Culture & Identity of Iraq
WARNING: Iraq is currently unstable, please
read this travel warning before going!
For most foreigners, the way of life in Iraq is pictured as a bleak existence where
the people are hidden inside to avoid violence and war. However, much of violence
in the country is now subdued and when that violence does erupt, it often does as
a political statement, which means it is not directed as the overwhelming majority
of the people. For this majority, life in Iraq is getting back to normal as people
go to work or school during the days, spent time with family or friends evenings,
and religion contributes to the culture and way of life.
Despite the returning normalcy in Iraq, the country remains fairly diverse in ethnicity,
geography, jobs, politics, and the degree of religious observance. About two thirds
of the population is urbanized, while many of the remaining third hold jobs in agriculture.
There is also a significant Kurdish population in the country, which has a different
culture and lifestyle from that of the ethnically Arab Iraqis.
For most Iraqis the lifestyle begins with religion and community. The people's
Islamic faith greatly dictates working hours and culture. Friday is the holy day
in Islam so Fridays are off of work as are Thursday afternoons. Many people also
participate in the five daily prayers required by Islam, giving more structure to
their daily schedule.