Recently, the country even changed their weekend to Friday and Saturday. This shift
(from a Thursday-Friday weekend) was done to have more working days similar to that
of Europe and much of the world. However, Islam's holy day is Friday and this
traditional day off remained despite all the modern changes to the lifestyle.
In a way, Bahrain balances the past with the present. The Friday off of work is
due to the culture, religion, and history of the people. Islam also affects the
entertainment scene as alcohol not common (although it is available for foreigners),
dating restrictions contribute to social situations, and modesty means the nightlife
is on the quiet side. However, the cars, public transportation, sky scrapers, and
cell phones are modern additions to the way of life that few Bahrainis could live
The people of Bahrain identify in a number of ways, but
for most citizens they first identify as "Bahraini," which is an identity
tied to the country itself (but not necessarily the ruling royal family). This identity
is particularly strong due to the large number of immigrants and temporary workers
in the country who serve as a contrast to the citizens and this identity.
The people also tend to identify in larger and smaller circles; for example, some
people identify by their tribal affiliation or family ties on the local level when
talking to other Bahrainis or other people from the Gulf States. On a wider level
the people identify as both Gulf State people as well as Arabs, although this second
term is rarely used by Bahrainis abroad. The Gulf States, including
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates
dress alike, are all fairly liberal on Muslim standards, and have a similar history
giving the people of these countries unifying traits. Despite sometimes identifying
as a member of the Gulf States, Bahrainis prefer to be identified as Bahrainis.