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Bahrain Fashion: Culture and Antiquities Report

The Kingdom of Bahrain is considered to be an island country that is situated in the Middle East. Bahrain borders with the Saudi Arabia on the west. According to the recent statistics, the population of Bahrain is around one million of people. The word ‘Bahrain’ originally has the meaning of ‘two seas’ (McCoy, 2010). As for the government, the country follows the constitutional monarchy. The main purpose of the paper is to provide the information regarding the cultural and historical peculiarities of the country with the relation to the Bahrain fashion.

To get better acquainted with the peculiarities of the fashion industry of Bahrain, the questions of culture and history should be taken into consideration as they have an impressive influence on the fashion in the country. Bahrain is known as the Dilmun, the most influential ancient trading center. Throughout the history, there were a lot of countries that controlled the country; among them were Persia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain. In the twentieth century, the discovery of oil stimulated the economic development; however, it is worth stating that oil resources were not as rich as in other Gulf States.

In 1961, Sheik Isa ibn Sulman al-Khalifah outlined the strategies of the county towards constant improvement and advance. The forces were directed towards turning Bahrain into the influential financial center as it used to be. The government contributed to the establishment of the positive attitude of the public by providing the citizens with the possibility to get free education and health-care service. The primary issue that the country is facing is the conflicts between Shiite and Sunni Muslims (Urkevich, 2014).

The official language in Bahrain is considered to be Arabic. However, it is significant to point out that the vast majority of people understands and speaks English. The English language is studied as the second one in schools because it is commonly used in the business sphere. People also speak Farsi and Urdu. The question regarding the cultural peculiarities in Bahrain seems to be essential to highlight. As the matter of fact, the majority of people practice Islam. This religion controls all the aspects of life in the country. The citizens usually pray five times a day.

The specific time for praying is printed in the newspapers. The weekend in Bahrain is Friday, as it is believed to be the holy day and Saturday. The holy month called Ramadan is the significant event for the Muslims. They should fast and follow certain rules. However, the expatriates cannot keep to the Bahrain tradition, although should respect them and do not eat or smoke in public during Ramadan. The major value is the family and loyalty. Despite the fact that Bahrain is the Muslim country, women have more rights there. It is up to the woman to decide whether to cover a head in the public or not. Women have the right to education and have all the chances to get a well-paid job and be treated in a good manner. Moreover, women are provided with the right to vote.

With the consideration of history and culture development, like every country, Bahrain has some peculiarities of clothes and beliefs of what is appropriate or not. A lot of tourists usually do not pay attention towards this question. However, it is worth stating that in order to show respect and not to confuse people around, tourist should pay attention to the cultural and dress code peculiarities.

The Muslim countries prefer the conservative style of clothes. However, Bahrain can be considered as the tolerant and open country that encourages people to express their personality through the clothes. People who live in Bahrain enjoy dressing up. The most important aspect is to look great and to have ironed clothes. The process of globalization influences the attitude towards traditions and cultural peculiarities, and that is, the conservative style is not a common phenomenon in the country.

Although there are almost no restrictions regarding the outlook, it should be stressed that there are some general guides that should be taken into consideration. First and foremost, there are rules for attending the mosque that should be strictly followed. It is unacceptable to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts in the mosque. Moreover, the shoes should be taken off. The clothes should be clean; the citizens care about smelling fresh and clean, but not too overpowering with the fragrances. If the person wants to go to the central market, the clothes chosen should not be as formal. For special occasions, for the malls, restaurants, and cafes, men can wear almost everything, except shirts. The most important criterion is that the men should look great in the clothes. Shorts are the best choice for the men going to the beach. Speedos are not acceptable.

Taking into consideration the peculiarities of clothes for women, it should be stated that women should also follow the guide as there are appropriate clothes for certain occasions. Attending the mosque women should remember to take the shoes off, the same rule as for men. The whole body and head should be covered. The loose clothes are more acceptable. As the matter of fact, there are more restrictions regarding the appearance and total outlook of women than men. If the women want to go to the central market, she should keep in mind that long skirts are preferable; however, midi skirts are also acceptable.

The top or blouse should be long or short sleeved. The cleavage should be omitted. In the case, the women aim to attend the mall, she can wear the midi skirt, the top with the short sleeves but under any circumstances spaghetti strap tops should not be worn. There are usually a lot of people in the mall who came shopping, and that is, there are not so many restrictions. Women can wear almost anything; however, they should be ready that people might stare. The vast majority of people prefer dressing up even going to the mall. The restaurants are the place where cleavage can be acceptable. Women usually dress up and put some makeup on.

Sparkle with Swarovski Elements and Persil Abaya Shampoo.
Source: (Sparkle with Swarovski Elements and Persil Abaya Shampoo, 2013)

As for the beaches, it should be highlighted that the private ones are not very conservative and women can wear anything she likes, however, the public beaches have the same restrictions as the malls do, but dressing up is unnecessary. The majority of people who live in Bahrain are tolerant and will not judge the person according to the outlook. However, it is more respectful to take into consideration the peculiarities of the dress code.

The traditional dress for women is called abaya. Abaya is a loose black gown with long sleeves. It is usually worn with the hijab, “the black cloth that covers the head” (Urkevich, 2014). The traditional dress of the men is the thobe and the coverage of the head that includes three parts, namely “keffiyeh, ghutra, and agal” (Urkevich, 2014). The thobe is a loose garment with long sleeves. Men usually wear white or black thobe depending on the season. The ghutra is the type of scarf that is usually folded into a triangle and placed over the keffiyeh. The preferable color is red or white. The agal secures the ghutra. Sometimes men can wear bisht. It is the “cloak that is usually worn over the thobe” (Urkevich, 2014).

Cloak that is usually worn over the thobe.
Source: (Bahrain, 2016)

The wedding ceremonies saved the traditions and people still follow them. The wedding is usually celebrated in the night time. The traditional dress of the groom is the thobe, whereas the bride should wear the nashel.

Source: (National dress, 2012)

Nashel is the traditional dress for the bride and is green or red. However, more and more couples turn their attention towards classic western types of weddings. Modern young people prefer white dress and traditional thobe for the groom or a suit.

Although the traditional type of clothes is not so commonly worn nowadays in Bahrain, people still value and respect traditions and customs. Children’s traditional dress is similar to the dress of adults. During the celebration of the festivals, people can wear traditional clothes. However, the attitude towards the traditional outlook has already shifted.

The western type of dress code becomes acceptable and younger generation prefers a less conservative type of style. The reason for such cultural changes is the globalization process and the fact that there are a lot of expatriates in Bahrain who influence the cultural identity of the nation, making their world outlook broader. Due to the informational technologies and the Internet, people become aware of modern fashion trends and styles. The countries have already become closer and borders between the cultures fade leaving the trace of tradition in memories, photos, and national festivals.

Bahrain is a diverse country with a “progressive cultural environment” (Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, n.d). The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities is a vital component in securing the cultural identity. The BACA aims to develop and promote cultural values and encourage the advance of the innovations, economy, politics, and arts. The government encourages people to save the traditions and stresses that the culture is the most powerful tool that guides the nation to the success and prosperity, and that it, should not be forgotten. Being flexible, modern, and tolerant are the guiding powers of the Bahrain government that contribute to the positive development of the country.

In conclusion, it should be stressed that religious and cultural aspect influenced the way people dress up. Although Bahrain is the Muslim country, it should be stressed that the vast majority of people are tolerant and non-conservative. The process of globalization impacted the perception of people and their outlook. It is worth stating that nowadays, the Bahrain is the financial center that promotes women rights and is famous for the tolerance. However, despite this fact, there are still some restrictions in the way people should look in public places. It should be highlighted that women have more restrictions than me. The traditional clothes are worn for the festivals. However, more and more people change their visions and become less conservative and follow the trends from the Western World.


. (n.d.)

. (2016).

McCoy, L. (2010). Bahrain. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest.

National dress. (2012).

Sparkle with Swarovski Elements and Persil Abaya Shampoo. (2013).

Urkevich, L. (2014). Music and traditions of the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar. New York, NY: Routledge.

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