Local traditions and culture in Kuwait

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Kuwait

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    Ramadan

    by KeithFitzgerald Written Oct 2, 2008

    If you are not a Muslim, then plan your travel to Kuwait outside of the Holy Month of Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan, everything pretty much is closed from dawn until dusk. If you are in Kuwait during Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public out of respect for the religion. Otherwise, you might find yourself being detained for doing this.

    Loosen up and you'll enjoy the country's culture and people. I had many Kuwaiti friends and basically folks, we're all the same. We enjoy travel, family, parties and adventure. You'll do well by treating everyone...everywhere you go as a brother or sister, which goes a long way in establishing lasting friendships and making the world a friendlier place, one person at a time.

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    Foreign Workers

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 20, 2008

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    Foreign workers -- or "third country nationals" -- make up a huge percentage of the population of Kuwait. By some estimates, as many as 1/2 of Kuwait's 3 million people are foreigners. Of these foreigners, many do the jobs that Kuwaitis traditionally find demeaning such as service work (hotel workers, maids, cooks, cleaning people) and construction (masonry, electrical, carpentry, etc). While there are a large number of British and Americans working in the oil industry, the other foreigners are mainly Thai, Indian, Pakistani, and Afghani.

    Besides the Kuwait state oil companies (http://www.naukrihub.com/overseas-jobs/gulf/kuwait/oil-gas.html), the following foreign companies have oil interests in Kuwait:

    British Petroleum, Chevron, Getty Oil, Gulf Oil, Japan's Arabian Oil Co. (AOC), Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, Shell International Petroleum, Texaco, and Total.

    TCN construction workers
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    Arabic Hospitality

    by isildur06 Updated Apr 16, 2008

    As being guest in a house or in an event, Arabs will offer you coffee and dates. Arabic coffee has quite a bitter taste, served in small glass cups. Traditionally they will keep filling your glass until you say you have it enough. Shaking the glass means you don't want more.

    I promised him I would make him famous

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  • HOW DO YOU CALL THEM?

    by pangtidor Updated Sep 16, 2007

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    Kuwait`s young generation is westernized rapidly all over the country. Nevertheless, they still keep some of the basic respect toward the elders in their family. SIR (male) and MADAM/MA`AM (female) will be used in formal setting. For the local people, they have their unique way to call and to be called, a common way in Arab countries too. The male will be happy to be called as `THE FATHER OF (HIS ELDEST SON/DAUGHTER NAME,DAUGHTER NAME WHEN THEY DON`T HAVE ANY SONS.) and the female will be happy to be called as `THE MOTHER OF (HER ELDEST SON/DAUGHTER NAME). For example : a couple have many kids and their eldest one`s name is Mohammad. You may call the father as BU MOHAMMAD (MOHAMMAD`S DAD) and the mother as UM MOHAMMAD (MOHAMMAD`S MOM). You may ask their eldest son/daughter name to call them so and they will be happy to tell you. For the very old ones (above 70s), you may call the male as HAJJEE and the female as HAJJEE`AH. But some of the old ones will prefer to be called after their eldest child. The single ones like to be called by their own names. You may find others call the male as BROTHER and the female as SISTER for casual settings.

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    W.I.B. - Women in Black!

    by Hexepatty Updated Jun 16, 2007

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    Remember the movie Men in Black? (MIB) Well, Kuwait is the country of W.I.B. I know I'm being a tad profane and less than PC, but the truth is, I think Allah - in light of Global Warming - would be a tad forgiving if the women in Kuwait chose a somewhat lighter color. Gotta love the JPG of the women shopping for crocs. I hope they come in black. On the plus side: I bet their skin cancer incident rate is REAL low... (See? I'm making lemonaid outta lemons here!)

    I miss women wearing gloves, frankly... Wonder what they wear underneath.... These ladies wore WONDEROUS perfumes!

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  • Dress Codes In Kuwait

    by pangtidor Written Apr 22, 2007

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    The dress codes of the local will be the most concerned one for everybody whenever they will travel to a Middle East country. As one of The Middle East countries, dress codes in Kuwait could be seen as conservative one. YOU DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE DRESS CODES IN HERE. Actually, the dress you may wear in Kuwait will be the same as the dress in other countries. No specific rules on how you dress in here like in KSA. The thing is, the perceptions of Kuwait`s people are different. Many young ones are `signature brand fashion conscious`and `westernizing` where as some conservative ones are still proud with their traditional custom. You can still see the women with ABBAYA (totally covered with a long black gown from the head to toe, only eyes exposed) and the men with DISDASYA (long white gown with the white head cover). On the other hand, you will be surprised how well the Kuwaities know the international`s fashion best brands, how good they do update the fashion trend, how deep their love to fashion shoppings and how fascinating the women are with the make ups. You may wear almost all kind of dress to the parties and the malls. The women`s hall will be separated from the men`s in most of the private parties. However, DO NOT WEAR THE SUPER MINI DRESSES ON THE STREETS AN BIKINIS AT THE PUBLIC BEACHES TO AVOID THE VERY INCONVINIENT LOOKS OF OTHERS. Knee-length shorts and sleeveless are still acceptable anywhere in Kuwait. Be aware of the Kuwait`s weather, you may need thick winter clothes sometimes.

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  • Kuwait Greetings, Rules for men and women

    by pangtidor Written Dec 24, 2006

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    Whenever you visit a house or enter any rooms here, great anybody in the room.It will be greatly appreciated.ASSALAMUALAIKUM is the common greeting in here.It means PEACE UPON YOU.You may answer WALAIKUMSALAM,means PEACE UPON YOU TOO.You may see them kissing each other by pressing each other cheeks against each other`s with the kissing sounds both left and right.Men do the same to the men, sometimes the man will kiss the elder ones` nose.MEN SHOULD NOT KISS WOMEN IN PUBLIC, unless it will be their close relatives.When a man offer his hand to shake woman`s hands, sometimes it will be rejected if she thinks it is inappropriate.Don`t be offended.
    Women and men guest rooms will be separated for the party.In some waiting rooms,there will be separated rooms for women and men.A strange man doesnt suppose to sit beside a woman with Abaya (black long gown with the head and/or face cover).Women have to sit in the front side of the passenger seats in the buses.Unmarried couple cant book a hotel room here.If you are going to stay here for longer period of time, you have to have your marriage certificate translated in arabic.You have to show it to rent a family flat.
    Unmarried couple kissing passionately in public can be caught by police and sent to the jail.:-))
    When you leave,you may say MAASALAMAH.It will be a common greeting here.There are many arabic greetings which are used in here but it will be complicated to those who can`t speak arabic.The way they talk to women will be different than they do to men.Actually,if you know the meanings of arabic greetings, you may be surprised.They will spend 1-2minutes to greet each other.All will be full of wishes!!Peace upon you, God will protect your way, hope you will reach your destination safely, hope you won`t see any bad things on your way home, hope your family will be in good health, God bless you.For the ones who can`t speak arabic,ASSALAMUALAIKUM will be a pleasant surprise for them.

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    Diwaniya - Phase III

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Nov 13, 2005

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    After everyone finishes dinner, people will start to wander outside to the smoking tent. If your host has lots of money, this is more like a smoking house, but we'll call it a tent to make him happy...

    Again, there are couches in a huge crescent moon shape -- like this ). Like the other parts of the evening, the host sits in the center with the senior guests nearby and the lower ranking guests toward the ends.

    Here everyone may smoke cigarettes or shisha (water pipes). Shisha smoke is sweetly flavored, and much more mild than regular smoke. Just ask the servant for a shisha, and he'll bring one of these monstrous water-filled bongs. A little tobacco and a few hot coals and you're ready to go. Just suck hard enough to blow bubbles in the water.

    After an hour so so of smoking and socializing, the host will eventually tire. When he gets up, it's time to leave. Everyone will pay their respects to him on their way out, and he'll be the last to go.

    Smoking at the diwaniya
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    Dishdash - traditional Islamic clothing

    by Ewingjr98 Written Sep 11, 2005

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    The traditional clothing of the Islamic people in Kuwait, and other Arab nations, is called the dishdash. In Kuwait, it is always a long white gown, usually with a white head covering and sandals. This is the ideal outfit to keep you cool when the temps get above 120 degrees F!

    This guy isn't happy!

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    The Diwaniya - Phase II

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 11, 2005

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    The second stage of a diwaniya evening is dinner. After all of the guests have arrived and had a good chance to introduce themselves and get settled in, the host will stand and head to a separate dining room.

    Again, this room is comprised of a large U-shaped table. The host will sit at the center of the base of the U, with guests seating themselves roughly according to social status. The dinner will consist of all kinds of meat, rice, snacks, salad, pastas, and all sorts of odds and ends. While the non-Arab dishes such as pasta are served with a spoon, the traditional Arab items are served with the hands... just grab a handful of lamb or beef and toss it on your plate. Don't be surprised by the lamb's head. That is just a traditional sign that the host respects you enough to present the entire animal.

    After dinner we had some great deserts including ice cream and small pastries. The ice cream comes in a log that you have to cut with a knife. If was very, very thick and stringy -- very different texture from American ice cream, but similar taste.

    Dinner only lasts about 20-30 minutes, not nearly enough time to sample all of the wonderful dishes. When the host gets up to leave, it's time to go!

    Back to the main sitting area just until everyone finishes. Here you can get a glass of hot tea or some water while you wait.

    Another lamb head...
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    The Diwaniya - Phase I

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Aug 11, 2005

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    One great Kuwaiti custom is the diwaniya -- or "gathering." It is typically a weekly event giving men the opportunity to discuss business, socialize with other men, or just look important by hanging out with the host. I have only attended one diwaniya, so I can just share my first-hand experiences... I'm no diwaniya expert.

    The diwaniya had three "phases" to the evening. Phase I was the arrival of the guests and greeting of the host. Phase II was a quick dinner, and Phase III was an extended evening of smoking tobacco.

    The evening begins in the diwaniya facility separate from the main house. The front room is a very large U shape with couches along sides of the U. You enter the room from the open end of the U and go straight to the host to greet him and thank him for the invitation. Afterwards, you will go around to every other person in attendance to shake their hands, then you can have a seat.

    For the next hour or longer, you can chat, sample a variety of drinks (including some great fruit juices and teas) and wait for the other guests to arrive. As they arrive, they will also greet the host then greet the others in attendance. As people seat themselves, they generally sit in order of social status with the people higher in society near the host.

    Early  in the evening
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  • Do not make a lot of eye...

    by jomlin Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Do not make a lot of eye contact with women. Do not entend your hand for a handshake with women.

    Mens hand shakes are not firm. Slow down. They are not in a hurry....unless they are driving.

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