Saudi Arabia and Its Culture

Society as a whole valued behavior displaying generosity, selflessness, and hospitality; deference to those above in the hierarchy of the family; freedom from dependence on others and mastery over one’s emotions; and willingness to support other family members and assume responsibility for their errors. Chastity and sexual modesty were also very highly valued. Applied primarily to women, these values were not only tied to family honor but were held to be a religious obligation as well http://saudiarabiarafael. blogspot. com/2008/05/saudi-arabia-values. html

Women is prohibited socialize with male native people that don? t have a parental relation, so they have the value of chastity, sexual modesty and particular deference for their relatives http://saudiarabiarafael. blogspot. com/2008/05/beliefs-and-values-similar-or-different_26. html Family dynamics: Family primary basis of identity and status for the individual and the immediate focus of individual loyalty, just as it was among those who recognized a tribal affiliation Families formed alignments with other families sharing common interests and life-styles, Families tended to be patriarchal

Father in the family appearing as an authoritarian figure at the top of a hierarchy based on age and sex Men can have as many as four wives, but polygamy is no longer widely practiced.

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If wealthier men do have more than one wife, the wives and their children tend to live in separate units from each other. http://dpuadweb. depauw. edu/$1~mkfinney/teaching/Com227/culturalPortfolios/Saudi_Arabia/Family. htm Communication: Relationships & Communication You will need a Saudi sponsor (wakeel) to enter the country. The sponsor acts as an intermediary and arranges appointments with appropriate individuals.

Saudis do not require as much personal space as most western cultures. As such, they will stand close to you while conversing and you may feel as if your personal space has been violated. Saudis prefer to work with people they know and trust and will spend a great deal of time on the getting-to-know-you part of relationship building. You must be patient. Since Saudis will most likely judge you on appearances, dress and present yourself well. Meeting Etiquette Men shake hands. Good friends may greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on each cheek.

Women generally hug and kiss close friends. Men and women would not greet each other in public I from outside the family. When Saudis greet each other they take their time and converse about general things. Gift Giving Etiquette Gifts are not the norm as in many other countries. If you are invited to a Saudi’s house bring something small as a thank you. Flowers do not make good gifts from a man, although a woman could give them to her hostess. Never give alcohol unless you are positive they partake. Gifts are not opened when received. Dining Etiquette

Saudis socialize primarily in restaurants and international hotels when entertaining expatriates whom they do not know well. After some time you will be invited to the home. Entertainment will generally be same-sex only. If both sexes are included, they will be in separate rooms. If you are invited to a Saudi’s house: You would usually remove your shoes. Dress conservatively. Try to arrive at the invited time. Punctuality is appreciated but not crucial. Show respect for the elders by greeting them first. Accept the offer of Arabian coffee and dates even if you do not normally drink coffee.

If you are invited for a meal, understand that there will be a great deal of socializing and small talk before the meal is served. Table manners If the meal is on the floor, sit cross-legged or kneel on one knee.. Eat only with the right hand as the left is considered unclean. Try a bit of everything that is served. Meals are generally served family-style. Honored guests are often offered the most prized pieces such as a sheep’s head so be prepared! There is often more food than you can eat. Part of Saudi hospitality and generosity is to shower guests with abundance.

There is little conversation during meals so that diners may relish the food. http://www. kwintessential. co. uk/resources/global-etiquette/saudi-arabia-country-profile. html Specific topics that are taboo in Saudi Arabia are marital relations, rape, and domestic violence. It is considered highly taboo to ask a Saudi how their family, specifically female members, is A person’s foot is seen as the lowliest part of one’s body, it is highly offensive to point one’s toe or foot at someone, or to use one’s foot to move an object.

Therefore, crossing your legs or putting feet up on a table, practices that are common in America, would be seen as offensive in Saudi Arabia Women are expected to be reserved and conservative, with shoulders, legs, and other parts of the body covered In a male-to-male greeting, the two parties typically take part in a warm hand shake using their right hands, and then they embrace with two to three kisses on the cheeks of the other party Female-to-female greetings are similar, as they shake hands and kiss each other on the cheeks There is little to no touching between males and females (unless they are blood related or married), and even then, physical touching is held to a minimum In conversation and every day, eye contact between a male and female can be misinterpreted.

Therefore, most women tend to avoid eye contact with males. Additionally, women are not supposed to speak out against the male authority figures http://hopeinterculturalcomm. weebly. com/language-taboos-what-not-questioned-veracity-humor. html http://www. iorworld. com/saudi-arabia-pages-498. php Illness and health practices: A rich body of traditional medicine previously existed in Saudi Arabia Physical ailments were treated with the use of herbs and other plants and also by cauterization or burning a specific part of the body with a hot iron Severe mental health problems were often addressed through special readings of the Koran http://www. everyculture. com/Sa-Th/Saudi-Arabia. html

Some people wear amulets for protection against the evil eye or will burn incense to keep the evil eye away from the sick Prayers and reading from Al Quran or the Bible help give comfort to patients and family members and enhance the patient’s recovery Nurses are perceived as helpers, not health care professionals, and their suggestions and advice are not taken seriously Family members need to be with the body until it is ready to be removed from the hospital. Muslims prefer to bury the body on the day death occurs Most Arabs consider childbirth to be a female issue only. A woman in labor is usually surrounded by female relatives and friends. Fathers are not admitted to the labor room/

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