World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Culture of Yemen

Article Id: WHEBN0006020643
Reproduction Date:

Title: Culture of Yemen  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Yemen-related topics, Yemen, Ossan, Culture of Asia, National Museum of Yemen
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Culture of Yemen

The culture of Yemen has an ancient history, influenced by Islam. Due to its unique geographic location, Yemen has acquired a very distinctive culture from its neighbors; historically and culturally, the people of Yemen have closer ties with the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Ethiopia) than they do with the rest of Arabia and the Middle East.


Mosque in Zabīd, Yemen

Religion in Yemen primarily consists of two principal religious groups of Islam; Sunni and Shi'a. About 65% of the Muslim population is Sunni, and 30% is Shi'a. Sunnis are primarily Shafi'i, but also include significant groups of Malikis and Hanbalis. Shi'as are primarily Zaidis, though they also have significant minorities of Twelver Shi'as and Musta'ali Western Isma'ili Shi'as (see: Shi'a Islam in Yemen).[1] The Sunnis are predominantly in the south and southeast. The Zaidis are predominantly in the north and northwest, while the Jafaris and Isma'ilis are mostly located in the main centers of Sana'a and Ma'rib. There are mixed communities in the larger cities.

Less than 1% of Yemenis are non-Muslim, adhering to Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Atheism. There are also approximately 3,000 Christians, 400 Jews, and a minority of Hindus. The constitution and the laws protect and inhibit the freedom of religion.


Dance in Sa'dah, Yemen

The music of Yemen is primarily known abroad for a series of pan-Arab popular stars and the Yemenite Jews, who became musical stars in Israel during the 20th century. In the Arab world, Yemen has long been a cultural center. Yemen's national anthem is "United Republic" written by Abdallah "al-Fadhool" Abdul Wahab Noman. UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of poetic songs in Sana'a, called al-Ghina al-San'ani, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2003.


The history of Yemeni theatre dates back at least a century, to the early 1900s. Both amateur and professional (government-sponsored) theatre troupes perform in the country's major urban centers. Many of Yemen's significant poets and authors, such as Ali Ahmed Ba Kathir, Muhammad al-Sharafi, and Wajdi al-Ahdal, have written dramatic works; poems, novels, and short stories by Yemeni authors, such as Mohammad Abdul-Wali and Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh, have also been adapted for the stage. There have been Yemeni productions of plays by Arab authors, such as Tawfiq al-Hakim and Saadallah Wannous, as well as by Western authors, including Shakespeare, Pirandello, Brecht, and Tennessee Williams. Historically speaking, the southern port city of Aden is the cradle of Yemeni theatre; in recent decades, the capital city of Sana'a, has hosted numerous theatre festivals, often in conjunction with World Theatre Day.


Fatut, Yemeni fried bread with eggs

Yemeni cuisine is entirely distinct from the more widely known Middle Eastern cuisines, and even differs slightly from region to region. Throughout history, Yemeni cuisine has had some Ottoman influence in some parts of the north, and some Mughlai-style Indian influence in Aden and the surrounding areas in the south, but these influences have only come within the last 300 years.

Chicken, goat, and lamb are eaten more often than beef, which is expensive. Fish is also eaten, especially in the coastal areas.

Cheese, butter, and other dairy products are less common in the Yemeni diet. Buttermilk, however, is enjoyed almost daily in some villages where it is most available. The most commonly used fats are vegetable oil and ghee used in savory dishes, while semn (clarified butter) is the choice of fat used in pastries.

Although each region has their own variation, Saltah is considered the national dish. The base is a brown meat stew called maraq, a dollop of fenugreek froth, and sahawiq or sahowqa (a mixture of chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs ground into a salsa). Rice, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and vegetables are common additions to saltah. It is eaten traditionally with Yemeni flat bread, which serves as a utensil to scoop up the food.

Shakshouka is a popular dish in Yemen. Shakshouka is made with eggs, meat, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices (often including cumin, turmeric, and chili peppers). It is usually served with Yemeni flat bread or white bread as a utensil.

Other popular dishes include: aseed, fahsa, thareed, samak mofa, mandi, kabsa, fattah, shafut, and fatoot.

Shahi Haleeb (milk tea, served after qat), black tea (with cardamom, clove, or mint), qishr (coffee husks), qahwa (coffee), karkadin (an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers), Naqe'e Al Zabib (cold raisin drink), and diba'a (squash nectar) are examples of popular Yemeni drinks. Mango and guava juices are also popular.

Malooga and laxoox are the most popular kinds of flat breads found in Yemen. Malooga is eaten with bean dishes, such as ful medames (similar to rice and beans). Laxoox is eaten with curries, stews, and soups, as well as rice dishes.

Bint Al-Sahn is a popular dessert dish, which is eaten with honey.


Qat, also known as Khat (Catha edulis), is a widely cultivated plant in Yemen and is generally used for chewing. When khat juice is swallowed, its leaf juice has an amphetamine-like effect. Yemenis wear traditional costumes and chew the narcotic khat-plant in the afternoons. Chewing khat is also part of the Yemeni business culture to promote decision-making, but it does not expect foreigners to participate.


Football is the most popular sport in Yemen. The Yemeni national football team competes in the FIFA and AFC leagues. The country also hosts many football clubs. They compete in the national and international leagues.

Yemen's mountains provide many opportunities for outdoor sports, such as biking, rock climbing, trekking, hiking, skiing, mountain jumping, and other more challenging sports, including mountain climbing. Mountain climbing and hiking tours to the Sarawat Mountains and the Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb, including the 5,000 m peaks in the region, are seasonally organized by local and international alpine agencies.

The coastal areas of Yemen and Socotra island also provide many opportunities for water sports, such as surfing, bodyboarding, sailing, swimming, and scuba diving. Socotra island is home to some of the best surfing destinations in the world.


See also


  1. ^

External links

  • Yemen: Cultural-Geographical Zones

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.