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Friday market brings together shoppers from all walks of life

By Jocelyn Cheok Ieng Chau - Dec 02,2021 - Last updated at Dec 04,2021

Shoppers at the Friday market on Thursday evening in downtown Amman (Photo by Jocelyn Cheok Ieng Chau)

AMMAN — Every Thursday evening and Friday, taxis and luxury cars can be seen dropping people off outside the Friday market located in Ras Al Ain in Amman's downtown, while families and tourists walk out with a handful of shopping bags. 

The market has become a fashion paradise and a tourist attraction for many. It has also transformed into a cultural meeting place, attracting dozens from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. 

A vendor named Salman who has been selling clothes at the Friday market for two years said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was actually less business. 

However, the pandemic left many Jordanians with less money or even out of work, so more people have resorted to thrift shopping and the Friday market, which sells more affordable items, he said. 

He also noted that thrift shopping has become a culture even for more well-off people who come to the Friday market for low-cost, affordable designer brands. 

On the impact of the pandemic on business and sales, Salman noted that for a long period of time amid curfews, the market was closed and there was no business.

Suzan, a regular at the Friday market, said: “I don’t come here every Friday, but when I have time, I like to spend time here. I like the shoes here, especially since you can always find brand-new ones with something like JD5. They have good leather here as well”. 

She added that she is a single mother of four boys and used to buy things for them at the market.

“I save the money for more important things such as cars and apartment rent — it helps, I believe. If there was no Friday market, it would be very expensive and very difficult,” she said. 

Friday market has also become a popular spot for international students who come to study Arabic in Jordan and want to explore the local culture and practise their Arabic. 

Camille Mola, an Arabic student in Amman from France, said that she would come to the market once a month to mingle with locals and learn how to bargain in Arabic. 

“I like how nice people are here and I like how it is a mix of people from different cultures and backgrounds: foreigners, locals, rich, poor — everyone meeting at the same spot at the same time,” Mola said. 

She added that there is a similar flea market scene back home in Toulouse, France, where most of the markets are open once a week in an open-space with people from all over the world.

Martha Gosling, a student from the UK who is currently on her Arabic exchange programme in Jordan, shared a similar thought on the Friday market.

“It is a good way to see locals, to see local vendors and to support them. It is also interesting to see various aspects of Jordanian culture such as bargaining for items in Arabic,” Gosling said. 

“In my university town in Scotland, there are a lot of charity shops which are popular among students as well as locals. It is a good way to save money and to help a good cause — it means you are not contributing to fast fashion; you’re helping to be more eco-friendly by re-using pre-loved items,” Martha added, showing her support to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way of shopping. 

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