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Majlis – المجلس

The Emirati Majlis is part of the social life, hospitality customs and habits among the people of the UAE. Elderly people or sheikhs run these traditional guesthouses. These houses are considered a forum for the people of the tribe and all who gather therein. They discuss there daily matters and affairs. Each member of the tribe and community is entitled to attend and give their point of view on certain matters. The owner of the Majlis is usually responsible for paying all of the expenses.

These reception areas are common in many Gulf countries, whereas they are called Al-Diwaniyah in Kuwait.

There are political, social and cultural entities and institutions that bear the name Majlis (meaning council). So the term is used in many countries to denote a variety of political and cultural forums.

Characteristics of the UAE’s Majlis

The Majalis (plural form of majlis) have received great attention from the people of the UAE for achieving interaction and communication between the leader of the tribe and the community.

The owners of Majalis give special attention to their construction, decoration and furnishing. They choose a special location for them within their house, as it is custom to establish a separate entrance. In the past it used to be furnished with soft wicker mats and embroidered sofas and cushions, water jug and a box with small coffee cups. Majalis of merchants used to be furnished more luxurious with sofas, lounges, carpets and opulent curtains.

The Majalis may also be constructed in the shadow of large acacia trees, as Bedouins are lovers of nature.

Visit an Emirati Majlis!

Enjoy traditional Emirati cuisine and conversation in interactive cultural experiences hosted by Emirati presenters inside the traditional majlis of Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The houses are located in Dubai’s historical Al Fahidi neighbourhood.

Guests learn about the Emirati culture and traditions through the shared experience.

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