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Culture of Bahrain

Like the other small Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Bahrain’s culture has historically been shaped by its ties to the sea. Because it consists of islands, maritime trade has dominated its history and, to an even greater degree, its culture. Unlike the other GCC states (except Oman), Bahrain also has an agricultural history and related culture.

Further Reading

References to ’traditional’ Bahraini culture today often present a heavily sanitized representation of the nation’s actual cultural traditions
Khaliji is a typical marketing term, it therefore covers a range of musical genres that were known only by individual local names a generation or two ago
The best known folkloric dance in the Gulf is the arda, the traditional Bedouin war dance. Bahraini arda performances have strong nationalistic overtones
In Bahrain’s visual arts Western cultural influences are easily discernible. Surprisingly, many local artworks employ Western orientalist stereotypes
What is described as ’national dress’ in virtually all Gulf handbooks, is, in fact, a local variation on the traditional dress of the tribal Arabs
Television soap operas are very popular in Bahrain. Bahrainis first encountered these musalsalat in Egyptian productions
Bahrainis, like most Gulf Arabs, enjoy watching sports. Camel racing and, especially, horse racing are very popular

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