Simplest Expression Of Hospitality - COFFEE
Arab traditions also play an important role in Saudi life. These age-old traditions have evolved over the past years and are highly regarded. They include generosity and hospitality, which every Saudi family offers to strangers, friends, and family. The simplest expression of hospitality is coffee – its preparation alone is an intricate cultural tradition, and it is often served in small cups along with dates and sweets.
Arabic Coffee or Gahwa is a special mixture of Arabic Coffee and Cardamom. Cardamon is always added to Saudi coffee, either crushed or whole pods, giving it a distinctive flavour, and aiding digestion. A pinch of saffron may be added on special occasions, or by the wealthy.
The coffee is poured from a long-spouted pot called a dallah. The greeny-yellow coffee is drunk without milk or sugar from small handleless cups, which are only half filled.
Guests should accept no more than three cups unless with close friends. It is courteous to accept one cup, although not essential to drink it. Always hold the cup in your right hand.
To signal that no more coffee is required, wobble the cup from side to side (or in some areas cover it with the palm of the hand).
The Saudi House (Villa)
A typical Saudi Villa is usually square type with flat roof. A two storey house with male and female sitting area located at the ground floor.
The second floor is typically allocated for bedrooms & family living room.
There are more than 2 bathrooms in every floor. Quite common that every bedroom
has its own bathroom.
Nowadays, most of the houses are no longer carpeted but ceramic & marble are being used instead.
Saudi Head Dress
Saudi Men's Head dress are commonly red and white (checkered) while the plain white is the least common to used.
In the past, Arabs used to wear head dress called SHOMAGH to protect their faces from sand storms and tie it with a robe called (UKAL).
And as the time past by, it became a distinct mark of Arab men around the globe.
The White straight dress that they wear is called THOBE. They wear a white thobe during summer while they wear darker colors during winter.
Saudi names usually consist of 3 to 4 names or more.
It i s part of their tradition that the children carry the name of their father and their grandfather plus their surname.
Fahad Abdulrahman Hamad AlGaeed
Fahad is the first name given by the parents, Abdulrahman is the name of the father, Hamad is the name of the grand Father while Algaeed is their surname.
Though the ladies name are constructed on the same manner....however, when they get married...they do not used the surname of their husbands.Their names remain the same, meaning they will still used their maiden names.
Most of the names consist of 2 words.
ABDUL = fixed prefix, while RAHMAN - is one of the names of GOD, believed to have 99 names.
Salah or Prayer Time
Muslims here in Saudi Arabia have their prayer time called Salah . They pray 5 times a day- before dawn (530 am), noon (12noon), afternoon (330 & 530pm) and evening (730pm).
NO other religion can be practice in the Kingdom.
Its usually 10 minutes before the actual prayer, a prayer call is being done. All establishments will be close for about 20-30 minutes to give way to our muslim brothers/sisters enough time to pray.
Though most of the shops open from 9 and closed before the noon prayer. They open again at 4 in the afternoon.
They call it Shahi while others call it TEA
Arab countries particularly Saudi's are very much into drinking Shahi / Tea . They drink shahi anytime time of the day.before or after meal...by the time they arrive from work...while watching TV...while talking etc....
It is like theri substitute for water....A usual arabic tea consists of special arabic dried leaves boiled into water with sugar and fresh mint leaves..though halib (milk) is optional.
Muslim men on having 4 wives
Its is stated in the Holy Quran (the Holy Book Of Muslims)that men are allowed to marry upto 4 times at the same time provided that they give just and fair treatment to their wives.
Today, life has changed alot in terms of marrying more than 1 wife. Men having 4 wives rarely exist nowadays.
Though fixed marriage still exists..the value of family and family ties still hold a very important role in the society.
Marrying a Saudi
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.
Days Of the Week
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.
Traditional Way of Eating
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.
Ladies Role in the Society
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.
No Lady Drivers
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.
Palm date is a notable symbol of saudi arabia, It is the custom in the country to break a fast during Ramadan by eating dried dates and drinking a cup of tea, it is also a symbolize and had many medicinal uses from fruit or juice of the dates.
also created a more amenable habitat for the people to live in by providing shade and protection from the desert winds.
Additional Saudi Camping...
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.
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Saudi Picnics and Camping
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.
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