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Culture Differences between American and Arabic

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Culture is an integral of any human being. In fact, culture can be termed as the way we spend our lives. In one way or another, we represent our culture where ever we live, we go, we work or have any involvement, and our culture comes along with us. Since the beginning of our humanity, culture has accompanied us in one form or another. From caves to huts, from palaces to forts, our culture goes where we go.

Culture embodies linguistics, poetry, cuisine, art, religion, architecture, music, beliefs, etc. Currently, America is a culturally and racially assorted country, with a blend of many cultures, due to the high rate of immigration that is evident in the country.  To some extent, one may wonder if there is an explicit culture in this country. Arabic culture is well defined with its customs, values and traditions perfectly embedded in their ways of life. TheArab countries cover from North Africa to West Asia and all the way from Persian Gulf to Morocco. Arabic culture is based on the early eastern, the American culture is based on the Europeans. The side of the life style between cultures, the traditions, and religion.

Own living ways in their own society and community

The American culture that we all know is a big melting-pot, it’s a mixed from variety of countries. It doesn’t have one culture; the American culture depends on the particular people who live in a particular place in America. For example, in the state on New York we can see all kind of people from all over the world and each part of New York has culture. The reason for that is a lot of immigrants, which decide what culture will take a place.

Arab countries speak Arabic as a language which is widespread and well-known. Arabic is the leading associate of the Semitic subdivision of the Afro-Asiatic kinfolk, which is so much allied to Aramaic and Hebrew. A large segment of Arabs and Muslims speak Arabic language. The history of Arabic language dates back in the 6th century and is the one used in worship services. Furthermore, it is widely used in many dialects as a vernacular language. However, a key difference occurs when referring to the Arabic language spoken by the learned people called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). The media, as well, uses it extensively. The official language of the Americans is English, even though; Spanish is the main vocal language in other enclaves like Puerto Rico. It might have its own accent and difference in wordings, but it can easily be understood by other people. Its main historical inspirations originated from the settlers from England, Scotland and Ireland during the colonial times. The culture of the British became the topmost influence of the spread of English language, owing to their colonial stalemates. Extra significant sways hailed from Western Europe, particularly France, Germany, and Italy.

The fashion

With little focus on professional outfits, fashion in the U.S. is heterogeneous and for the most part informal. In fact, the diverse cultural roots echo in their attires, especially those of fresh settlers. Americans dress in leather motorcycle jackets, cowboy hats and riding boots, which are symbolic of explicitly American elegances. Blue jeans (denims) are embraced by almost everybody in all states regardless of the social classes. It is currently the brushed a global interest; thus, becoming an influence to worldwide fashion.Conversely, Arabs dressing is not only different to that of America, but also their men and women dress totally differently. Men’s dressing has an array of the customary graceful robes, T-shirts, blue denims and western professional suits. The robes allow full flow of air all over the body for cool comfort. The head dress (Keffiye) offers shelter from the sun. It not only specifies the tribe, clique or family of the wearer but also displays uniqueness of a tribe or clan. Occasionally, Arabs combine the customary attire with Western clothes. Strictness in women dressing varies from one society to another e.g. Egypt is less traditional than Saudi Arabia. Women put on complete body concealment called jilb%u0101b, abaya, or chador, and a veil called hijab. It is only in Saudi Arabia that women must wear abayas. However, in countries like Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, and Syria, the veil is optional.

The Americans embrace different types of sports

Basketball is the main attraction for youths than adults. Baseball attracts adults than youths, as well. Other key sports include ice hockey, golf, American football, and tennis. Baseball is one of the most ancient sports of American team sports. It dates from 1869, as t the time it lacked competent rivals in status up to the 1960s. It is dubbed the “national pastime”. Contrasting other prevalent sports in the United States, the teams in Major League Baseball nearly play every day beginning April till October. American football, currently entices more TV watchers than baseball, since it is the most popular sport so far. Other sports include boxing, horseracing and polo. Arab countries are mainly united by sports too. They organized a regional sporting event called Pan Arab Games for strictly Arab nations. The number of participating countries had swelled to 22 by the 11th occasion with 8000 athletes. Another sporting event is the Doha Games. The difference in sporting activities comes with reference to gender. Men have always dominated the sports, and women have constantly been struggling to catch up with the men. The situation is drastically changing for the womenfolk as a variety of Arab women currently play soccer, futsal, basketball and softball. Some have taken an interest in swimming, boxing, running, archery, tennis and other individual games. Development of women sportswear has been enhanced with regard to their mode of dressing, so as encourage their involvement.

The family as the main social unit

Unlike the Americans, they believe that larger families increase the likelihood of acquiring extra economic benefits. Essentially, they believe that the son has the potential to care for his parents when they become old. Technically, this makes the male folk acquire extraordinary favors than the female folk. The daughters are believed to bring shame, whereas the sons brig honor. Large families offer the father with prestige. The hierarchy of loyalty starts from the clan, the tribe then to the family. Women normally have a secluded space in the household for their personal issues. This is in contrast to the American family, whereby the sons and daughters have almost similar privileges. All children have to be educated by their parents so as to become independent in their future lives.

The religion

The Arabic culture is based on the religious Islamic believes. In the religion of Islam they take their orders from their holly book “Qur’an” and they bring it to their own culture. In Arabic countries we can see that men and women are not equally the same as is it is in America, the way of living in Arabic countries is more sociable than it is in American culture, in the terms of families, friends, and people. For example, the house hold of the family would work and bring money in, while the wife would take care of the kids and do house work.

Completely different traditions

In the American culture in terms of holidays we can see its has a lot of them. The main holidays in American culture are Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, and Independence Day. Each holiday has its own celebration, for example, Christmas is the day that each family would put up a Christmas tree and bring gifts to their own family members and then they would have a dinner, the main fantasy character for this holiday is Santa Claus. However in Arabic culture they only have two holidays which are the holiday of Eeed-Feter and Eeed-Adha. Eeed-Feter is the celebration of the end of Ramadan, which is a month that Muslims would fast from sunrise to sunset for the whole month according to Islamic believes. Eeed-Adha is the celebration after the fifth Pillar which is the Haj (Islamic Activity). During the first day of Eeed-Adha each family sacrifice a quantity of lamb, and  the family would gather together, congratulate, and  celebrate this big even for both holidays. The other point that I see a big difference in between those two cultures is food. In Arabic culture the main meal is lunch, the housewife would cook a big meal which is mostly rice and lamb, the whole family would gather together and set up the food on the floor and eat using their hands. Unlike the American culture, they mostly eat fast food.

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The literature

There is a difference in culture considering literature from these two countries. Since America was a British colony, its literary traditions are connected with the traditions of English literature. Most researchers feel that the establishment of the college and printing press in Cambridge could be the factor that led to the rise of American Literature (Kammen, 211). In the 1620s, John Winthrop wrote a journal called The History of New England discussing the religious foundations of the Massachusetts Bay colony. After the war, Thomas Jefferson wrote a book called United States Declaration of Independence that influenced the United States constitution. American literature also has a vast variety of novels. The first American novel was published in 1791 and it was known as Power of Sympathy written by William Hill Brown. This novel narrates a story of two siblings who fell in love not knowing that they were blood related. Hannah Webster also published a novel known as The Coquette: Or, the History of Eliza Wharton that talks of Eliza who is courted by two men but she fails to choose between the two me finding herself single when two men get married (Kammen, 224). Other famous novels from American literature include Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon, Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum and Prey by John Grisham. Poetry also contributes to the American literature. Walt Whiteman, a traveler and a self-appointed nurse during the civil war is known for composing a poem called Leaves of grass. In this poem, he uses a free-flowing verse and lines of irregular length to talk of American democracy. Arabic literature is referred as adab. Before the writing of the Qur’an, pre- Islamic poetry such as the tales of Sinbad and Antar bin Shaddad were composed. Most researchers feel that the Qur’an contributed a lot to the Arabic Literature. The language used in this book is classic Arabic and it contains 114 chapters with 6236 verses (Sabry’ 119). Furthermore, it has parables, injunctions, narratives and addresses from God. It also defines the hadith of Mohammed. Arabic poetry is in the form of rhymed prose. The themes of these poems consist of bitter personal attacks, sex, wine, religion and praise. Diaries are also found in Arabic literature. An example of a written diary was diary of Ibn Banna. One of the best-known Arabic literatures is One thousand and One Nights. The story of Aladdin and Ali Baba are found in this book (Al-Omari, 96). This book also includes animal fables, stories on jihad and proverbs.

Music causes difference in culture between Arabia and America

American music uses syncopation and asymmetrical rhythms, they are long and contain irregular melodies. There is a big relationship between music and race in America. African America musical identity developed from Africa and Europe and it has been a constant theme in the music industry of the United States (Anderson and Campell, 56). Each Native American tribe plays its own folk music. Slaves on the southern plantations, to express their religious faith, mainly sang spiritual music. Jubilee Singers, a gospel group in Fisk University, popularized spirituals across the country in 1871. Most Americans love Blues. These songs are a combination field hollers, African work songs and shouts. The most important characteristic of these songs is the use of the blue scale. Other types of music in America include jazz, country music, R&B, soul, rock and hip-hop (Anderson and Campbell, 98). Jazz music is mostly characterized by blue notes, call and response vocals, improvisation and polyrithms. Popular jazz stars include Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. Classical Arabic music is extremely popular among the people living in Arabia. The styles of this music include Algerian rai, Moroccan gnawa, Kuwait sawt and el gil. The components of this type of music include Arab tone system that consists of specific interval structures (Sabry, 187). It has rhythmic temporary structures that produce a rich variety of rhythmic patterns. The musical instruments that are played in Arabic music are played with standardized performance techniques and they have similar details in construction and design. The music genres in this culture are classified as urban, rural or Bedouin (Sabry, 204). City inhabitants mostly enjoy singing urban music while country inhabitants mostly sing rural music. Desert inhabitants enjoy singing Bedouin. Music from this culture mostly emphasize on melody and rhythm rather than harmony.

Dance in America and Arabia

America has a variety of dancing styles that include hip-hop dance, rock and roll dance, and modern square dance. Hip-hop dancing styles have mostly evolved from the hip-hop culture. This style involves breaking, locking and popping and dance crews mostly perform these styles (Anderson and Campbell, 144). These styles are performed in dance studios and outdoor spaces. Commercialization of hip-hop dance has been achieved through television shows that include The Grind, Dance 360, Street Dance 3D and America’s Best Dance Crew. Swing dance developed in the 1920s and it originated in Harlem. T It incorporates syncopated timing associated with West African music and dance and African American dance. It uses a combination of crotchets and quavers. American modern dance developed in the 20th century and its pioneers were Ted Shawn and Isadora Duncan (Kammen, 95). This dance initiates movements from the centre rather than the limbs emphasizing on the emotional directedness in their choreography. Belly dance is the most common dance in Arabic dance culture. In this form of dance, every part of the body is involved in dancing especially the hips. Women mostly perform it. The costume that the dancers wear is called bedlah (Al-Omari, 133). It is has a fitted top or bra with a fringe of beads or coins, fitted hip belt and harem pants. The movements in this dance involve isolating different parts of the body. Important movements include shiver or shimmy, hip hits and undulations.

Film and television has caused cultural differences between America and Arabian culture

In America, television is available through broadcast, unencrypted satellite, cable television and direct broadcast satellite. In broadcast television, the Public Broadcasting service is responsible for national public broadcast services. The major broadcasting networks are NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox (Kammen, 122). They air soap operas, game shows, comedies and reality shows such as Oprah Winfrey Show. America has produced a variety of films with different themes. These themes include civil war, Vietnam war, romance, horror and animation. In the year 2000, Gladiator won Academy Award for Best Picture and BAFTA Award for Best Film. Ridley Scott directed this film and its main actors were Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielson and Richard Harris (Kammen, 202). Before 1990s, the government of Arabia owned most of the television channels. Al-Jazeera was established in 1996 and it delivers extensive news coverage. Lately, this government has made efforts to establish satellite channels such as Al-Arabiya and Al-Hurra (Al-Omari, 165). It has also formed soap operas and reality televisions. Arab countries did not produce films until they attained their independence. Algeria and Iraq have produced approximately 200 films on topics relating on religion, sex and politics. Arab Media is mostly responsible for creating and distributing these films. Every film project must first pass a state committee before this committee grants or denies it permission to shoot the movie.

Faith in religion

Finally, now a day is having faith in religion is very important. In the American culture there are a variety of religions like Christianity, Judaism, and poorly Islam. The most religion taking place is Christianity. We can see in America there are a lot of churches that people would go to and practice the prayer an confessions on Sundays. Their holly book is the “Bible”, and most people believe that Jesus is the son of God. However Muslims still believe in Jesus as a profit not as the son of god, which is the biggest debate between those religions. In Arabic culture Muslims believe in god which is “Allah” and they pray five times a day at what we call “mosques”.  The day that Muslims gather together and have religious speech by a religious feature what we call “sheikh” is Friday during day time.

Conclusion

We can see that those two cultures are different in many different ways. Now that we know each culture and how they interact in their society. In America there is a lot of immigrants from all around the world, it’s nice to learn other cultures and have an idea about it, in order to socialize with these people from different cultures. That way we can mix these cultures together and have one successful society.

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