While nearly everyone is Muslim, the people are divided ethnically, or culturally,
as many Palestinians who have fled from Israel have settled in Jordan. However,
few have settled permanently so there hasn't yet been much integration between
the two cultures. They tend to view each other as friends and brothers, but not
as one people. This means there is a significantly different lifestyle between the
two groups, especially considering relatively few of the Palestinians have settled
down in the country so housing tends to be fairly basic and community is the center
Market in Amman
No matter a person's ethnicity or way of life, the people in Jordan tend to
live their lives based on family, friends, community, and only secondary on religion.
Religion is important to varying degrees for the people, but it has greatly contributed
to the culture in the way of dress, food, dating, and daily life.
Jordanians tend to identify as either Jordanian or Palestinian, both of which are
defined by religion, culture, history, and to a degree ethnicity. Both groups of
people are Arabs and both are Muslim, but the two cultures and histories are significantly
different. Their ethnicities and accents are also slightly varied. The most striking
difference for an outsider is in the way they dress; the Palestinians often wear
a black and white checkered keffiyeh (head scarf), while the Jordanians
generally wear a red and white checkered keffiyeh.
This identity is at the root of how each person defines him or herself, particularly
the Palestinians; cities, regions, and the country are divided by the two groups.
They get along fine, but the Palestinians view Jordan as
a temporary home and the Jordanians view the Palestinians as a friend and neighbor
who needs a place to stay.