Quarantine is not a barrier to an intercultural exchange! FRI International Department arranged an online meeting “Kovtok Yordanii” (eng. “A Sip of Jordan”), to open Jordan culture for Ukrainians. Anas, a Jordanian who met FRI members on the Erasmus+ project “Many cultures — One human race” in Ukraine, shared his experience. In our material, we will describe the character of Jordanians, unique traditions of the nation, beliefs, and some interesting facts about the country.
Jordanians are generous and kind people, they are doing everything for the guests to feel like home. These qualities differ them from their neighbours. Jordan is not a dry country, as some people think. It is hot enough there, but they have all four seasons, including snowy winters.
Jordan is also rich in traditions. For example, for weddings they cook traditional food called mansaf, which consists of rice, meat, and yogurt. They usually make a lot of it — around 500 portions.
One of the widespread stereotypes about Jordanians is that they buy women for exchange for camels. Anas declined this. Also, some of us were thinking that Jordans have to refuse food three times before taking an invitation for supper. These aren’t true. By the way, in this country, women don’t have to cover their heads with hijab. Everyone has a right to choose, and everyone wears usual clothes.
In Jordan, there is one of the main World Miracles — Petra. It’s a famous archeological object located in the desert.
These days in the country there is Ramadan, so many believers are fasting. Muslims fast to understand how people who don’t have money or food feel. After a holy month, they celebrate Uraza-Bayram — holiday-analogue of our Christmas, which lasts a few days. Anas thinks that fasting is the most useful thing because it helps clean the body and improves the immune system, especially in pandemics. Jordanians fast from the morning to the sunset. They wake up at 3 a.m. to eat before the sunrise. They also pray five times a day, but it takes 4–5 minutes.
Talking about a pandemic, Jordan is one of the first countries that has almost fought the COVID-19. How did the government act? They were allowed to leave the house only from 8 to 18, and only one member of the family was allowed to leave. Every Friday and Saturday they had kind of a curfew when no one could leave the house. That’s how they managed to deal with the crisis. Sometimes they still have new cases of illness, but they usually happen close to the borders, for instance, with Saudi Arabia. Jordanians hope that quarantine will end at the same time with Ramadan.
Interesting facts about Jordan:
- Authentic nations vary but three groups dominate: Arabs, 1% of Armenians, and less than 1% of Circassians.
- For texting in social networks, Jordanians use some letters and numbers which replace some sounds.
- Ramadan lasts for one month. This year it has started on the 24th of April and will continue until the 24th of May. The time of its beginning depends on the new moon. Jordanians cannot eat, drink, take drugs, and think about the relationship between men and women from sunrise until sunset.
- During Ramadan, about 75% of people pray five times per day.
- Most Jordanians write using their left hand. But also it is mentioned in the Quran that it’s better to eat using the right hand.
- The king rules Jordan. The full official name of the country is The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
- Three colours on the flag symbolize the union of the three nations.
- The movie ‘The Martian’ was filmed in the desert Vadi-Ram and ‘Indiana Jones’ was shot in Petra.
- To get in the desert without the Jordan Pass but only with visa, you have to pay 2000 UAH. You should also pay for the entrance.
- One Jordanian dinar is about 40 UAH.
- There is a tabu about skimpy clothes for women. For example, skirts and shorts must be below the knee.
- Tourists are not forbidden to eat and drink during the Ramadan, although it’s hard to find the food. To demonstrate respect, you shouldn’t do it in front of the local people.
- The most popular food there is falafel.
- Jordanians don’t eat pork because they are Muslims.
- Women mustn’t be in the front seat of the car.
- Local authorities are loyal to tourists, and tourism is prevalent there.
- Deserts cover 90% of the country.
- Indigenous people, Bedouins, live in the deserts. Vegetables, meat, and rice are cooked in the big pot buried in the sand is their national dish. The sand heats during the day, but to make an extra heat, Jordanians make a fire under the pot. The tasty meal in its juices is taken out of the sand in the evening.
- Jordanians eat dates before the main meal during the Ramadan because they are filling and contain some protein. Therefore, they help people not to overeat.
The online-meeting experience showed us that getting out of the house is not always obligatory to delve into the other culture. We found out that Jordan is an amiable and open country with the people who are always ready to support and share their meal!
So break the stereotypes and push the boundaries by joining our next “Sips”!
Written by Maria Ridkous
Poster design: Olexandra Dashko