Riyadh Local Customs

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Most Recent Local Customs in Riyadh

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    Marrying a Saudi

    by Cielo_Algaeed Updated Jan 20, 2007

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    Marrying a Saudi is not an easy thing to do...i am talking about the processing of the papers/documents.

    During the year 1985, Saudi government banned Saudi men from marrying any foreigner except within the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman) though they are not restricted by religion not to marry a Non Muslim or someone out of the gulf states.

    The only thing that will somehow stop them from doing such is getting the PERMIT from the government. This permit will take years (as per hubby) to get..and so u need alot of patience and a certain amount of money to keep your papers moving from the Ministry of Interior.

    So, Even if you have a legal marriage in a different country (like me in Philippines) it will not be acknowldged here in Saudi Arabia not unless your husband is holding the permit from the M.I.

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    Days Of the Week

    by Cielo_Algaeed Updated Jan 20, 2007

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    While most of the people in the world start their week on a Monday...Saudi's in particular do start their week on a Saturday and ends up on Wednesday.

    As-Sabt (Saturday)
    Al-Ahad (Sunday)
    Al-Athnain (Monday)
    Ath-Thulatha (Tuesday)
    Al-Arbia (Wednesday)
    Al-Khamees (Thursday)
    Al-Juma (Friday)

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    Traditional Way of Eating

    by Cielo_Algaeed Written Jan 16, 2007

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    Most of the Saudi's still eat the traditional way,meaning they prepare and served the food on a big plate wherein all the family members will eat. Usually Lamb,camel meat or chicken are being used with mixed vegetables and rice. They also serve side dishes like salads, macaroni, chili etc.

    They served the food on the floor and usually they dont used spoon and fork but rather used their right hand for eating.

    For dinner by invitation..(e.g. meeting your in laws) part of their eating tradition is that, men eat first then the women.

    Tea or Arabic coffee are being serve before and after meal.

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    Ladies Role in the Society

    by Cielo_Algaeed Updated Jan 10, 2007

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    As the time evolves, little by little Saudi women are actively being part of manly dominated country.Dont get me wrong, manly dominated - doesnt mean women are second class citizens but moreso their typical idea of a woman is someone who takes care of the house, her husband and family.

    Like i said, slowly they take part in the society.They have Saudi bank employees (exclusive for ladies) while majority of them are teachers.

    Most of the women who are working here in Riyadh either white collar jobs or blue collar jobs are from the Philippines, India, Africa,Lebanon and South Africa.

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    No Lady Drivers

    by Cielo_Algaeed Written Jan 10, 2007

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    Culture,tradition or Religion? whatever is the reason, ladies here in Saudi are not allowed to drive both expats or local. Its either they have a family driver to take them around or their husbands.

    While other ladies take taxi's or Limo's as they call it.

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    Additional Saudi Camping...

    by atufft Updated Jun 3, 2006

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    The Apostle Paul was trained as a tentmaker, and until recently the tent remained the housing of choice in the Middle East. Today, tentmakers still sew canvas into tents at the main souk in Riyadh. Increasingly though the Saudis, like Americans and Europeans, are becoming detached from nature. Saudi children raised in the city know little of life in the desert, and may never have ridden a camel. Saudis on picnic or camping often wear leather soled shoes and their finer clothes rather than "dress down" for adventure outside the city. Outside the city are also isolated palace compounds where princes and other wealthy Saudis can retreat from the chaos of the city.

    Saudi Women Picnicking Saudi Women Picnicking Saudi Picnic Saudi Palace Outside of Riyadh
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Camping
    • Desert

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    Saudi Picnics and Camping

    by atufft Written Jun 3, 2006

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    Just as Americans and Europeans like to commune with nature, so do the Saudis. For them, the desert is nature, and a puddle of fresh water after a brief rain is heaven. There are no rivers or lakes, just empty desert expanse. Many Saudis have relatively permanent tents complete with electricity, A/C, and satellite TV in their backyards or in designated areas outside of town. The men go, sit around and smoke the waterpipe, play cards, eat dates, and drink the unroasted Arabic coffee. Women gather in a separate tent and share fashions and conversation any women might elsewhere in the world. Family picnics and car camping are also popular, particularly for those with lower incomes. Any desert shrub becomes a shade tree under which a car can be parked.

    Saudi Picnic Saudi Camping Saudi Women Picnicking 2 Saudi Men on Walking in Nature
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Camping
    • Arts and Culture

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    Four golden rules when making business in Saudia

    by baronedivandastad Written Jan 29, 2006

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    1) Be mild in whatever statement you offer.

    2) Never ever initiate discussion on hot topics such as alcohol, sex, politics and religion. If Saudis start the conversation you are allowed to talk about them in a mild way.

    3) People in front of you will always look unhappy whatever you do. Don't take this personally, it's their way of behaving. Try instead to understand if they really mean it by asking direct questions about your work.

    4) If you are a commercial person, be prepared for a lot of haggling, for urgent responses to things that aren't urgent and for endless waits for the locals to make a decision.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel

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  • Women Must Wear an Abaya

    by varisha Updated Jan 12, 2006

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    Women should expect to wear an abaya (a long black cloak, and a head covering). If you don't, you may be hassled by mutawahs (religious police)....and you will get a lot of unwanted attention ...also, must be escorted by a male mainly everywhere you go

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Singles

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    dress code for expatriate women and girls

    by sjazeerah Written Dec 1, 2005

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    As soon as a woman leaves her house or residential compound entering the real public she must put on a cover which is called Abaya. They do not necessarily have to be black.
    I bought this brown one in Dira-Swigah. There were also other colours available (grey, blue, green). I have never had problems with the religious police (Mutawa) for wearing a brown Abaya.
    In addition to the Abaya a woman should take a veil (or hat) to cover her head and hair. Usually they go out with uncovered head, the veil around their neck or in a bag. But sometimes the religious police or some civil Saudi men ask or order you to cover your head (face can be nude). It's up to the woman whether to follow this instruction or to resist with all possible consequences.

    In the region of Qassim even expatriate women must be fully covered incl. eyes, hands and feet.

    expatriate women in Saudi public
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Women's Travel

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    Camera phones

    by baronedivandastad Written Jul 12, 2005

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    Camera phones used to be officially banned until very recently (although in practice you could find them around without a problem - typical Saudi!).

    However, the Saudi religious authorities officially lifted the ban on December 17, 2004. This fuelled the race for the latest model, something the technologically enthusiastic saudis did not really need.

    Now practically everyone owns (and uses) a camera phone. MMS (multimedia message) service is available from both mobile operators, AlJawal and Mobily. Through this service you can, say, send a picture to your friends.

    However, illegal usage of camera phones still leads to prosecution. So be very careful when photographing people, buildings and other religiously sensitive stuff.

    This sort of image you're likely to get as MMS!

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    Introduction

    by baronedivandastad Updated Jun 25, 2005

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    When you're introduced to a local, be polite, say something like "nice to meet you" but make sure you shake hands and keep the hold until the other person releases, which may take up to 20 seconds. It is considered to be impolite to do otherwise. Present a firm but not too strong handshake and ignore if your counterpart comes too near you when saying his name: it's the local way to do it.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel

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    On alcohol and Qu'ran

    by baronedivandastad Written Jun 24, 2005

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    Why do many muslims abstain from the use of alcohol? the common answer is because Islam forbids it, but things aren't so simple.

    The Holy Qu'ran mentions "intoxicating" substances in many places and in different ways. For instance, in verse 2:219 it mentions that alcohol contains some good and some evil, but the evil is greater than the good.

    Many Islamists agree on the fact that it's the intoxication status, and not alcohol in itself, that is forbidden, since intoxication makes you forget of God and prayers. Only Mohammed (peace be upon him) is known to have taught his followers to avoid any form of alcohol, even in small quantities.

    So the Qu'ran is quite ambiguous about the alcohol issue. As a consequence, Muslim people interpret the verses in different ways. The absence of a recognized Church authority in Islam makes these interpretations all possible and respectable.

    In Saudi Arabia, the interpretation is stricter than in any other place, and the country is officially dry. This doesn't mean you can't find alcohol, which is easily available at whopping prices in the black market.

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    Alcohol (or the absence of)

    by baronedivandastad Updated Jun 22, 2005

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    It's pretty well known that Saudi Arabia is a dry country.

    Saudis are very sensitive to the alcohol issue, at least when they are in their home country (I've seen many drink when abroad).

    Even though the Holy Qu'ran mentions that alcohol should not be drunk, nowadays it is not so much of a religious issue, as muslim citizens of other countries (e.g. Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrein, Turkey and so on) accept, and often use, alcohol as much as we do.

    It's got to do more with local customs: as a guest you should respect this side of their culture and avoid mentioning the subject, let alone doing anything related to alcohol in public. Getting caught drinking in public may lead to arrest and imprisonment.

    So what to do when longing for a cool beer?flights to Bahrein and Dubai are very frequent and conveniently scheduled during weekends. Use those if you want to take a break from dryness.

    You can also drive to Bahrein from Riyadh in about 4h, it's quite tolerable when you can have a beer on arrival.

    In Saudi it's likely to be apple juice.
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Wine Tasting
    • Food and Dining

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    Sugar cane in Bathaa!

    by baronedivandastad Written Jun 12, 2005

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    In Bathaa you'll find loads of small places run by pakistanis or indians that serve the local specialty: sugar cane juice. The deliciously sweet drink is made with the aid of large squashing machines that literally "eat" the canes. Recommended in particularly hot days.

    Mind your fingers

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Riyadh Local Customs

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