Centred on both Arabic and Islamic fundamentals, the predominant characteristic of Jordanian culture is the hospitality shown by hosts to their guests. You can sense this by simply walking through the streets of Jordan where the phrase "ahlan wa sahlan" ("I welcome you") is heard repeatedly as a gesture of good will. Some of the traditions of hospitality originate from the Bedouin culture, whom are notorious for welcoming people into their homes with open hearts.
Religion plays an important part in Jordanian culture, as it is the home of numerous religious sites noted in the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Holy Qur’an. Sunni Islam is the dominant religion, with Muslims making up about 92% of the country's population.
Ramadan refers to the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a time when Muslims try to give up bad habits, fast during daylight hours, and spend time with their families—a difficult time for tourists. Visitors to the area during Ramadan should avoid publicly drinking, smoking, and eating during the day. Ramadan ends with the festival Eid al-Fitr, which is a great time to visit but hotels are usually fully booked well in advance, particularly in Aqaba.
Jordanian cuisine varies a great deal with its methods of cooking. It can range from grilled meat and poultry, to stuffed vegetables and baking. It is considered a very hearty diet with a Middle Eastern twist.
One staple ingredient used in Jordanian cooking is olive oil. Olives are grown locally in Jordan, and farmers take pride in growing and nurturing their crops. A popular appetiser is hummus, which consists of chick peas blended with sesame paste, lemon, and garlic. Ful (broad beans) is another popular appetiser served at breakfast, which is usually consumed with a dash of olive oil and dipped with pita bread—delicious!
Jordanian culture is also significantly influenced by the West and can be seen in many aspects of everyday life. European and American music, movies and fashion are very common amongst Jordanian folk. Clubbing and partying also exists in Amman, specifically in the western side of the city.
Although Jordan's mother tongue is Arabic, English is widely understood and spoken in the upper and upper middle classes, and is considered to be the country’s second national language.