The official language is Arabic in UAE, a country located in Middle East according to localtimezone. English is important as a business and lingua franca and is spoken mainly by younger Arabs. Due to the many guest workers, Farsi (Persian), Urdu (Pakistani national language, which is also spoken in some states in India) and Hindi (Indian official language) are widespread. French or German is sometimes spoken in hotels.
Arabic is spoken by around 320 million people as their mother tongue worldwide, and another 60 million people speak it as a second language. Because of its importance as a sacred language in the Islamic world of faith, Arabic has developed into a world language.
Along with Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, Arabic is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. In addition to the United Arab Emirates, it is also the official language in Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Israel, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia, with the local dialects sometimes being very different from one another. The Cairo dialect is widely understood due to the large Egyptian film production. Standard Arabic is rarely used as an oral means of communication, for example when reading out the news or at church services.
The written language for all dialects is written standard Arabic. It is written from right to left. In the Arabic alphabet there are only consonants and long vowels. Arabic is one of the current scripts, which means that the individual letters of a word are connected with one another.
Due to the large community of foreigners from the west living permanently in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have a varied nightlife to offer. Smaller local establishments, in which Arab singers or Filipino music and dance groups perform, can be found here as well as elegant cocktail bars and bustling nightclubs, in which internationally known DJs and bands from all over the world ensure a good atmosphere. At the Dubai Marina there are numerous bars and nightclubs that are constantly changing. Due to the strict alcohol regulations, many party locations are located in hotels. The Jetty Lounge, for example, which is located on The One & Only Royal Mirage’s private beach, is popularand especially attracts young people. In the gleaming white armchairs you can enjoy the view of the night skyline of Dubai while listening to relaxing music.
But there are also some discos and bars in other larger cities and holiday centers. The Club Tropicana in the Al-Buraimi Hotel in Buraimi is known, for example. Traditional dances are performed in many places on public holidays.
At the foot of the Burj Khalifa you can admire the fantastic water features every evening in the Dubai Fountain Lake, which offer a choreography of light and water as well as Arabic and classical music.
Current event information is provided by magazines and journals such as Time Out magazine (Internet: www.timeoutdubai.com and www.timeoutabudhabi.com).
- Humus(chickpea and sesame puree)
- Taboulé(bulgur wheat with parsley and mint)
- Ghuzi(roasted lamb on rice with nuts)
- Warak Enab(vine leaves stuffed with rice)
- Koussa Mashi(stuffed zucchini)
- Makbous(spicy lamb with rice)
- Shawama(meat grilled on a skewer in Pitta bread with garlic sauce)
- Khameerand Chebab (bread, often eaten with eggs for breakfast)
- Falafel(fried or grilled chickpea balls with herbs)
- Luqaimat(fried dough balls with syrup)
- Dates (there are over 30 million date palms in the United Arab Emirates)
During the month of fasting, it is forbidden by law to eat, drink or smoke in public during the day.
All Emirates, with the exception of Sharjah, allow non-Muslim foreigners to consume alcohol in certain areas. These areas usually include licensed restaurants and bars in hotel complexes. Foreigners with a residence visa need a state alcohol license to buy alcohol in special shops, which can be recognized by their blackened shop windows. It is illegal to drink or buy alcohol in public places or streets for nationals of the United Arab Emirates.
Muslims don’t eat pork, so most restaurants don’t offer it. If pork is offered on a buffet or in a supermarket, it is always separate from other dishes and clearly marked.
Most hotels and restaurants charge a relatively high service charge, so tips are not required. Otherwise 10% of the invoice amount is appropriate, but is not expected except in Dubai. Porters receive Dh 2 per piece of luggage.
Ayran (a yogurt drink) or strong black coffee are often offered.
Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages
Foreign non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol in the United Arab Emirates from the age of 21.