Offbeat, Online Magazine

Saudi Hospitality

Profile photo of Jou Pabalate

Jou Pabalate

Regional Editorial Manager at Destination Riyadh

7

An Illustrated Guide.


Nothing showcases generosity and indulgence quite like Saudi hospitality. Some attribute it to our bedouin culture, we’re known to pamper our guests to the fullest and are big on customs that make anyone feel welcome.

Azeema 101

Here are some of the things you can expect when visiting a Saudi Home.

Turkish Soaps
Usually play in the background while our aunties chit chat with some tea and treats. Traditionally, the women sit amongst themselves, and men would also have their own space.1

Bakhoor
Bakhoor is part of welcoming guests in Saudi homes. You’ll find people taking the mubkhara, and using its smoke to perfume their hair and clothing when they enter the door.2

Generosity Defines Saudi Culture
From hefty servings to making sure you get offered gahwa, tea, or juice throughout your visit.3

Board Games
They’re part of fun fare during azeemas. Carom, a game where you strike tokens across a board to gain points, is a must try.5

Gahwa Gahwa
Gahwa or arabic coffee is traditionally served with the left hand pouring the dallah, and the right holding the finjan. The guest or the most senior member of the group is served first, before proceeding counter clockwise in the room.6

Saudi  Gestures

When it comes to showing our appreciation, there are no language barriers, keep these gestures and expressions in
your dictionary.8

Bil Afiyah
This is the equivalent of Bon appétit, say it to someone when they’re about to eat.

Teslam Yaddik
The compliment you give to a chef or cook when you love what they’ve prepared.

Min Ayuni
Said with one’s finger pointing from one eye and the other- meaning from my eye, an expression used to say “I’d be happy to, consider it done”

Saudi Greetings

There’s nothing like our endless hellos and kisses.7

Kissing Cheek To Cheek
This is the normal greeting among friends and acquaintances, the number varies depending on the region. Don’t know whether to go left, right, left or right, right, left? You can just lock the handshake, and go for right, right, right then step back, always works.

Nose To Nose Kissing
It’s a practice in certain regions— usually done between close male friends, elders, and family. Some women or even men, don’t shake hands and that’s okay. When in doubt, you can just…lace your right hand on your chest… …and nod as a sign of greeting.

A Saudi Hello is A Conversation On Its Own.
We ask about you, your family, your grandparents, your health, your work, your pet fish, all in one breath.

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