Saudi Arabia Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by jayjayc
  • Saudi men at the Souq
    Saudi men at the Souq
    by mikey_e
  • Architectural ruins in Riyadh
    Architectural ruins in Riyadh
    by mikey_e

Saudi Arabia Local Customs

  • Holy Month of Ramadan

    Jiddah Local Customs

    ... you are either an invited guest in the Kingdom or by circumstance due to lack of opportunities, means, you were not forced directly by the host country to come here, therefore, you are subject to the prevailing laws. You should be aware of the laws and be subject to it, and be sensitive to the Kingdom's local customs & traditions. ... to be...

    more
  • Mosques/Masjid

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Jeddah one of the famous cities in which the magnificence of the deep rooted past combines with the originality of the present with all its modernity. This allowed Jeddah to preserve its distinguished characteristic as a modern city at par with its equivalent international cities.

    more
  • Local dress/Tradional wear

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Saudis are very proud of their clothing traditions, and it is very common to see Saudi men, young and old, wearing the thobe, a long shirt that goes from the shoulders to the ankles. While it may be easy to dismiss all thobes as looking alike, there are a variety of different styles and types, some of which are associated with specific countries or...

    more
  • Welcoming New babies to the World

    Jiddah Local Customs

    i guess every reader is aware that Saudia has got the highest birth rate in the world. perhaps Saudis are so proud of it, being the first generator (or exporter,lol) of human babies and resources, well at least we're the first in something! In Hijaz or the western region, receiving a new a newborn baby is something everyone may talk about...

    more
  • Housing Architect.

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Perhaps nothing is a better illustration of the connections between Jeddah and Yemen (and the lack of historical ones between Jeddah and Nejd) than the city's architecture. There are many buildings that are several stories high in the traditional areas of Jeddah, mirroring the same construction technology that allowed for the mud skyscrapers of...

    more
  • Religion/History/Culture

    Jiddah Local Customs

    I recently have been to a Sufi service which is quite commong among the Sufi community men and women respectively. Since it's mainly a segregated culture when it comes to conducting such services, it's always women-only the events i attend. i've been to several religious services, Anglican, Catholic, Hindu and some few spiritual services while...

    more
  • Wearing the veil.

    Jiddah Local Customs

    To cover or not to cover, that is the Western woman's question. Well, the first 3/4 of my trip I did not cover my head. The last 1/4 of my trip I did. I found that I was a lot more respected, even spoken to in Arabic and blended in much better when I covered my head. It is your own choice obviously, but always bring a scarf with you in your purse...

    more
  • Eating Customs&Manners

    Jiddah Local Customs

    although i have spent most of my life in jeddah, i never thought of what the national dish could be or what jeddawi people eat in everyday life. perhaps i take everything for granted when it comes to food; if it's available, i just eat. if it's not, i just go to bed, easygoing! surprisingly, there is no 'saudi' dish that is considered national or...

    more
  • Prayertime Retreat

    Jiddah Local Customs

    This is what I miss most since I left home to have my break time 4 times per working day. This comes from the daily Five Islamic Prayers; Fajr (dawn), Dhohor (noon), Asr (late afternoon), Maghrib (sunset), and Isha (evening). Since there are almost two shifts in private sectors, like restaurants, shopping malls, banks and hospitals, so the staff...

    more
  • Old DownTown

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Perhaps the most shocking thing to see in a city such as Jeddah is the general lack of investment in any sort of restoration or upkeep. On the one hand, urban development and urban design do not favour the renaissance of old areas: if you want to erect a new store, you simply add to the urban sprawl and build it somewhere with an empty plot of...

    more
  • Schools/ Education system

    Jiddah Local Customs

    I liked 2 listen how school was introduced 2 Saudi Arabia & when women officially were given the right to education. Sixty yrs ago,only boys,against housekeeper girls,used 2 attend group studies called Halaqa or circle. A group of 10 or so formed a circle 2 learn reading, writing & math. This was called Katateeb or informal school. Queen Effat,a...

    more
  • Wedding Customs

    Jiddah Local Customs

    this seems to be a long tradition that has originated in arabia but certainly not from jeddah. it's a mixture of henna and water i think. then, it's stirred and mixed in a bowl to make it a thick texture and then poured into a materlia tube, ready for squeezing and drawing. i always hated the smell of henna and the colour it gets when it starts to...

    more
  • Eid Celebrations

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Eid means an annual event to be remembered by public. Jeddah celebrates two official Eids every year; Eid al Fiter and Eid al Ad'ha. The first means the celebrationf of breaking the fast, and the other is the celebration of devotion. Eid al Fiter is celebrated right after the end of Ramadan. On the first day of Eid, there is one big mosque...

    more
  • Greetings customs

    Jiddah Local Customs

    For both women and men, this greeting is common. It's to touch cheek by cheek three times on the right, one time on the left, no kissing, as one shakes hands. This greeting is only common among men to men, or women to women. Unless if women and men are relatives (brother, father, unkle, nephew only).

    more
  • Condolence Customs

    Jiddah Local Customs

    its divided into 2 steps:The burial: the deceased, Islamically, should be buried ASAP as a sign of honouring them by giving them home. the deceased's body must be washed in a certain way by family members or as recommended in their will, and dressed in a white towel, be brought to a mosque to be prayed upon, &held for burial. The Consolation:...

    more
  • Services At The Corniche

    Jiddah Local Customs

    In Jeddah, a lot of families/friends have picnics in the evenings (once the sun sets it gets a bit cooler). Common sites are: around the monuments, sculptures and grassy median strips, and also along the roadsides on undeveloped land.

    more
  • Local Drinks

    Jiddah Local Customs

    The drink of choice in Jeddah seems to be freshly made juice. There are juice stands everywhere, and prices start at about SR 3 a glass. You choose your own fruit combinations. My favourite is strawberry, mango, kiwifruit, pinapple, lime, papaya and mint. A good way to get in your 5+ a day!!

    more
  • I thought this was a lovely video

    YouTube is a great wee site where we can watch videos and see things from around the world. This little documentary was really nicely shot of a Saudi Arabian housewife who opened her home to public to give the world a glimpse of her life.

    more
  • Wearing the head covers for women.

    In Saudi Arabia we(as women)wear the (Abayah)it`s like an over dress worn over clothes when we need to go out,but inside the homes(among women)we tend to take it off.The head scarf is called(Tarha),usually it comes as a set with the Abayah....and we have it either as (custum made) or (ready to wear),,it also has trends and styles,few years back it...

    more
  • The Hajj

    Every year , depending on the lunar calendar, pilgrims come in their millions to do the pilgrimage and umrah in the holy towns of Mecca and Medina. There are pre-determined points at which the pilgrim must enter 'ihram' the state of purity necessary for a pilgrim. From the moment the pilgrim dons the clothes necessary for a pilgrim, no shaving,...

    more
  • When in Saudi, remember it is a real...

    Mamalukatu Aribatu As-Saudia is a real great place to visit, but you must have a reason to go there. The people are quite obliging and helpful. I went on a pilgrimage as a muslim and I was delighted with everything, even the 120 degree heat. If you are a westerner, just dont act like one. There are no postcards to mail and they dont take travelers...

    more
  • Get the Prayer Schedule

    Life in Saudi Arabia is regulated by Islamic law and part of this is strict adherance to prayer times. During prayer times every shop and restaurant will close. If you are already inside you can continue but you will not be allowed to check out before you leave the shop. Western chain restaurants will let you pay but you usually have to duck out...

    more
  • musical instruments-3: Kanoun

    ...is my always favourite. it's a string instrument that takes the shape of a diagonal triangle with lots of strings and wooden latches. it's played with all fingertips wearing a bit of wide metal rings, and often placed over a table in order to be played.it originally comes from turkey but it's still popular in saudi musical concerts. best known...

    more
  • musical instruments-2: darbuka

    this is more popular in the hijaz region than anywhere else in saudia. it originally comes from turkey or egypt. since the hijaz is historically diverse, a lot of cultures have poured their musical touches into the region.it's a goblet drum, made of copper, marble & shell, or jar mud. prices vary depending on the material that is made of.usually...

    more
  • musical instruments-1: oud

    ...is the most popular instrument in saudi or the gulf region. it's a string, wooden bowel instrument with a a wooden handle. it looks like a guitar but more oval and deeper inside. however, you don't play it with a long black stick, but with a 10-centimetre white plastic flat piece, a little bit longer than a human finger. then you base your other...

    more
  • Don't spit on the ground in Saudi Arabia

    I will be travelling to Saudi Arabia for work my first time soon. Some of my co-workers have told me some things not to do there.I have seen most of these posted on this site. However, one guy told me it is forbidden to spit on the ground there.

    more
  • What is Ramadan all about...

    A Muslim should start to fast when he/she reaches his puberty age...Some people are excused not to fast,like the elderly,but for each day they do not fast an average meal should be given to the poor instead.If you are ill or sick you are also allowed not to fast,if you have a medication needs to be taken during the day..but then you will have to...

    more
  • Arabian hospitality

    "who should pay for the dinner?" is a long tradition of Arabian hospitality. Please don't miss this when everyone around the dinner table at a restaurant just fight who should pay for the dinner. Everyone is strongly offering to pay for everyone else, half of the table or at least their close friends. If the dinner includes two families, one should...

    more
  • a prayer for everything

    Yes, true! integrating religion into Saudi society is just an essential part of self and group-identity. there is a prayer almost for everything you can imagine. if you want to use the bathroom, leave the bathroom, go to bed, eat and drink, dress up, have sex, sneeze, watch the lunar and solar eclipse, wait for rains, and definitely the religious...

    more
  • Eating habits

    i assume many people think that arabs eat with their hands. ture but not exactly. the norma nowadays is to eat with forks and spoons, following the western style i suppose. however, bread and gravy and similar stuff are eaten with hands. Using hands, i think, is an islamic tradition that became integrated into saudi culture. Eating with two fingers...

    more
  • Driving Rule No.1: No Rules

    I think we have the craziest and most careless drivers in the world! well, 'cause women are not allowed to drive, so men must have gone crazy,lol.Seriously speaking, you can attend driving lessons for one week, and obtain a driving license passing that 'lame' test, literally! my brother obtained his license and he was saying 'i don't know how to...

    more
  • Housekeepers: Accessory or Necessity?

    Does it sound luxury? Hmmm, in Saudi, it is a must to have a housekeeper! After the oil discovery in the 70s (I think,lol), Saudi lifestyle had become totally dependent on other-service. I mean by that, all social classes have a housekeeper at some point. Even when an architect or a real-estate agent has a deal, they do mention 'housekeeper's room...

    more
  • Regional Dances

    I assume what people know of Middle Eastern dances is bellydancing. It is true but not Saudi at all! Regional dances are interesting. When I find the opportunity to shake my body, i just instinctively rock until someone reminds me, 'hello, this is Saudi',lol. Women's dance is usually different from men's as they dance separately. 1)Women's dance: -...

    more
  • Religious Diversity

    Islam is the only official religion as Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state. However, there is no one version of Islam across the kingdom. The majority is Sunni 90%, Shia 9% and Ishmaeli 1%.Even the Sunni consists of two main groups; Wahhabi which is the majority and then Sufis who are a small minority like Shia and probably less.Shia occupies mainly...

    more
  • washing dishes in Saudi

    I was compelled to write this tip after what i got to know in Germany!!Saudis usually wash their dishes one by one; meaning, you pour some soap in a small plastic bowl, add some water, mix the soap with the water. Then, you will wash one plate by one with the soap mixture, then wash them again by water (one by one). Leave them to dry at the end. A...

    more
  • Look me in the eye VS impoliteness??

    Women generally are private and protective and they don't like men to gaze at them or look them directly in the eye. You'd often see Saudi men generally look away when talking to women, depending if they sense a woman is over-protective or not. Some women will consider men who look them directly in the eye as bad guys with bad intentions.This is...

    more
  • On Flight...

    If you are traveling domestically within Saudi by plane, be aware of this. Usually many Saudi women refuse to sit next foreign men and Saudi men refuse to sit next to foreign women. I mean by foreign strangers not family relatives. I am a woman and don't mind sitting next to men on the airplane but often I meet women who ask the flight attendant...

    more
  • Sections: Single or Family?

    In most public places like restaurants, waiting rooms in hospitals, or cafes, there are two sections; the single, and the family. What it is meant by the 'single' is men who have no female relatives accompanying them. So they should use the single corner of a restaurant or so on. Single women would go to the family section as they are considered to...

    more
  • On Phone...

    The older generation usually talk on phone more often than the younger generation (mine). The opening would be asking about every single member of the family, then the main purpose of the call, then the closing.The opening's questions usually are like this: 'how are you?', 'how's your mother', 'how's your father?', how're your siblings?', 'how's...

    more
  • It is not allowed

    No alcohol, no porn, and no pork. These are all items that are banned here in this culture. You wll find that what they mean by porn and what you think is porn are two different ideas. They even consider a woman in a bikini in a movie porn. So beware and censor.

    more
  • No Woman Drivers

    Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive. They have to rely on their husbands or other male relatives to drive them around, hire a driver, or rely on public transportation. Even women from other countries are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.

    more
  • Traditional Dress For Saudi Women

    When a Saudi women appears in public, she normally wears a black abayah and a scarf covering her hair. You will also see some Saudi women wearing face veils. There are varying opinions regarding the wearing of the abayah and the veil; however, Saudi women cover themselves in public and in the presence of men who are not close relatives. Although...

    more
  • Traditional Dress For Saudi Men

    Traditional clothing for Saudi men and boys is a thobe. When the weather is warm or hot white thobes are worn by Saudi men and boys. When it is cooler out they sometimes where wool thobes in darker colors. At special times, men often wear a bisht or mishlah over the thobe. These are long white, brown or black cloaks trimmed in gold. The head piece...

    more
  • Ramadan

    The Ninth month of the Muslim Calendar is Ramadan. This is when it is believed the Holy Quran was sent down from Heaven. Muslims fast during the entire month of Ramadan. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer...

    more
  • Prayer Time

    Prayer is a huge part of the Muslim Culture. There is 5 prayer calls a day and they last for around 30 minutes each. These times vary each day, but can be easily found in a schedule you can get from the Aramco CCC office, or you can find in the daily newspaper. We carry small ones in our wallets. It is important to keep up with the prayer...

    more

Saudi Arabia Hotels

Top Saudi Arabia Hotels

Medina Hotels
140 Reviews - 383 Photos
Mecca Hotels
157 Reviews - 344 Photos
Riyadh Hotels
566 Reviews - 1125 Photos
Abha Hotels
26 Reviews - 73 Photos
Jiddah Hotels
718 Reviews - 1307 Photos
Dhahran Hotels
79 Reviews - 129 Photos
Tabuk Hotels
10 Reviews - 4 Photos
Ras Tanura Hotels
7 Reviews - 15 Photos
Mada'in Salih Hotels
94 Reviews - 333 Photos
Al Khubar Hotels
44 Reviews - 114 Photos
Ad Dammam Hotels
40 Reviews - 83 Photos
Yanbu` al Bahr Hotels
176 Reviews - 282 Photos
`Usfan Hotels
See nearby hotels
Sakaka Hotels
7 Reviews - 10 Photos
Safwa Hotels
See nearby hotels

Instant Answers: Saudi Arabia

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

73 travelers online now

Comments

Saudi Arabia Local Customs

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