Bahrain: Holidays, Events, and National Customs
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Eid al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The Eid al-Fitr and Aid El Kébir festivals last 2-10 days, depending on the region. The pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) takes place every year about 60 days after Ramadan.
|Al-Hijrah (Islamic New Year)
|Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)
|Ashoura (Shiite festival)
|Mouloud (Prophet’s Birthday)
|Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Source: Countryaah – Bahrain Holidays
During Ramadan, greater restrictions in everyday life are to be expected. It is also forbidden for non-Muslims and foreign visitors to smoke, eat or drink in public during the daytime. Great restraint should also be exercised during the Shiite month of mourning, Muhharam.
Holidays and events
On the 10th day of Muharram, the country’s Shiites celebrate an important but also very sad day of remembrance. Hussein Ibn Ali, the angel of the prophet is remembered. He suffered his martyrdom in the battle of Karbala in 680. By the way, the word “Ashura” simply means “ten” in the German translation.
Bahrain Grand Prix
This important event took place for the first time in 2004 at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. The route, which is about 30 km from Manama, was built by the German architect Hermann Tilke. It is particularly interesting that the race takes place in the Bahraini desert and therefore demands maximum performance not only from the driver, but also from the car.
Every year on December 16, Bahrain celebrates its Independence Day. It reminds of the year 1971, when the island kingdom was released from history into sovereignty.
Manners and clothing
Despite all the modern paintwork and despite the economic development – Bahrain is and will remain an Arab country. And how in one should behave in Bahrain. You are dealing with a very hospitable country there. However, one must remember to always behave very respectfully and politely with regard to cultural and religious customs.
Women and men should therefore always wear long trousers and nothing transparent. This is not necessary in hotels and beach clubs, and a bikini or swimming trunks are fine there.
One should refrain from exchanging affection in public. There have been cases where people have been arrested for kissing in public. It should also not be forgotten that prostitution and homosexuality are both punishable in Bahrain.
The men usually wear the thobe, a long-sleeved, mostly white woolen robe, and the traditional headgear, which consists of keffiyeh (a kind of hood), ghutra (red and white headscarf) and agal (a cord). Women dress conservatively and use the daffah, a long black cloak. However, there are no formal dress codes in the country, so that not only foreign, but also local women can often be seen in Western clothing.
Anyone visiting Bahrain as a business person should wear a suit and tie or costume to business meetings. Personal contacts and recommendations play a very important role in doing business. In this context, it is also advisable to practice polite conversation, as this is very important. Not only is action common in Bahrain – as in any other Arab country – verbal agreements are also binding.
Culture and Sports
Soccer is the most popular modern sport in Bahrain. Traditionally, the wealthier Bahrainis also hawk, ride horses and hunt gazelles and rabbits, which has led to the almost extinction of the last two species mentioned. Horse and camel races are also popular.
The Bahraini also love to take part in ceremonial dances. The country plays a lot of khaleeji, a folk music from the Gulf region that has been heavily influenced by African music. Musically, the Fidjeri are also worth mentioning. These are songs that traditionally go back to the perentaucher and are performed with drums and beating. Liwa, on the other hand, is a type of music and dance that occurs mainly in the areas of Bahrain, which have a high proportion of people with East African roots (such as Muharraq and Hidd).
Weddings and births are celebrated particularly extensively in the country. They are joyful events and they are experienced as such. It is also a special experience for any outsider to join.
Bahrain has a warm and humid subtropical climate with a very high level of humidity. The Shamal sweeps into the country from the northwest, a hot, humid wind. Often the dry, hot south wind Qaus blows. This comes from the Great Arabian Desert to Bahrain.
The monthly mean temperatures in the country are between 17 °C in January and 33.5 °C in July.
Bahrain’s summers – from June to October – are extremely hot and dry. It is not uncommon for temperatures to rise up to 42 °C. In the winter time, which lasts from December to March, it is a lot cooler, especially in the evening hours. Then it rains more and more in this otherwise very dry country. The normal amount of precipitation, however, is just 70 mm. Therefore, mainly desert vegetation prevails on the main island of Bahrain.
The most pleasant and best travel times are spring (April and May) and autumn (November).
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that BA stands for the nation of Bahrain as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Qal’at al-Bahrain (2005)
The archaeological site of Qal’at al-Bahrain is a hill of ruins, with ruins from the years 2,200 BC. Chr.! They belonged to a city that was already walled. Around 1450 BC A palace was built here, in which the governors probably resided. From later times there were other large house complexes that already had sanitary facilities. Graves were also found under the floors. The city was densely populated for a long time. The later layers of ruins are not well preserved.
A fortress was built here around 300 AD. There are conjectures about this, one of which is that it was built after the Sassanids came to power. Qal’at al-Bahrain was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005.
Pearl farming (2012)
Pearl cultivation as a testimony to an island economy in Bahrain was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2012.
In earlier times, pearl farming was an important source of income for Bahrain. The construction of the fort in al-Muharraq was financed with the pearls of Bahrain – they are considered to be the most beautiful in the world. In addition to oil exports and aluminum recycling, important branches of industry today are agriculture and the textile industry.
Most pearls for jewelry making are cultured. Tissue is put into the pearl-forming mussel from a donor mussel. The pearl develops from this tissue in a few months to a few years. There are two types of pearls, one type has a core and grows in mussels (pinctada) that live in salt water and the other type – without a core – grows in freshwater mussels. Cultured pearls with a core are more expensive because only one pearl can grow in a shell, while freshwater mussels can grow up to 20 pearls in a shell. The pearl cultivation in open waters on mussel beds is very laborious. The mussel beds must be checked regularly for diseases. Only approx. 3% of the pearls have the quality feature very good. The pearl must be ideally round, its color must be right,
Dilmun burial mound (2019)
During the Bronze Age, the island of Bahrain, today’s 33-island Kingdom of Bahrain, was an important trading center because of the unique occurrence of fresh water from artesian springs, which has now dried up. Around the year 1750 BC One knows the two rulers Rimum and his son Yagli-El. The kings of that time were buried in large burial mounds on Bahrain. Around 1700 Dilmun seems to have gone through a crisis. Settlements were abandoned and the construction of large burial mounds for kings ended. Around 1650 BC Large burial mounds were built again. The burial mounds of Dilmun were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019
Bilad Al Qadir
A little outside of Manama, the capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is the wonderful former capital Bilad Al Qadir. This was founded in the 9th century.
Bahrain’s second largest and second most important city can be reached from Manama via a car embankment. The country’s international airport is also located here.
Manama, the capital of Bahrain, which gives the first impression with its Manhattan-like skyline, is a hodgepodge of modern and past. A stroll through the old town is particularly worthwhile, as it takes you back in time with its maze of narrow streets and shops. The many houses there with their interesting “wind towers” are particularly fascinating: These five to six meter high attachments are open on all sides and used to cool the interior. Significant sights of Manama are also the Barbarian Temple, the Bait Siyadi and the Al Jasra House, in which the Emir was once born. In addition to many museums such as the Archaeological Museum, the National Museum, the Oil Museum and the Bait Al Qur’an, the old fortifications show Bahraini, Arad and Riffa Fort still point to an uncertain past. Manama, which houses the largest mosque in the country with the Islamic Center Al Fateh, also delights with special features such as the Gold Souq, which is particularly impressive at night, and Al Jazair Beach, the longest and most popular beach in the country.
Abraj Al Lulu
This gigantic project, currently (10/2008) but not yet completed, consists of three large towers (Back Pearl, Gold Pearl and Silver Pearl) that define the skyline of the capital Manama. Two of the towers have 50 and one 40 floors. Overall, the enormous area of 23.226 m2 is estimated for the Abraj Al Luli.
The skyscraper in Manama’s Seef district, also known as the “Dark Tower”, is 172 meters high and functions as an office and business complex. In front of the Bahrain Financial Harbor, the Bahrain WTC and the Abraj Al Lulu, the imposing black-colored monster was Bahrain’s tallest building.
The “Gate of Bahrain” in Manama’s main business district marks the main entrance to the city’s souq. It was the British who built the gate in the 1940s. At the time of its completion, the government buildings were housed there. After it was redesigned in 1986 with many elements of Islamic architecture, a tourist information office and a few craft shops were added. Under the huge arch of the building, a street runs directly to the souq.
Bahrain World Trade Center (Bahrain WTC)
This building in Manama, begun in 2004 and almost completed, consists of two towers and rises 240 meters high near the Persian Gulf. With its 50 floors, it is one of the tallest structures in Bahrain. After the completion of the building, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia plans to set up its headquarters there.
Not far from the Bahrain WTC, the 322 meter high Energy Tower is to be built in the next few years, which will be self-sufficient.
House of Sheikh Isa
The house of Sheikh Isa, built in the 19th century, is certainly one of the most impressive buildings in the entire kingdom. It inspires simply because it is an excellent example of the local Islamic architecture.
Qal’at ‘Arad (Arad Fort)
The Arad Fort, a typical Arab building from the 15th century, rises near the Bahrain International Airport and is an incredible feast for the eyes, especially at night. Allegedly the fort was used by the Ottoman rulers during their brief occupation of Bahrain in 1800. Efforts are currently underway to reconstruct the fort’s so far very unclear history.
Qal’at al-Bahrain (Fort of Bahrain)
Not far from the pearl fishing town of Budaiya, which is about five kilometers from Manama, are the ruins of a fortress built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Qalat-al-Bahrain is located on a 300 x 600 meter hill of ruins, which together with the building has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005. The oldest layers go back to around the year 2200 BC. BC back.
Qal’at ar-Rifa ‘ (Riffa Fort or Sh.Salman bin Ahmed Fort)
Built by Sh.Salman Bin Ahmed “Al Fateh” Al Khalifa in 1812, this fort rises in the Hunanaiya Valley and was the seat of government until 1869 would have.
King Fahd Causeway (Arabic Jisr al-Malik Fahd)
Until 1986, Bahrain could only be reached from abroad by plane and ship, but since then there has been a road connection that leads directly across the sea to Saudi Arabia. This King Fahd Causeway, which is used by around 3 million vehicles every year, is a 26 kilometers long and 25 meters wide combined bridge and dam connection with four lanes. Opened in 1986 and fully financed by Saudi Arabia, the structure is Bahrain’s only road link to the mainland. A 66 hectare man-made island was raised halfway. The island’s only land border now runs on the island, which is half owned by Saudi Arabia and half of Bahrain.
Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge
Within the next few years, the completion of the so-called Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge is planned, a bridge between Qatar and the Kingdom of Bahrain, which with a length of 45 kilometers will be the longest bridge on earth with a length of 45 kilometers.
“By the way, Islam came to Bahrain in the 7th century. The Prophet Muhammad sent Al-Ala’a Al-Hadrami to the region to convert Munzir ibn Sawa Al Tamimi, the then governor of Qatar and Bahrain.”
You can find out everything you need to know about Islam here >>> at goruma.
Masjid al-Fatih Mosque (also Al-Fateh Islamic Center or Al Fateh Grand Mosque)
This construction on the King Faisal Highway, one of the largest mosques in the world, is said to be able to accommodate up to 7,000 worshipers at a time. It rises in Juffair, a district of Manama and was built under Sheikh Isa ibn Salman Al Khalifa in the 1990s. The Islamic house of worship was named after Ahmed Al Fateh, the conqueror of Bahrain. The mosque impresses with a gigantic dome, which was designed entirely from fiberglass and is the largest of its kind on earth. The mosque complex, which is located near the Royal Bahraini Palace (= residence of the current King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah), also includes the national library, which has been open to the public since 2006.
The major tourist attraction is open to visitors – but not on public holidays.
This church in Khamis, built under the Umayyad caliph Omar II, is said to be the oldest mosque in Bahrain. The structure, which rises with the two identical minarets on Shaikh Salman Road, was extensively restored a few years ago.
Bahrain National Museum
The largest museum in Bahrain is also one of the oldest museums in the kingdom. It stands near the King Faisal Highway in the capital Manama. It has a rich collection of archaeological artifacts and its exhibits cover around 6,000 years of national history. In addition to archeology, the three halls of the museum are also dedicated to the ancient civilization of Dilmun and the recent pre-industrial past of Bahrain. The Natural History Hall, opened in 1993, focused on the natural development of the island kingdom.
Beit Al Qur’an
The “House of the Koran” is an Islamic museum in Hoora, a district of Manama, which was built to maintain and exhibit old and valuable Koran editions as well as rare manuscripts. There you can see editions of Islamic scriptures from all over the world – from China to Spain. This concept is so far unique in the area around the Persian Gulf. The complex, which visitors are welcome to visit, includes a mosque, a library, an auditorium, as well as a museum and a school.
Located in the village of Barbar and named after it, these temples are located, which were once part of the Dilmun culture. The temples are three constructions, the last of which was only discovered in 1954 by a Danish research team. The oldest temple dates back to 3000 BC. BC back. All three temples were built on top of each other and should in all likelihood serve the service of the god Enki – the god of wisdom and fresh water – and his wife Nankhur Sak (Ninhursag). Two altars and a natural spring attributed to holy power are the main components of the temples. The myriad of tools, weapons and smaller bowls found during the excavations can be seen in the Bahrain National Museum.
Burial mounds in A’ali
About 11 kilometers outside of Manama is A’ali. In the fascinating city you can not only watch potters at work, who they still do in the traditional way. Above all, one can visit the approximately 170,000 pre-Christian burial mounds of the Dilmun culture, which in their entirety constitute the largest cemetery in the world. The necropolis, which was once discovered by a team of Danish archaeologists, goes back in its oldest parts to the time between 4100 and 3700 BC. BC back. Attempts to save the burial mounds led to heated discussions in Bahrain with religious fundamentalists who they consider un-Islamic.
Al Areen Reserve
In the Al Areen Reserve you can see animals in the wild that are actually threatened with extinction.
Islands of Bahrain
One of the most wonderful experiences of every stay in Bahrain is to move from island to island in one of the traditional dhows. The Al Dar Islands are particularly popular.
Jabal ad Dukhan
The “Mountain of Smoke” is despite its just 134 meters the highest point in the flat kingdom of Bahrain. The Jabal ad Dukhan rises in the center of the main island aka Al Bahrayn and offers a wonderful view over the southern part of this island. The kingdom’s oil wells are also close by, but they will soon run dry.
If you want to have beautiful sandy beaches in this part of the world that is not exactly spoiled by sandy beaches, you should go to the vicinity of Shaiks Beach.
Shajarat al-Hayah (Tree of Life)
This 400 year old sweet pod tree is believed to be a true natural wonder. Standing completely alone in the desert, it rises about two kilometers from Jabal ad Dukhan, the highest point in Bahrain. The source of water that the tree uses for its growth has not yet been found. Investigations have shown that there is no water to be found anywhere.