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Yemeni culture

Yemen has a distinctive culture and an ancient history, influenced by #Islam. It is also intensely #patriarchal with households consisting of extended families living in a single compound. While women do step out of the threshold for work, their social status is primarily determined by the number of children they bear, especially males. Needless to say, the oldest male in the family is the main decision maker. Even though prohibited by law in 2001, female genital mutilation still occurs, although taking place in private and varying significantly by region. Yemeni society is tribally based and in the rural parts of the country, state authority remains weak and disputes are often settled through violence between the feuding tribes. Such feuds are quite common and hence #Yemen is a gun culture with every family owning at least one weapon. While urban men and boys are often seen carrying guns around, rural #Yemeni men wear the janbiyyah (traditional dagger) with pride.

Yemeni cuisine is heavily influenced by East #African and South #Asian food cultures, but the most ubiquitous element of the country’s recreational culture is the khat party or the khat “chew”. Much gets done in these parties or chews – the exchange of gossip, personal and political discussions, business decisions and transactions, the passing on of Yemeni legends and lore, and the recital of poetry and music. Yemen’s domestic architecture dates back to more than 2000 years. The city of Sana’a and the towns of Zābid and #Shibām are noted for their architecture and each has been listed as a #UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yemeni poets, both past and present, are among the most esteemed in the Arab world, among them the great 10th-century poet and historian, al-Hamdāni. Dances are often performed during weddings with men brandishing the janbiyyah dagger.

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