The 22 Arabic speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa have a bountiful past that goes all the way back to the beginning of human civilization. The language they speak also has a rich history all its own that dates back centuries. Today, the region is home to over 315 million native Arabic speakers. Also, the language recently moved into the fourth position as one the most spoken languages in the world. Whether you’re planning on traveling to the region for business or pleasure, here are ten awesome and interesting facts about Arabs and their language that might come in handy on your journey:

1) Arabs are incredibly diverse

Though they may have a shared history, culture, and language, Arabs are actually a pretty sundry group. Each country and region having its own style of dress, food, and even different customs and traditions than their neighbors.

2) Arabs from different countries dress, well, differently

As we mentioned above, Arabs in different countries wear a variety of clothes. These include everything from robes to business suits and casual wear according to their own cultures and customs.

3) Honor is very important to Arabs

Honor is important in Arab culture. You have to treat others with dignity and respect. Honor especially belongs to the elders. Making fun of others’ shortcomings or mistakes, or looking down on others is very offensive.

04) …but family is even more important

There is nothing more loyal in the world than the loyalty shown by Arabs to their families. This is where patriarchs hold the power and always make the final decision on family issues. 

5) Greetings may be a bit different than what you’re used to

Though handshakes may be a bit less firm than what you’re used to, Arabs may also shake hands longer. Don’t pull away. Also, after you’ve gotten to know your Arab friend a little bit better, don’t be surprised if they kiss you on your cheeks. Arabs often greet their close same-sex friends and colleagues with a hug and kiss.

6) Let’s not get down to business right away

Before they start talking about business, Arabian business owners prefer to meet face-to-face with a business partner, potential or otherwise, and get to know the person and establish a sense of trust before getting down to business. 

7) Arab cuisine is one of the best in the world

Arabs love food and they should because their cuisine is some of the most delicious food you’ll ever taste. Many dishes are so delicious, in fact, that a lot of different foods from the Arab world like shawarma, kebabs and falafel are beginning to find their way into Western culture.

8) Arabs celebrate in a big way

Celebrations like weddings and graduations can last for days in the Arab world. If you’ve never experienced a wedding party, definitely put it on your bucket list for the next time you’re in Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, or any other Arab country, really, and be prepared to party for days.

9) Not to talk politics, but…

The Middle East has some of the most diverse political systems in the world. For example, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon are parliamentary republics, while the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait are traditional monarchies. Jordan and Morocco, on the other hand, are constitutional monarchies.

10) An old culture with a very young demographic

Arabs aged between 15 and 29 make up about 32% of the people living in the Arab world making them currently the youngest demographic in the world.

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