Jordan traditions and customs
From Amman to Rasas, excavations reveal new mosaics of great artistic quality every year. A traditional art which continues to be taught and practiced successfully, especially in Madaba.
Madaba, with its craftsmen and its school of mosaicists, symbolizes the revival of this art in Jordan.
The school, created in 1991, trains restorers in collaboration with experts from the Institute of Ravenna in Italy and continues to rescue mosaics from damage inflicted by time and men. Contemporary works are made with local stones.
The black stones are imported from Turkey, because they do not exist in Jordanian soil.
Be careful not to confuse ceramic and mosaic. The ceramic uses unfragmented stoneware, terracotta, porcelain. We could confuse them from a distance, but do not hesitate to get closer, the difference is obvious. However, some stores abuse it a bit, given the growing number of amateurs.
The price of a mosaic is quite high, proportional to the time necessary for a meticulous realization: you should know that 1 m² of mosaic takes about 10 days of work depending on the drawing ... Imagine the number of hours for a mural! Observe the precision of the work.
It is possible to visit mosaic workshops in Madaba.
Religions and beliefs
L'Islam is the state religion in Jordan: the population is 96% Muslim, mostly Sunni. The remaining 4% are Christians, especially Greek Catholics and Orthodox, but also Roman Catholics, Armenians ...
Islam practiced with regard to a tradition to which they are very attached, in a way of identity and almost claiming! Among the Bedouin, who go out in hiding, dress is associated with a feeling of freedom: that of not being seen!
Backpackers, without adopting these clothing behaviors, must nevertheless take certain precautions (see below).
Know-how and customs
Jordanians attach great importance to politeness. This also explains their sense of hospitality. Some basic rules.
- Jordanians are always surprised (and flattered) to meet Westerners who make the effort to take an interest in their language. A few Arabic words pronounced at the right time will delight your interlocutors!
- The Salvation is very answer: aleikum salam, etc.) tend to disappear in favor of the brief Western greeting: all the more reason not to hesitate to use them, you will gain in consideration!
- In principle, an invitation launched by a Jordanian to a visitor do not refuse immediately (unless it seems suspicious to you), neither is a gift. If you don't have time to go to someone's house, don't suddenly refuse. Start by thanking, and make up an excuse like “Friends are waiting for me”.
If you accept an invitation, you will have to comply with award ceremonies : drink coffee and tea, take the time to chat, etc. You don't return a cup unempted. Likewise, eating with appetite will be greatly appreciated.
- The left hand is unclean (it is used to make your personal hygiene): do not greet or eat with it (except with cutlery, of course, and unless you are left-handed: they also do it today).
- We do not throw toilet paper in the bowl, but in a small bin provided for this purpose.
- It is better toavoid certain topics with the Jordanians that we do not know well, especially religion and politics. Above all, do not criticize the king or Islam. But that changes little by little, and we now find very open opponents to lead interesting jousting of opinions.
The place of women
The majority of Jordanians obey the rules of islam and expect women to be respected by foreigners. However, you will not be asked to wear the veil. Jordanians are very considerate of foreign women, and incidents are extremely rare.
The knee, shoulders and back. A western woman will avoid any physical proximity or excessive friendliness.
Just adopt a decency of good quality, with adequate clothing.
On the beaches, whatever the swimsuit worn, we will be outside their codes anyway, which they admit very well.
Some places are in principle tell the women, accompanied by you to choose another place if necessary.