Essay Example about History and Culture of Yemen

Published: 2022-04-18
Essay Example about History and Culture of Yemen
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: History Culture
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 979 words
9 min read

Yemen is a country located in the South West of the Arabian Peninsula. As of 2017, the state had a population of 28 million ("Yemen - World Travel Guide"). Yemenis are predominantly Arabs with a small percentage of African who originated from Kenya, Somali, and Ethiopia. Although peace has returned in this nation, there is still tension between the northern and the southern part of the country.

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Before the colonial era, Yemen was dominated by the Semites of Saudi Arabia. They were the first civilization to occupy these lands. However, in the 16th century, the country was invaded by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans ruled over Yemenis until 1832, when the British East India Company took over the Aden port. Consequently, the eventual agreement of 1904 led to the split of the country into two; North and South Yemen ("Yemen - History And Culture."). The Ottomans control over the North was continuously interfered with frequent uprisings by the Zaydi imams. As a result, the Ottomans were forced to grant autonomy to the region in 1911. North Yemen finally gained full independence following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. As for South Yemen, the Country was under the British rule until 1967 when it was taken over by the Marxist-oriented National Liberation Movement. Between 1970 and 1989, the two countries were involved in border wars ("Culture Of Yemen"). Nonetheless, the peace treaty of 1990 led to the unification of the two nations. However, in 1994, a civil war, the Gulf War, started. Luckily it ended within the within months. Although there is calm, the country is still volatile.



Since its introduction in 630 AD, Islam has been the language of the state. Yemen is ethically prevalent with Sunni Muslims of the Shafi'i School and Shi'a Muslims of the Zaydi School ("Yemen - History And Culture."). The country's constitution offers the freedom of worship. Therefore, a portion of the population is Hindu, Jew or Christians. However, one can only hold an elected-seat if he or she is a Muslim. Furthermore, Sharia is the source of legislation. Conversion from Islam to other religion is not tolerated.


Arabic is the most predominant language in Yemen. Communications in their day-to-day lives are mostly through the dialects of Arabic that are typical of the six cultural zones. However, pre-Islamic south Arabian languages of Mehri, Soqotri, and Bathari are used by a small portion of the population. To be specific, Mehri and Soqotri are spoken in al-Mahrah Governorate and Socrata archipelago respectively (Priyanka, 2016). Other languages, mostly foreign, spoken in Yemen include Russian, French, and English.

Yemeni Food

Yemenis usually take three meals in a day. Ordinarily, people wake up to a breakfast of sweet, strong tea with bread with either sorghum, wheat or barley. Dinner includes a porridge prepared from fenugreek with meat, eggs, vegetable, herbs, and spices, which are served hot in a stone or clay bowl ("Yemen - World Travel Guide"). Lentils, peas, and sorghum are the traditional staples. Some of the mostly eaten dishes include salta, Mandi, aseeT, shafoot and bint aSSaHn ("Yemen - World Travel Guide"). Eating manners is taken seriously in Yemenis households. A person is not supposed to eat with his left hand. One should always use a right hand (bare) in eating as eating with left hands is considered bad behavior. People eat from the same plate regardless of the situation.


Clothing in the North and the South have significant variations, especially with men. In the not, men wear thoub, a long sleeved robe which is predominantly white. Around the waist, they put on jambiya, a dagger fastened with a thick belt (Priyanka, 2016). A shawl is usually worn over the shoulder and the back or the head. However, others wear kout, a suit-like coat, with a shawl over it. As for the southerners, they mostly wear ma'waz, sarong, and a shameez shirt. While some may put on a shawl as northerners, the color is different.

In a conservative society, women are supposed to dress up in black in public. A full attire consists of balTah, a robe-like black dress, and burgu. Burgu is meant to cover the head and the face except for the eyes ("Yemen: Customs, Traditions, And More," 2018). Even at home, it is hard to find women dressed up in skirts and jeans as seen in other Arab nation. They are very conservative, especially in the north.


Although the weekend is Thursday and Friday in Yemen, Friday is the most adored day of the week. The day is characterized by congregational prayer, well-prepared lunch, family visits and qat chewing. The religious holidays in this country are enjoyed. Eidul Fitr, eidul adhHa, mowlidul nabil and awwalul sanah and the 27 of Rajab are some of these holidays ("Yemenis Facts, Information, Pictures | Encyclopedia.Com Articles About Yemenis"). Besides, national holidays such September 6, a commemoration of the revolution day against the Imam rule in the north. The unification of the two states is commemorated on May 22.

In conclusion, Yemen has experienced quite a lot of civil unrest throughout its history. Despite the unification of North and South Yemen, the political and social climate in the country is at its most vulnerable. Nevertheless, even with these conditions, the country's cultural setting is thriving. The clothing, cuisine, and hospitality are quite remarkable.


"Culture Of Yemen - History, People, Clothing, Traditions, Women, Beliefs, Food, Customs, Family". Everyculture.Com, [Accessed 29 Mar 2018]

Priyanka, S. (2016). "The Culture Of Yemen". Hilalplaza.Com, Accessed 29 Mar 2018.

"Yemen - History And Culture". Iexplore.Com,[Accessed 29 March 2018]

"Yemen - World Travel Guide". World Travel Guide, [Accessed 29 Mar 2018]

"Yemen: Customs, Traditions, And More". (2018) Blogs.Transparent.Com, [Accessed 29 March 2018]

"Yemenis Facts, Information, Pictures | Encyclopedia.Com Articles About Yemenis". Encyclopedia.Com, [Accessed 29 Mar 2018]

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