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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.
Updated Aug 11, 2005
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.
Written Aug 24, 2002
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