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    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

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    Japan: Traditional foods. Go Now!

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    Japan has a rich culture that is visible today in the country's dress, architecture, language, food (pictured), and lifestyle. Begin Your Journey!

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    Bahrain: Desert. Go Now!

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    This tiny country has overcome the desert and has found a way to thrive, like this tree on al Jazair Beach. Explore Bahrain!

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    The simplicity and natural beauty of the countryside make Laos a hidden gem in Southeast Asia overlooked by most travelers. Begin Your Journey!

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Culture & Identity of Syria

WARNING: Syria is currently in civil war, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction

Sadly, life in Syria today is unstable and unpredictable, however in the recent past the way of life was vibrant and ever-changing. Life was rooted in the country's Islamic faith and history, but modern changes have led to urban growth and great economic diversity, which also meant more regular working hours.

Even today the country is quite evenly divided between urban and rural living. Among the rural population, many work in agriculture. For many of these people life is about the sun, the weather, and the seasons. Their daily routine is much as it has been in the past as they take what earth gives them as family and community help contribute to the work. Communities are also the center of life for many of these people, many of whom they see each Friday at mosque.

The way of life in the cities can be very different. For many people here religion remains very important and a centerpiece of life, however many other things, such as jobs, make a more significant impact on the lifestyle. Jobs often times demand particular working hours, giving people a more set routine. For some jobs they also provide enough discretionary income to give the people wider entertainment options.

The modern society, economy, and technology have vastly changed the lifestyle as many people work regular hours and have a set pattern. However, the deeply rooted Islamic faith also does a great deal to contribute to the lifestyle, even today. The weekend is on Friday-Saturday since Islam's holy day is Friday; many people also follow Islamic dietary and dress requirements, which alters the entertainment options and dating scene for many people. However, the country is diverse enough to offer many of the same options found elsewhere in the Middle East and throughout the world.

Today the way of life is a bit unpredictable due to war and violence. For many people most days are the same as they have been for years, but on other days the schedule is altered by protesters, violence, or government blockades. Today the country lacks stability in nearly every sense, from politics to lifestyle.

Identity

How the people of Syria identify is confusing at best and chaos at worse. The people tend to be Sunni Muslims who are ethnically a combination of various people, but most prominently Arabs and Phoenicians (sometimes also referred to as Canaanites). Despite these similarities, the differences are significantly more numerous and the people tend to identify first by these differences. The people of Damascus tend to identify with the city, giving them a geography-based identity, the Kurds tend to identify as such, which is an ethnic-based identity, and the Christians tend to identify as Christians or Phoenicians, which is a religious-based identity. In recent years these people have actually united in many ways as "Syrians," which is a politically-based identity. Ironically, many who identify in this politically-based way have done so to unite in protest of the government; how long or how this identity will be defined in the future is unknown given the current state of affairs in Syria.

This page was last updated: December, 2013