“The shared interactions and patterns of behavior, affective understanding, and cognitive constructs that are learned through the socialization process,” according to Kroeber & Kluckhohn (1952). The aforementioned patterns identify a cultural while also distinguishing other groups. Furthermore, scientists argue that the way people use, interpret, and perceive tools, artifacts, and other tangible cultural elements is what defines culture, not the tools themselves (Almond & Verba, 2015). Most people, on the other hand, learn about other people’s cultures through visual representations. Most cultures use symbols and visuals to communicate their values and practices. In addition, in the modernized society, people can easily be differentiated from other people by their perspectives, values, interpretations and symbols (Almond & Verba, 2015). This paper reflects on my own culture by exploring and defining who I am. The paper entails a description of my background, cultural beliefs, how my cultural background impacts on my world view as well as my interaction with people of other cultural backgrounds. My cultural profile will be based on the cross-cultural theories and models learned in class. Also, this paper will reflect on the cultural traits that I share with cultures of my origin as well as other traits that are set apart. Also, the attached photographs show how my culture is represented in London.
To start with, I am a Lebanese who prescribes to the Christian faith. I come from the southern part of the country. I currently live in the suburbs of Beirut, a distance of 20 minutes drive. Beirut is 750m above sea level. As a kid, we could go skiing and at swimming for leisure. I grew up in the city and schooled under French hence adopted their language. However, in the sixth grade, I decided to change into English, a language that I felt was more suitable for me. The nest section discusses the Lebanese culture in depth.
Food and Restaurants
Food in Daily Life
Lebanese cuisine is Mediterranean. The staple food is rice which is prepared in different styles such as pita, fool and bean dishes. The popular food pasta. Many dishes usually have an added salt yogurt. Red meat and chicken are common too(Nasreddine, Hwalla, Sibai, Hamzé, & Parent, 2006). Eating in Lebanon is tied to the family: people almost never eat alone due to the aesthetic experience attaché to it (Saleeby, 2008). The images below shows Lebanese restaurants and cultural eating habits including types of foods.
Dressing and clothing
Mountain dwelling is the most notable traditional attire among the Druze. This dressing is more common in the interior. The Muslims are more liberal in their dressing allowing women to dress in jeans and long sleeved tops. Despite this, hijab is still worn by a few Muslim women at will (Gualtieri, 2001).
Family, marriage life and kinship ties
The common type of marriage is voluntary although marriage arrangements still exist. The prevailing economic crisis in the country has rendered money and home big factors thus contributing to an increase in contractual marriage. Polygamy is legal among Muslims; however, it holds a social stigma, and very few people choose this lifestyle. The religious courts are bestowed with the duty of settling marriage issues, including divorce which is easy among the Muslims as compared to Christians who prescribe to the Orthodox doctrine. This has lessened the divorce rate in the country (Ata, 1980 p.113).
Nuclear families form the common family unit in Lebanon. However, extended families are also regarded as their social security function. Domestic authority is shared between the husband and the wife, but the woman is more influential over children and most household issues. When it comes to inheritance, males are more favored by the courts. Land ranks as the most important asset among money, apartments and restaurants form a chuck of inheritance. Concerning kin groups, one must remain loyal to members of the same faith who reside in his/her area.
The first thing to discuss in this section is divine beliefs. The majority of the Lebanese are monotheists. Islam and Christianity cut across as the core faiths. Religious leaders are authoritative among the Lebanese. This makes religious courts to decide on most issues pertaining rights and privileges.
Life after death
Among the Lebanese, funerals are very elaborate where people are free to mourn their departed loved ones. The living is encouraged to live a good life so that they can enter paradise and live righteously.
How culture influences one’s world view and individuals interaction with others
There are a number of cultural aspects that do influence the way we interact with other people. Among these aspects include; gender culture, national culture, corporate culture and various communication styles. All these elements influence; our behavior and style, how we go creating friendships, how we solve challenges, problems and conflicts and others. Culture typically consists of such social phenomena as beliefs, ideas, language, and customs. These factors combine to provide members of each society with a set of shared values and beliefs that define how we envision ourselves and our societal groups. Culture significantly influences the way in which we communicate with each other (Saleeby, 2008 p.30).
In Lebanon for example, some cultural aspects may affect ones interaction with the outside world and people from other cultural backgrounds. For instance, pork is also not so popular in Lebanon. This is because it is forbidden under Islamic law. A person who comes from Lebanon will prefer another type of foods to pork. The Lebanese consider eating out a social and almost artistic experience.
Due to this, restaurants usually have a pleasant view, of which Lebanon’s geography affords many. This may affect how a person from Lebanon may prefer his environment to be while taking his or her meals. For instance, I tend to prefer a well-decorated hotel for a meal. Eating in Lebanon is also often tied to family, and hence people almost never eat alone. Often, you will find people preferring to join their families during meals, most often when they are not doing so in hotels (Gualtieri, 2001 p.40).
Lebanon is made up of Christian and Muslims. Most Lebanese people are monotheistic and religious. All Lebanese religions put much emphasis on the afterlife. Individuals are constantly encouraged to live a righteous life and also believe in supernatural beings. Due to this, it is very rare to find a Lebanese who is not religious, and this affects much on his or her view of the world in general. Their values are based on religions. In the case of interaction with other people, a Lebanese is likely to prefer a group of religious people to those who value it less (Almond & Verba, 2015 p.23).
Similarities between Lebanese and Turkish cultures
Lebanese and Turkish cultures have many things in common because they were both colonized by the Ottomans. The Ottomans colonized Lebanon for over 400 years. These similarities include similarities in food and eating habit. Many recipes in Lebanon originate from Turkey. Second is the shisha with is common among the two cultures. Thirdly is the Turkish Coffee Pack, which is found in every Lebanese house. The Lebanese drink this coffee on a daily basis and take it even several times a day (Nasreddine et al., 2006 p.198). Another similarity is in the Language. Some words such as, aslant, Merhaba, fatura, and mesafe, which are also found in Arabic. The Marhaba and fetura mean the bill while masafa or mesefe means distance. It is notable that both Turkish and Lebanese are both good in business. Music, which is an integral part of culture, also cuts across the two cultures. The two cultural groups share rhythm and sounds of their songs. Both countries also have Sunni Muslims, hold a special consideration for the family besides their looks being similar (2017).
Lebanese have a preference for classic hotels. This makes them choosy when it comes to hotels. They prefer hotels owned by their tribe’s men or well-decorated restaurants. The facts that our culture regards socialism, Lebanese only eat at homes or in family groups when away from home. This makes them view individual eating habits of other cultures as weird. The culture of the Lebanese perceives hotels and restaurants as assets and a representation of their culture. Thus their hotels are decorated with their symbols, artifacts, drawings showing their tools and dressing just to mention but a few. They thus invest more in restaurants since they are business oriented.
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Ata, A. W. (1980). Marriage patterns among the Lebanese community in Melbourne. Journal of Sociology, 16(3), 112-113.
Gualtieri, S. (2001). Becoming” white”: Race, religion and the foundations of Syrian/Lebanese ethnicity in the united states. Journal of American Ethnic History, 20(4), 29-58.
Kroeber, A. L., & Kluckhohn, C. (1952). Culture: A critical review of concepts and definitions. Papers. Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University.
Nasreddine, L., Hwalla, N., Sibai, A., Hamzé, M., & Parent-Massin, D. (2006). Food consumption patterns in an adult urban population in Beirut, Lebanon. Public health nutrition, 9(02), 194-203.
Saleeby, J. E. (2008). Examining the relationship between service quality and customer loyalty in Lebanese restaurants (Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University).