Jordan Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by machomikemd
  • Local Customs
    by machomikemd
  • Local Customs
    by machomikemd

Jordan Local Customs

  • Covering Up

    Petra Local Customs

    Petra is very popular tourist site also for the local Jordanians as well as for the other neighboring countries, you will see lots of Muslims dressed with their tradition clots, however, for westerners there is no any real restrictions, or at list I didn't saw any, maybe they wouldn't like it if you hang out with a bikini here, but on the hot days...

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  • Arab Hospitality

    An Egyptian friend of mine once said, "Sometimes we think we treat foreigners better than we treat each other."A couple of stories from my trip to Jordan.A invitation to dinnerMy driver for the week, Jihad, possibly because he was amazed at my ability to sing along to parts of the famous Lebanese pop song "The Hat is Yours" (Habbeetik) on the...

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  • Marriages

    The first impressions confirmed immediately the social opening of Jordan culture.Middle class marriages take place in the hotel, and men and woman celebrate in a rather "western" party, where the presence of foreigners does not worry anyone. By the contrary, they seemed pleased to share the joy.

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  • Respect the differences

    Despite all the tolerance that is its landmark, Jordan is a muslim country, where many people defend the religious restrictions and cultural uses. Mixing with other tourists is common behaviour, sometimes with a discreet reserve. However, that's not hard to accept and respect it.

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  • RIGHT HAND AND LEFT HAND

    When in Jordan or any Moslem country you must eat with the right hand, drink with the right hand and use the right hand when being introduced. The left hand is used for cleaning yourself after visiting the toilet and it would be considered extremely offensive if you used your left hand for eating. The Moslems believe that Satan uses the left hand...

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  • Eating with locals the traditional way

    If you are invited to visit locals in small villages they will probably follow age old customs, which will mean that the men will eat together, and the women will eat separately, sometimes after the men. But being a foreign guest they may make allowances and your wife or girlfriend mught end up eating with the menfolk.

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  • Language time

    Bear in mind that in Jordan They speak Arabic.They have different letters They write and read from right to left,Here are some handy phrases and words (pronounciation) :Hello : MarhabaHow are you : Ki fakI am fine : al hamid lil lahThanks very much : shokran ktiryou are welcome : AfwanMoney : Masarifar : ba'eedNear : AreebNice : Hilo ,JamilDelicous...

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  • Religious Practices

    More than 90% of Jordanians are of Islamic Faith. There are many important Christian sites in Jordan which is very popular with tourists. There are also plenty Islamic Religious sites in Jordan (see website mentioned).As in other Muslim countries, it is important to respect the religion. Women do dress conservatively, so do men. When using taxis,...

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  • Visiting a Jordanian household

    If you are invited for a meal, one usually takes a small gift for the household.You can take flowers, chocolates, biscuits or Arab pastries. Remember that it is not really polite to take something that the household would consider as being very expensive.The usual way to offer a gift like this is to hand it over as soon as you possibly can. Just...

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  • BEDOUIN TENTS

    In Wadi Rum you may find these brown tents scattered on the landscape. They are woven by the Bedouin women using the goats’ hair. Goat’s hair shrinks when is wet so it blocks the cold air from outside in winter. However when it is dry, the fabric sags appearing “holes” everywhere which let the breeze pass. A common tent is usually 30 -40 metres...

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  • Water pipes!

    Ok, ok, I have to admit it: Petra beer is good but in a Muslim country like Jordan it is not easy to find everywhere! But there are some places with good fruit juices, mint tea aaaand water pipes. I don’t smoke (I am only a bloody passive smoker!!!!) but I find smoking narguile very relaxing :-) After a very traumatic “first time” in a men's social...

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  • A Sweet tooth

    I will go back to Jordan for konafah (k’naffy). This is a wonderful sweet confectionary mad of goat’s milk cheese, topped with phyllo and crushed pistachio, then warm syrup is poured over. It is served warm and one of the most wonderful sweets I ever had! There are more of these wonderfully freshly made sweet stuff mad in those big round tins!There...

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  • Tipping

    After Egypt and bakeesh left, right and centre, we understood that tipping in Jordan was appreciated but not obligatory. Our driver kept telling us Jordan was expensive and, I may have misunderstood, petrol was 1JD a litre - whereas it is half a JD. When we left one JD for our guide at Jerash, he was offended, asked if we knew what it was and gave...

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  • Barbers

    There are many barber shops in every town I visited in Jordan. Like in North Africa, India, Oman, Turkey etc, I never had to shave whilst in Jordan.It is always a nice experience to get a very smooth shave by these masters with the blade.

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  • Coffee & Tea

    Coffee (Turkish coffee) is a strong boiled brew of cardamom flavoured coffee. It is usually served in small cups. You have to inform the waiter how you sweet you like your coffee, as it is prepared with sugar. Let it settle before drinking, and do not drink the thick, muddy ‘sediment’.Tea (shy) is sweet, often flavoured with mint and usually served...

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  • Nargileh/Argileh

    I think Jordanian men are addicted to caffeine and nicotine :-) Other than normal cigarettes the nargileh (hubbly-bubbly) is a very popular local custom. You usually find these in coffee shops, where you can order a prepared water pipe, and a flavour of your choice. It is a very relaxing and sociable experience.

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  • Alcohol in Jordan

    As Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country alcohol is not widely available in the country and its consumption is limited almost exclusively to tourists. Prices are very high and availability is restricted to expensive restaurants, up-market hotels and the occasional liquor store. Beer appears to be the most popular alcoholic drink, with Amstel the...

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  • Smoke shisha.

    The waterpipe, also called shisha is very popular in Jordan and you see people smoking it in cafes everywhere.It's probaply the lack of alcohol that is partly due to it's popularity, but it is also a very social activity and even if i have never smokes cigarettes in my life, i do enjoy to smoke a shisha when i am in this part of the world.The...

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  • Hospitality

    The hospitality is a real and important value in Jordan. Any invitation (other one than that purely commercial) must be handled as such. To refuse a sincere invitation is possible, but be aware that it is necessary to respect your interlocutor by putting to it right and polite forms, which could be not so natural for a Westerner.

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  • THE CAMEL - PART 2

    OK. Let’s stay focused here people. Now for part 2 about the most useful, yet despicably foul animals in the world. For those keeping up, we are still on the Arabian Camel with 1 hump. That hump is were these guys store their food so to speak. They can live off their stored fat for week! When they do start to run out their hump droops to the side....

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  • THE CAMEL - PART 1

    Camels are know as the ‘Ships of the Desert’ and rightfully so. They can easily survive where other animals cannot. They are amazing strong, versatile, useful, but inherently vile and evil beasts. Just remember that they are foul tempered and will happily bite you and/or spit in your face. Just keep to the sides or rear and you will be fine. There...

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  • You too will be hungry during Ramadan

    Good luck eating here during Ramadan. During daylight hours (starting before 6am), restaurants are shut down, and you'll be reduced to scavenging mini grocery stores or eating at tourist only places. Even if you want to respect the Muslim practice of not eating during daylight, which is a nice thing to do as a curtesy if for no other reason, you'll...

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  • Currency

    Local Currency of Jordan is Jordanian Dinnar or in short JOD.Current rate (for the date of writing this tip) is: 1 JOD = 1.4 US $ 1 JOD = 5.74 NIS (Israeli shekel)If you want to exchange money you can do it both in the city of Eilat or at the Jordanian termonal. As far as i know the rate at the Jordanian side may be a bit better although if you go...

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  • King Abdullah II

    You will see King Abdullah's beatific smile beaming down at you from posters all over Jordan. He gets everywhere, and on everything. You'll see King Abdullah in modern Western business suit, King Abdullah in traditional bedouin headdress, King Abdullah in local football kit, King Abdullah in army uniform with many medals of honor, King Abdullah in...

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  • Christian/Arab Relations

    One day my driver, Jihad, a Muslim with a very obviously Muslim name, asked me if it was ok for him to take a detour, because his child had called in sick at school and he needed to be picked up. I said sure. The school was near Amman, out of the way in the countryside. As we approached it I felt it looked strangely familiar. As we entered the...

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  • Jordanian cuisine

    Mansaf is a pyramid of tangy aged yogurt or whey-drenched rice with a deflectable core of tender lamb chunks, garnished with toasted almonds. It is one of Jordan's most important dishes.

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  • traditional dress code

    This dress code is what women usually wear in Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries. Although, some women don't cover their hair with a head scarf, most of them do. It is advised to dress with modesty.

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  • Men and women don't touch

    It is very important to remember that men and women do not touch each other unless one is the parent or the spouse.Some people have taken on western ways, but it is the custom that a woman not shake hands when meeting a man.

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  • Tea

    Tea is something jordanians drink all the time. And it's part of their culture. You wil be offered in many places a glass of delicious tea with mint, specially in shops. Take it, otherwise it will be taken as an unpolite gesture. Once you've finished the glass of tea, you will be offered another one. But in this case you can just say "No thanks" or...

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  • In Petra

    Petra is another stunning place in Jordanand another MUST SEE. You can rich there on horseback, or by a sort of coach. I've taken this photo in a cavern, they say in ancient times, people live there.

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  • In beduin's tent

    When visiting Wadi Rum, we had a chance to see a beduin tent inside.Locals presented us some of their habits and costums.We had a great time there.

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  • Beduins

    Along the road toward the Dead Sea you can see many Beduins tend that living like Burckhardt descibed in his diary in the 19th century.

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  • Music in the Roman Theatre

    When you visit in Jerash the South Theatre is a great experience to hear the music play from this Jordanian-Scottish band. They play classic musics and Jordanian ones. It is a great experience to try the wonderful amplification of the theatre!!!

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  • Go with the flow!

    It happened to be my birthday while we were in Amman. On our last evening, which was my birthday, we went out as a group of Canadians for dinner. At the end, a birthday cake showed up for me! Our waiter insisted on feeding me a bite of cake and someone else insisted on taking a picture.

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  • Gold for a bride

    A woman's "capital" is the gold that she owns. She can be given small pieces when she is a girl, but usually a serious collection of gold jewellery starts when she gets married.She receives gold from her husband as a "settlement" and often gold from her family as well. This is given at the betrothal ceremony and more is offered at the wedding.A...

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  • Coffee drinking

    If you are offered coffee by anybody Bedouin related, in which I include the whole population of south Jordan, you should "shake the cup" when you give it back. Not doing so is considered to mean that you want some more! Just tilt it two or three times, slightly and quickly from side to side, holding it between finger and thumb. When you arrive...

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  • Tea drinking

    Drinking tea : this is all over! It is polite to accept a second glass: if you don't want it, then you should smile and have a reason for not accepting. You can refuse a third glass if you want to, put your glass back on the tray, and when somebody prepares to pour you some more, place your hand palm down flat over the top of the glass.

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  • Greeting people

    Men should wait for a Arab woman to offer her hand and women should similarly wait for a Arab man to offer his. Many women prefer to avoid touching a man they do not know well. Many men avoid touching a woman at all if she is not related to them, in that case they may offer an elbow (!) which you should try to shake more or less as if it was a...

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  • When you are invited to somebody's house

    If you are invited for a meal, one usually takes a small gift for the household. Take something like flowers, chocolates, biscuits or Arab pastries. Remember that it is not really polite to take something that the household would consider as being very expensive.Hand over your gift as soon as you possibly can murmuring "this is for the house" or...

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  • Invitations for a Cup of Tea

    If you are travelling through Jordan you'll be often invited by locals for a cup of tea. Don't decline! It is also understood as offense if you want to pay for it afterwards.

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  • Ask Locals about the Way

    Outside of Amman, where English is widely spoken you'll probably have to face language barriers. Especially asking locals for the way can easily led to misunderstandings, because they use also different gestures. Instead of pointing in a direction, they will take your hands and make the movements you ought to make to steer your vehicle into the...

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  • By the Side of the Road: Meeting Locals

    If you're taking a tour of Jordan, you will see a lot of sights like this. This is a Bedouin-style tent, although this particular group of Bedouin lived in the house in the background and only used the tent for milking and naps during the day. I don't know how I feel about tour groups that pull over and ask to check out a Bedouin tent. The fact is...

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  • Modesty and Dress

    As I assume is the case in most Islamic countries, modesty, particularly for women, is a key issue. Lots of tourists show up at churches or mosques in inappropriate clothing (definitely shorts, but often short sleeves as well). While they often get in to the holy sites, people I've met seem to resent this behavior, and it doesn't make a terrific...

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  • Eating "loz akhdar" is a regional...

    Loz akhdar, or fuzzy green almonds, are a delicacy that is only available for a few weeks each spring, say from about mid-March until late April. Watch for the mounds of fuzzy, green (immature) almonds to appear at vegetable stands or on vendor carts on the street, and buy a few to try. Wash them thoroughly, then either sprinkle salt on them or...

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  • The people love their king

    The people love their king. And the late king Hussein is still to be seen on posters everywhere. Kind Abdullah is equally loved. Many hospitals and schools are named after them.

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Jordan Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Jordan local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Jordan sightseeing.
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