Saudi Arabia’s weather is more or less uniform throughout the country with a few exceptions in the coastal regions. Harsh climatic conditions prevail throughout the region due to the vast stretch of deserts and rugged mountains. The day temperature in the deserts rise up to 55°C and the night temperature may drop as low as 8°C. The humidity content in the air is very low. Rainfall is scanty and occurs in small gusts of shower only in some regions, which is not enough to sober the harsh climatic conditions of the country. The desert regions experience not only the harsh and dry weather, but also desert storms. Desert storms are real challenge to the people who are caught in them, as they last for days. Sand storms are caused by the tropical continental winds, which blow from the southern part of the country. As compared to the outer desert region, the weather in the inner highland and plateau region is relatively tolerant. The climate in the inner highland regions are cooler and rainfall is also frequent which occur due to tropical winds of the west and southwest. Rainfalls in these parts of the country occur during the summer months.
Saudi Arabia is the birth place of Islam. The majority of the population residing in Saudi Arabia follows Islam. Islam without a doubt is the main religion which is practiced by almost 96% of the total native population. Christianity, Hinduism and Baha’i are the other religions that are followed in Saudi Arabia. Majority of the people are the followers of Sunni Sect. The Saudi Arabian people are divided into three groups – native Arabs, other Arabs and nomadic Arabians. The native belong to western and central Arabia, while the other Arabs refer to the people who have migrated from other Arabian countries. A smaller group of Americans and Asians follow their respective religious customs which constitute a part of the Arab population. The major religious destinations include The Kaba and Black Stone in Mecca, Quba Mosque in Medina, Mount Arafat, Floating Mosque of Jeddah, Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.
Saudi Arabia has very old attributes and traditions, which are derived from the Arab tribal civilization. The society and culture of Saudi Arabia is dominated by the values of Islam and, is a culturally rich country. The beliefs and customs of the society are dominated by Sunni sect of Muslims. The Arabian society welcomes and accepts people from other countries but it affects the social interaction and the marriage issues for the people. The art of calligraphy has a distinct impact of Islam as most of the patterns used follow the style portrayed in Quran. The major festival celebrated in Saudi Arabia is the Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural festival – which is organized twice a year, it portrays a glimpse of their rich past. Daily life of the Arabs is dominated by Islamic observance. Five times each day, Muslims offer prayers throughout the country. Friday being the holiest day for the Muslims, the weekend begins on Thursday for the people. The culture and society of Saudi Arabia has a uniqueness of its own which makes it stand apart in the Muslim world.
The Saudi Arabian food culture is highly influenced by three major traditions – the ancient Arabian spices, nomadic Bedouin style and the food restrictions dictated in Quran. The eating culture is centered around three meals in a day, during which the family sits on a carpet and, there is lavish spread of different variety of dishes. The traditional staple food were – dates, goat, camel, milk, ghee, bread, eggplant, okra, beans, onion, vegetables coriander, meat and fish. People regularly eat at home and start their day by having a breakfast consisting of coffee, dates, yoghurt, jam, bread, eggs or beans. Their lunch consists of mutton or chicken with rice and side dishes of vegetables and salads followed by fresh fruit. The evening meal is usually a lighter version of lunch which includes grain-based dishes with dates and milk. Rice and chicken are the most common food consumed by the people. The Arabic coffee without sugar, but along with spices and cardamom is their national beverage. Some of the most popular dishes of the people here are Al-Kabsa, Al-Mathbi, Harisah, Aysh abu Laham, Muttabag, Mufallaq, Saliq, Mathlat, Al-Mandi, Kubbat Maraq and Kharouf Mahshi. Al-Sayadiah is popular seafood, which is made of boiled fish combined with rice and onions. As stated in the Quran, alcohol and pork is strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia.
The business and economy of Saudi Arabia is largely governed by the country’s oil industry. Despite oil being the chief revenue earning industry in the country, the employment opportunities are very limited in this sector. Before the discovery of oil, fishing and agriculture were the sole revenue generators of Saudi Arabia. Only 10% of the country’s workforce is employed in the agricultural and fishing sector. Although the country is the largest exporter of oil, it is also the biggest importer of foodstuff. Saudi Arabia’s economy and business still depends majorly on oil exportation for generating revenue. Over the last few decades the country has witnessed considerable financial development due to the rise in prices of oil. The government is attempting to promote growth in private sector by privatizing industries like power and telecommunications.
In Saudi Arabia education is free at all levels. The school system is composed of elementary, intermediate and secondary schools. The education system has greatly developed over the years providing quality and free education to one and all. A major part of the curriculum at all levels is devoted to Islam and at the secondary level students can follow either a religious or a technical track. The modern educational system provides quality education in the diverse field of arts and sciences, which helps the citizens in life and work in a global economy. The education system of the country includes 24 public and 8 private universities; 25,000 schools and a large number of colleges and institutions which is open for all the citizens, providing them with free education and books. Some of the famous schools and colleges of Saudi Arabia are Taif Academy, Asir Academy, Yanbu international school, the college of Teachers at Al Jouf, Effat College and the Institution of Public Administration.
The Saudi Arabia health care sector is one of the most highly developing sectors, with vast economic resources being devoted towards providing safe and better medical facilities for all its citizens. Over the years, the health care facilities have improved due to the opening of various new medical institutions with latest state of the art facilities. King Abdul-Aziz took the earliest initiatives to establish free health care opportunities for both its citizens as well as the pilgrims coming from different parts of the world, who came to visit the religious sites in the kingdom. Due to the latest medical facilities, once-endemic diseases like malaria and smallpox are now virtually eradicated. Saudi’s have access to a national network of thousands of hospitals and clinics and can obtain any specialized medical treatment that they need including open heart surgery and organ transplant from the best professional experts. The medications are also available to the patients at a very low cost. The government also sponsors a wide range of social service programs aimed basically at ensuring that every citizen has a decent standard of living. The Saudi government has encouraged more and more citizens to take up medical studies and health care to provide better health care facilities for the people.
The flora and fauna of Saudi Arabia largely depends on the climatic conditions and the vegetation of the place. The plants and animals found here are so featured that they easily adapt to the harsh weather conditions. Rainfall is very scarce in the country and one of the major reasons being that the vegetation in the country is absent. In the coastal regions the vegetation is comparatively high due to the high level of humidity. The Southern Asir region has grasslands and trees, which make this region unique. The most common plant found in the country is the date palm and most of the date palms are grown in the Al-Sharquiya province. Camel is the most common animal found in the country, which is domesticated by the people here, especially the Bedouin tribes. The arid region has been home to a number of different species of fauna, which include hyenas, panthers, wildcats, ibexes, sand rats, hedgehogs, jerboas, wolves, hares, flamingos, pelicans and bustards. A variety of reptiles and snakes are also found in the country, usually lingering around the desert or the arid landscapes.