Exploring Bahraini Culture

Bahrain is an island country in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Considered a key trading and banking center, Bahrain is exposed to many diverse cultures and depends upon this interaction for its economic growth. In Bahraini culture, a large value is placed on traditional family values. Bahrainis consider the extended family to be the most important social institution and passionately defend their family’s honor.

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People and Community

A Family in Bahrain

In Bahrain, households usually consist of parents, their children, and sometimes grandparents. In some cases, a household includes even more extended family, like uncles and their families living in the same home. Children do not move out of the home even when they are at college or when they start to work. Typically, children only move out of the family home when they are married. In many Bahraini families, mothers do not work. However, if she does, the father is still responsible for supporting his family. Both parents have equal authority, but in some families most of the authority is with the father. In Bahrain, family members are expected to have time to pursue to their own interests, and family members must respect each other’s desires. Meals are usually eaten together as a family.

Language and Communication Styles

The official language of Bahrain is Arabic.


Biryani in Bahrain

People in Bahrain eat “Halal” meat, and some people follow a vegetarian diet. The main meal in Bahrain is lunch, which is when the family gathers; lunch takes place around 2:00 or 3:00 PM. Portions are usually large in restaurants like in the U.S., and it is common for Bahrainis to ask the restaurant to wrap the uneaten food to take it back home.

Breakfast often consists of fresh khobez (unleavened bread), scrambled eggs mixed with thin noodles and sprinkled with sugar and cooked beans. Lunch usually consists of some type of spicy rice dish like biryani (rice with meat). During the month of Ramadan, popular dishes include salona (mixed vegetables) and harees, a traditional sticky wheat and meat dish.