Foreign women are required to wear an abaya, but don't need to cover their hair.In recent years it is common to wear Western dress underneath the abaya.Public support for the traditional political/religious structure of the kingdom is so strong that one researcher interviewing Saudis found virtually no support for reforms to secularize the state.Even the small minority of Westernized and liberal Saudis expressed "a desire for the kingdom to remain a Muslim society ruled by an overtly Muslim state." Because of religious restrictions, Saudi culture lacks any diversity of religious expression or buildings but annual festivals such as the Janadriah Festival which celebrates Saudi Culture, custom and handicraft held in a specialized arena just north of Riyadh and public events such as The Annual Book Fair are open to the public and are very popular although policed by the religious police. Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Muhammad's birthday and the Day of Ashura, (an important holiday for Shiites), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale.Saudis (men) tend "to take their time and converse for a bit when meeting".Inquiries "about health and family" are customary, but never about a man's wife, as this "is considered disrespectful." Saudi men are known for the physical affection they express towards total strangers (i.e.In accordance with Wahhabi doctrine, only two religious holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, were publicly recognized, until 2006 when a non-religious holiday, the 23 September national holiday (which commemorates the unification of the kingdom) was reintroduced.Observers have described Saudi Arabian society as deeply religious and deeply conservative.
At special times, men often wear a bisht or mishlah over the thobe.
The most recent ruler or king of Saudi is King Salman Al Saud The Wahhabi Islamic movement, which arose in the 18th century and is sometimes described as austerely puritanical, now predominates in the country.
Following the principle of "enjoining good and forbidding wrong", there are many limitations and prohibitions on behaviour and dress which are strictly enforced both legally and socially, often more so than in other Muslim countries.
These are long white, brown or black cloaks trimmed in gold.
A man's headdress consists of three things: the tagia, a small white cap that keeps the gutra from slipping off the head; the gutra itself, which is a large square of cloth; and the igal, a doubled black cord that holds the gutra in place. The gutra is usually made of cotton and traditionally is either all white or a red and white checked.
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