Saudis are Generous People
I learned that Saudis are distinguished as good-groomed, loving, friendly and generous people. Saudi men wear their national clothes, a floor – length garment called thobe. Their heads are covered with a white or red and white-checkered scarf called ghutra, which they wear it indoors, and outdoors. In public the women wear black outer garment called abaya and a black veil over their heads and faces. They often wear black gloves as well.
Some of Saudis Customs
In social conversations or even in the opening of business conversations, for Saudis there is always small talk in which an interest is shown in the health and well being of the other party. In conferring with Saudis, one should not show impatience or causeless rapidity. It is not practice by Saudis to introduce a visitor to their wives or daughters. But by way of politeness, a visitor can inquire about a female member of the family. For them it is chary and appropriate to ask about the family rather than the wife or daughter. When you invite a couple do not be surprised when only the man comes. And to sit or relaxing in a chair, with the legs so crossed, with the soles of the shoes, can offend to them.
Saudis Receive Guests with Complete Attention
Saudis received guests with complete attention, and lavish hospitality of any circumstances. When in any kind of invitation is received, a prompt answer is expected from invited visitor in the language in which the invitation was extended. Saudi’s coffee flavored with cardamom is first served in a small cup; three cups may be consumed, but it is impolite even if the bearer offers it to you and you will take a fourth. Then a sweetened tea is served in a small glass, and it is follows by unlimited quantities.
Saudis’ dinner parties begin late in the evening. It is often around 9 and 10 PM. There are plenty of snacks to eat. Dinner is served as a climax to the evening’s merriment. Any thing: foods, gifts or drinks to be received from a Saudi host, it should be taken with the right hand.
Things to Avoid
Expatriates in order to avoid counteract with the Muttawa or religious police, for immigrant women should wear an abaya. It should be used properly; otherwise it can offend many Saudis. Immigrant women if not wearing an abaya, they should wear garments, that are loose fitting, with hemmed in below mid-calf or ankle length, sleeves elbow length and necklines modest. Immigrant women should not wear jeans, slacks, shorts, skirts tight fitting or sleeveless garments in public places, supermarkets and in hotels. Those dresses worn by Indian or Pakistani women are free will to long dresses.
For men, they should wear long trousers and skirts that are not open below the collarbone in public. Religious police enforce ban on men wearing neck jewelry, when visiting the souqs (markets, malls and other public areas). It is inapt for men and women to touch publicly other than a brief handshake or to give assistance to a person crossing a street.
A woman if married should always carry a photocopy of her husband’s iqama and work permit. Immigrants should pause from laughing or speaking loudly or acting in a conspicuously manner. This can be perverted in this culture. It is considered for all newcomers to make themselves aware of general law and customs of the host country.
What to do if there is Unpleasant encounter with the Muttawa?
If in any unpleasant encounter with the Muttawa or with the police and for any reason should be sent to jail immediately contact your consulate or embassy or if you are working in a company, immediately contact the office of your company for help. The affairs of the Kingdom and its citizens are regulated in accordance with the Islamic law.
The King assigned religious police or Muttawas. They are also the men of actions. They imposed the law mandated in the prevention of vices, and promoting virtues in the kingdom. They check people in the street or in the alleys, in taxies, limousine, and malls. They are everywhere. They strictly imposed “salah = prayer” to all the Muslims. They are great help for the Imam, in maintaining peace and order in the Kingdom.
Knowledge is Power
Meeting people with different customs, cultures and traditions and learning from them are exciting and memorable one and that is power!