Saudi Arabia is home to two of the holiest religious sites for Muslims and is the world’s leading exporter of petroleum. The country has a rich history and culture that Nasar Al-Almi, a freshman in ESL (English as a Second Language), is pleased to share with the UVU community.
Saudi Arabia is located in the Middle East and shares a border with Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen and Jordan. Mecca and Medina are considered to be the holiest locations in Islam.
“These cities have the biggest mosques where Muslims from all over the world come to pray during the annual pilgrimage called Hijj,” said Al-Almi. “It is a place where every Muslim should go at least once in their lifetime.” I met with Al-Almi to talk about the culture of his home country beyond the religious sites for which it is so well known.
GK: What cultural traditions do you have in Saudi Arabia?
NAA: In Saudi Arabia, celebration of the feast of the end of Ramadan, Eid ul-Fitr, and the feast of the end of Hajj, Eid ul-Adha, and Saudi National Day are considered as cultural traditions. During these holidays we visit family members, give money to the poor and needy and do acts of service. The holiday period brings a spirit of unity among family members and the country as a whole.
GK: What kind of music does Saudi Arabia have to offer?
NAA: Music in Saudi includes both Western and traditional. We have the traditional Drabka drum instrument used to make traditional Saudi folk music. It entails those singing to form two straight lines facing each other holding a sword, and they dance by using their sword to touch each other’s. My favorite artist is Mohammed Abdu, Saudi Arabia’s first pop star. I love his songs, because he sings about life, love and his songs reflect what Saudi Arabia really is.
GK: What kind of food is customary in Saudi Arabia?
NAA: My favorite food is Kaspa, which is rice made with a lot of spices including baharat, cardamom, garlic and others which eventually turns the color of the rice yellow and orange. Kapsa is prepared with chicken also seasoned with lots of spices. [It] is eaten alongside yogurt made from sheep. I love Kaspa because it is eaten with our hands, which reminds me of back in the old days when people were poor and simple and life was very simple. This food humbles everyone.