan has a refugee background. The diversity of communities and ethnic groups adds to the already rich Jordanian heritage by bringing new cuisine recipes, arts, and traditions. In Amman it is possible to enjoy among the most authentic dishes from Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, and Egypt, and attend concerts of bands from all over the Middle East. The integration of other Middle Eastern nationalities in Jordan is also facilitated by the language. While Jordan’s colloquial language is amiya, a dialect spoken in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine; the written language, is classical Arabic, or fussha, a standardized language that is taught in every Middle Eastern country. English is also widely used in commerce, government and taught at public and private schools.

The strong connection that Jordanians have with religion is an interesting cultural aspect. Jordan is a Muslim country where Islam is the major practiced religion. Jordanians take pride in applying Islamic teachings in their daily lives and perceive religion as a personal spiritual journey. The religious experience is an individual choice that everyone enjoys in his own way. 5% of the population practice Christianity. Christians in Jordan are exceptionally well integrated into the Jordanian society and Jordan Christian communities resample in many ways Muslim communities. For instance, like Muslim communities, Christian communities are organized in tribes placing strong importance on the extended family system.

A core aspect of Jordanian culture is hospitality. The social rule of taking care of the guest originates in Bedouin tradition and is deeply embedded in the Jordanian society and customs. Every Jordanian has a natural predisposition to being kind and hospitable toward the visitor, earning Jordan a special recognition in the hospitality sector. Along with the value of hospitality and generosity, Jordan has also surprisingly managed to preserve its cultural identity and costumes against the influence of globalization. Daily or occasionally, Jordanian men and women still wear traditional customs. The traditional outfit typically worn by men is made of a one-piece full-body covering dress, called a “Dishdashah” or “Thoub”, and a head cover including a white cup called “Thagiyah” and a scarf-like head cover. The women’s national custom is a handmade full-body covering dress usually black with embroiled red patterns.

Beyond the rich traditional culture, new forms of music and arts are constantly growing, pushed by new generations’ need for a place to vent frustrations and concerns over the socio-political situation of the region, and desire to create their identity halfway between the traditional values and modernity. The paintings, sculptures, graffiti, and photography, in the streets, and numerous galleries and cafes of Amman, are all representations of Jordan’s artistic movements.

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