Arabs in general, Saudi's in particular are very much into hand language. They use their hands when they talk.
They wave their fingers & flip their hands from one side to the other.
Sometimes they might point their finger at you, they do not mean anything negative.
Also, most of the Sauid men when they talk it is on a higher tone as if they're into argument.
Fret not! coz its just a normal thing for them :-)
Get Well Soon!
Here in Saudi Arabia, visiting a sick family member, friend or relatives and wishing him/her to get well soon, chocolates, dates and arabic coffee are usually the things that a visiting person brings.
My sister in law just had her operation few days back and my hubby told me that we will visit her soon. I told him that we should bring her fruits, biscuits or milk ( these are the things that we ususally give in the Philippines) but to my surprised hubby told me that we will get her Belgian chocolates or cake. hmmmm....
In the photo is a sample of the chocolate present to wish her "get well soon".
Ramadan is the Holy Month for our Muslim brothers and sisters.It falls on the 9th month of the Hijrah Calendar or Lunar (moon)Calendar. The date and month may not be fixed if it would be based on Gregorian Calendar.
The holy month of Ramadan is considered as one of the higights of the year , and during this time our Muslim brothers and sisters fast from dawn to dusk. The celebration culminates with the Eid-Al-Fitr holiday, in which it is customary to buy presents and clothes for children and visit friends and relatives.
The Arab calendar is a lunar calendar. The 12 months are:
Muharram (30 days)
Safar (29 days)
Rabi'a al-Awal (30 days)
Rabi'a ath-Thani (29 days)
Jumada al-Ula (30 days)
Jamada Ath-Thaniya (29 days)
Rajab (30 days)
Sha'aban (29 days)
Ramadan (30 days)
Shawwal (29 days)
Dhul Qa'dah (30 days)
Dhul Hijjah (29 days: 30 days in a leap year)
Family Area V.S. Single Area
Most of the restaurants have family area and single area. This means, any male with his wife with him or any lady family member, they can only eat and dine at the family area. While married male without his wife or lady family member with him...he can only eat and dine at single's area.
Family area are more of a cubicle type of room/space which can usually accomodate maximum 6 persons. The Picture shown is a sample of a family area cubicle.It is usually made of frost or non clear glasses.
Shisha or hookah
Shisha or hookah is one of the oldest tradition in Saudi Arabia and all over the middle east
and even today this tradition still gives an enjoyment to a special breed of smokers.
both men and women finding the great pleasure in smoking with this waterpipe.
As I have seen outskirts in riyadh there are few café where the costumers spend their time talking to their friends while enjoying and alternate piping the shisha and so store selling different kind of shisha pipe.
From thesaurus dictionary - HOOKAH
A pipe with a long, flexible stem, so arranged that the smoke is cooled by being made to pass through water. also called narghile and water pipe. the hubble-bubble is a simple form of this device.
Shisha is tobacco ( Also called tabac, tombak, tumbak, gouza, guza, moassel, sheesha) mixed with molasses and fruit flavors and is smoked in a hookah.
Currency - Saudi Riyal
This tip is for those who are not aware or not familiar for the currency of Saudi Arabia
Riyal are divided into 100 halalas (coins ) notes printed in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500
riyal denominations one riyal is equavalent to 3.75 US$
Muslims celebrate 2 EID's in a year.
First: EID AL FITR - This is celebrated after completion of Ramadan
They celebrate by giving gifts & visiting relatives.
Second: EID AL ADHA - This is celebrated after completion of Hajj
They celebrate by slaughtering a sheep as a tradition carried from the time of Prophet Abraham. They also visit relatives and give gifts.
HAJJ is the 5th pillar of Islam and is obligatory to all Muslims to perform this pilgrimage once in their lifetime.
It is being performed on a specific time of the year. According to the Hijra Calendar (Arabic Calendar), it is during the 12th month namely Dhul Hijjah.
It is performed from 9th until the 13th of the Dhul Hijjah month wherein the most important day is the 2nd day where Muslims stand on the Mt. Arafa.
Conditions of Hajj:
a. Must be an adult - Over 14 yrs of age
b. Must be able to afford the cost to perform Hajj. Borrowing of money to perform Hajj is not allowed.
a. Special White clothes has to be worn when performing the pilgrimage. It is made up of 2 pieces of white cloth: (FOR MEN)
Upper part: Ihram
Lower part: Izar
***No other undergarments or any clothes should be worn underneath for men.
As for women, they have to uncover their faces and wear an ordinary dress***
UMRAH means visiting the Holy Mosque in Mecca at any time of the year.
It inlcudes 7 complete turns around the Kaaba (House of God) as well as 7 laps between Mt. Safa and Mt. Merwah. One lap is approximately 500m.
Performing Umrah can last for a short period of time (approximately 1 hr for a fit person).
a. There is no age limit when performing Umrah
b. Special white cloth has to be worn with no undergarments for men
c. Women must uncover their faces and wear an ordinary dress.
Until the present time, the Saudi society consists of many TRIBES like Shammar, Anaza, Otayba and Motair just to name a few.
If you belong to a tribe means you're a pure Saudi (by birth and by blood) A non-Tribal are the ones who just migrated from other countries long time ago and settled after Hajj in Mecca and Medina.
It is very common to see someone tribal who cannot marry or deprived the right of marrying a non tribal individual.
The classic Saudi way of greetng is to give 4 kisses.One on the left cheek and 3 on the right cheek. This apply to both sexes (male to male; female to female)
As for the elders, one way of showing respect is to kiss the right hand and the forehead aside from the kisses on the cheeks.
It is very common for male friends to hold hands in public but this doesn't necessarily mean they have special relationship :-)
Segregation of Sexes
It is part of the Saudi culture that men and women are not seated together during functions unless they are related to each other (brother and sister, nephew and nieces, mother and children )
So if ever you are invited to a Saudi family expect that women will go to the women sitting room while men go to the male sitting room.
It is a tradition being carried for many years and still being practice upto this time.
Oud (Incense / Oil)
Another gesture of Saudi hospitality is the burning of incense (oud) to welcome guests. It has a very distinct Arab smell.
Oud came from a bark of a 100year old tree either from Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.
A gram or kilo of this will make a hole in your pocket. From 100USD up per kilo.
Get together or family gathering is other custom that still practice in Saudi Arabia especially during their two holidays Eid the Ramadan and Hajj. It is customary for any family to go to the house of the leader of the family where they would have lunch and dinner in different homes of other family members.
In the cities some families still observe these traditions, but not as thoughtfully as they used to.
Ladies in Black
All ladies both foreign and locals who will visit or work in Saudi Arabia are required to wear an ABAYA (a black dress incl of the veil) when going to public places like malls, souk (market), grocery stores etc.
Although expats are allowed not to cover their faces like the local Saudi's do...wearing the veil is a must. In some public areas you can find Muttawa's (Religious Police) who will ask you to cover (put on your veil) if your not wearing such.
It is part of the Arab's traditions,culture and beliefs particularly Saudi's that a woman's beauty is exclusive to their husband's or husband's to be so they have to be covered and not be seen by any other men.
For first timers in Saudi...abaya is not compulsary to wear the first time they arrive but expected to get one for themselves the following day.
Many souk's (market) are selling Abaya's...prices differs on the material and designs of the abaya.
Generally, abaya's are in color black but as per my hubby :-) abaya can be in different colors too..
A. Most Saudi women choose to cover their faces in public and even in private in the presence of males who are not members of their family, but this is not because of their religion. It is simply local custom.
B. Before, in a harsh desert environment, a thin veil provides protection from constant exposure to the sun, which can damage the skin and eyes. Today, a veil is also a sign of modesty and virtue.
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