Arabs regard language as the highest form of artistic
expression, so literature and poetry are highly regarded. Modern poetry and
prose deal with the struggle for a Palestinian homeland and the situation
of women, in addition to the timeless themes of love, war and daily life.
Fadwa Tuqan, Samira Azzam and Mona Saudi are immensely popular writers.
Mustafa At-tal, known as "Arar," is a well-known poet.
Mahmoud Sayf ad-Din al-Irani was the first to introduce the short story in Arabic. Some current writers use regional dialects rather than traditional Arabic, but many Muslims disapprove of this practice. The Qu'ran is believed to be in the language of God and to write otherwise is considered inappropriate.
|Music is also important in Jordanian life. Traditional Arabic music is based on a five-tone scale, unlike our Western seven-tone system. Its rhythms are elaborate. Songs often tell stories of family, honour, love and death. Most instrumentalists accompany a vocalist rather than playing on their own, and improvisation is common. Some Arabic instruments include the oud (similar to a lute), the mizmar mujwiz or nay (both types of flute), the rababah (a type of violin with one string), and the gerbeh (like bagpipes). Small drums, played on the lap, are used to keep the rhythm. American pop and rock music is popular with younger Jordanians.|
Jordan's traditional handicrafts reflect its rich heritage and
colourful past. Gold and silversmiths create intricate designs for bracelets, earrings,
necklaces and chains. Bedouin women like to wear silver, decorating their veils and
scarves with silver medallions and chains. City women tend to wear gold jewellery,
especially gold bracelets.
Rugs have long been part of nomadic life since they are portable and made with readily available materials, such as goat hair and sheep's wool. Most rugs are made by women. Geometric patterns are popular, as are designs with flowers, animals and plants. The dyes are traditionally made from flowers and herbs.
|Embroidery was once taught to every young Jordanian girl. Each girl was expected to embroider her own wedding dress and the clothes she would need as a married woman. The patterns were very detailed, featured bright colours and required months to complete. Although this skill is no longer taught to all girls, some women still do beautiful embroidery on clothes and furnishings.|