Bahrain is a unique nation among the Persian Gulf countries. It has the influence and regular access to the outside world. Historically, it has been enriched with diverse civilizations. From the early Alexander to the latest British regime, Bahrain has seen a lot of change in governance, infrastructure, and economy. All these have impacted the culture and traditions of Bahrain a lot. This change has not only made Bahrain versatile but also created a space for acceptability among travelers and tourists. Anyhow, Bahrain hasn’t lost the conservative nature of Arabs. But they have accepted and adapted with the globalization much more than other GCC countries.
Bahrain is a Muslim major country. They observe all the general Muslim holidays. These include two Eids, Ashura, and Muhammad (PBUH)’s birthday. Though the traditional dresses are thawb and abaya, you’ll also regularly see people wearing western clothing. Comparing to other Arab countries, dresses are pretty much relaxed.
Bahrain has a variation in ethnicity as well. You’ll see Christians, Jews, Hindus alongside Muslims in the state. The majority of them have one thing in common- love for coffee. Coffee shops are great gathering places for Bahrain residents. Serving coffee is a gesture of hospitality. Additionally, fish, meat, shrimp with rice are also popular. Dates and shawarmas are well-know snack items in Bahrain.
4/5th population of Bahrain lives in cities. Manama, which is the capital of Bahrain, hosts the majority of the population. Muharraq is also a well-populated city. Rural areas also have all modern facilities.
Bahrain has enriched handicraft age-old industries. With the support of local people and tourists, Bahrain’s large handicraft industry is receiving huge popularity and developing a lot. Some of the handicrafts are very unique that can be just found in the gulf regions like Ali, which are baskets woven with date-palm leaves. Alongside you’ll find tinsmithing, textile making, gold working, and many others in local shops. Local antiques include the ivory figurine, gold rings, copper articles, pottery, and many other artifacts that reflect the influence of non-Arab states in Bahrain. The avant-garde art community is also flourishing in Bahrain.
Music is an integral part of Bahraini culture. Fidjeri is one of the most unique folk styles of Bahrain. Fidjeri was once sung by the pearl divers of Bahrain. Currently, this music format is being practiced in institutions.
Bahrain also has Sawt Music, Liwa, and Khaliji music as their folk songs. Sawt music can be originally found in Kuwait and Bahrain. It is mainly performed by men who gather around in ceremonies and dance along with singing. Liwa and Khaliji are gulf based music. In Liwa, a man stands in the center with mizmar ( a musical instrument), and many others surround him. The team also has drum players. On the other hand, Khaliji music is sung with violin and oud. Both men and women sing it.
The Bahrain National Museum is one of the largest tourist attractions in Bahrain. It was founded in Manama in the year 1988. Bahrain National Museum has a large collection of archaeological artifacts that dates back to 5000 years. There are 3 separate halls for archaeology along with the artifacts from Dilmun civilization. Besides, there are halls for the fauna and flora of Bahrain, and a hall for natural history.
Bahrain has also reserved the golden history of Bahrain’s pearl and petroleum history. Bahrain Pearling Trail has been enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Lists. It is located in Muharraq and consists of 3 oyster beds. It’s 330,000 sq. meters area mainly consists of buildings from the 19th-century pearl industry and oyster beds. Bahrain government is currently working on revitalizing this conservation project.
Bahrain doesn’t only prioritize music and arts but also emphasizes on globalizing their traditions. Bahrain holds the largest music and art fest during their National day. In 2019, there was a month long program of art and music events. Additionally, Bahrain also arranges International Music Fest every October where national and International bands perform.
The best part of Bahrain is that they haven’t forgotten their root while being so open to the globe. Their programs and events represent their culture, their tradition, and their glorious history.