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Torn pieces of bread are folded in half and used to scoop the food. The left hand is never used to feed oneself. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. When people visit family and friends, tea, Turkish-style or Arabic-style coffee, or fruit juice is served. Often this meal includes sweets, especially on holidays. The national main dish is Mansaf, which consists of lamb cooked in dried yogurt and served with seasoned rice on flat bread. Mansaf is always served on holidays and special family occasions such as visits to relatives or friends, engagements, and weddings.

The economy is based on free enterprise.

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The service sector, consisting of government, tourism, transportation, communication, and financial services contributes the most to the economy, employing 70 percent of the workforce. Amman has developed into a regional business center. Land Tenure and Property. Land ownership is the goal of many, but few can afford the cost.

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Except for the very wealthy, most people live in rented housing. Because most of the country is desert, less than 4 percent of the land is cultivated.

Natural resources are scarce, and no oil has been found. The country's archaeological sites draw more than two million visitors a year. Potash, phosphate, and gypsum mining and the manufacturer of cement, fertilizers, and refined petroleum products are the largest industries. Jordan is among the world's top three potash exporters. Since the Gulf War, the number of immigrants has increased greatly, leading to a severe trade deficit and a labor market that has not produced enough jobs. Jordan's economy is heavily impacted by its location in the Middle East, the arid landscape, its relationship with its neighbors, and its dependence on foreign aid.

Its largest sectors are finance, which employs 22 percent of its labor force; transportation, which employs 16 percent; and the industrial sector, which employs 17 percent. Tourism offers the greatest prospect for development. Jordan's political and social systems are a mix of new and old, traditional and non-traditional, Bedouin and Palestinian. All social and political systems of Jordan are centered around extended patriarchal family units based on ancestry and wealth. Family units are often led by sheikhs whose rule depends on the size of their families, their wealth, and the will of their personalities.

After the death of a sheikh, the eldest son ascends to the position of head of the family. Symbols of Social Stratification.

The emerging modern Arab culture values a college education, Mercedes cars, and a home in an urban area as symbols of success. However, in traditional Arab culture, camel breeders are still considered to be highest on the social scale. Traditional clans consider anyone outside their clan to be inferior, so the tradition of only marrying a person from within their families continues.

Since , Jordan has been a constitutional hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary form of government. It is politically stable, with freedom of religion, the press, and private property guaranteed. There is an ongoing program of democratization. In parliamentary elections were instituted, and since that time, martial law has been lifted and political parties have been legalized. Elections were held in and Leadership and Political Officials. In , King Hussein, the longest-serving head of state in the world, died. Hussein's oldest son, Prince Abdullah, Buildings in Amman, a city that reflects western influence.

King Abdullah Ibn al-Hussein has indicated that he intends to follow his father's policies. He wields wide power over the government and appoints the prime minister. Jordan's present legislative branch consists of an eighty-member elected Lower House and a forty-member Upper House. After a bill is approved by the Lower House and Senate, it is given to the King, who either grants consent by Royal Decree or returns the bill unapproved.

Jordan's Constitution guarantees an independent judicial branch, dividing the courts into three categories: Social Problems and Control. Many of the country's laws are based on the Koran and the Hadith, a collection of Mohammed's sayings.

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These laws are enforced in religious courts called Sharia courts, which have jurisdiction over personal matters. Chastity is demanded of all single women. If a woman's chastity is compromised, a male relative may feel obligated to murder her to save the family's honor. When these cases go to court, often the charges are dropped or the murderer receives a short sentence. Jordan has a low crime rate by international standards, with few petty crimes such as robbery reported.

Jordan maintains an army, an air force, and a small navy. The total strength of the armed forces in was , active members and 35, reserves. There is a paramilitary force that includes twenty thousand civil militia members and ten thousand public security officers. Jordan is a leader of peace efforts in the Middle East and is at peace with its neighbors. There is not a comprehensive welfare scheme, but the government administers medical and health services. Nongovernmental organizations are involved with the environment, women, children, and economic issues.

The royal family is supportive of many charitable foundations. The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development has social development centers throughout the country that help women and children. Division of Labor by Gender. Most women have their lives controlled by their closest male relatives. Despite the limitations placed on them, they have made advances in education in a country where the practice of educating women only began three or four decades ago.

Balancing customs and traditions at home with obedience to their husbands and the demands of a career remains a difficult challenge. When women work, they receive extensive benefits and sometimes equal pay.

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The census placed the proportion of women in the workforce at 14 percent, up from 8 percent in The unofficial unemployment rate for women is 65 percent. The Relative Status of Women and Men. Sons are prized, and this status continues throughout adulthood.

Most Muslim women cover their heads with scarves. A small minority cover their heads and faces with a veil. Segregation of the sexes occurs all public situations, and there is limited interaction between Workmen lay a water pipeline in the Jordan Valley. Most of Jordan is desert. It is common for women to eat apart from men in restaurants.

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Unless they are married or related, men and women do not sit together on public transportation. Getting married and having children are top priorities. Most marriages are arranged by the father of the bride. Often cousins marry each other, and the couple may barely know each other until the engagement is announced.

The wedding has two celebrations: After the engagement party, the process of dating and getting to know each other begins. After the engaged woman and man have signed the papers at the engagement party, they are legally married.

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If they choose not to proceed, even though they have not lived together, they must divorce. Brides must be virgins on the wedding night. After marriage, every aspect of a woman's life is dictated by her husband. She cannot obtain a passport or travel outside the country without his written approval. At any time, a husband may take another wife. Polygamy with up to four wives is legal. When there is a divorce, custody of the children automatically goes to the father, and for this reason, women choose to remain in a marriage even when there are other wives.

Divorced women are viewed as outcasts. The typical family is extended, with family size decreasing since to about six members per family. The scarcity of natural resources, especially the chronic shortage of water, makes population control vital. To slow the rapid growth rate, birth spacing programs have increased awareness of the benefits of family planning, and many wives now use contraceptives. Inheritance is guided by Islamic law. A woman receives half the amount that a man receives. Kinship relationships are patriarchal. Extended family ties govern social relationships and tribal organization.

Women are primary caregivers for infants and small children. After the first son is born, the father and mother take the name of the son. If the son's name is Mohammed, the father becomes Abu Mohammed, meaning "father of Mohammed," and the mother becomes Om Mohammed, or "mother of Mohammed. Bedouin woman preparing a meal.