Ramadan: Different Customs and Traditions in The Arab World

  • Publish date: Monday، 12 April 2021
Ramadan: Different Costums and Traditions in The Arab World

Arabs are often known for their hospitality and generousness. Although they all share common values such as family loyalty, friendliness, generosity and even rules with elders, hospitality varies from one country to another.

Just before Ramadan blesses us with it's arrival, let’s have a look at the different ways countries perform their hospitality.


If you invited to iftar, check to see if you should remove your shoes when entering the home of your host. In most Iraqi homes, this is the case. As such, make sure you wear decent socks when preparing to leave the house.
Dress conservatively and smartly.
Meals are an important part of the relationship building process and are key to establishing trust. For this reason, do not discuss business unless your host raises the subject. And, if you are invited to an Iraqi’s home, bring a box of cookies, pastries or a box of chocolates. A fruit basket is also appreciated, flowers are being given more and more but only to a hostess.


If you are invited to a UAE’s national household, beside the respect Arabs are expected to show, a long but steady handshake is common. Ensure you only use your right hand, never sit in a position that shows the soles of the feet. To do so is an insult as feet are considered dirty, Small talk is common, indeed expected, all gifts should be of a high quality.

Good perfume is acceptable even for men who take a pride in the appearance and status but such a gift for a woman should only be given by another woman.

Dining in the UAE is a very social affair and can be a means to doing business also, it is considered polite to arrive fifteen minutes late.

Expect to eat with the right hand – the left hand is considered dirty. However, if you are left-handed it is acceptable to eat with a utensil in the left hand. Arabs may eat with their hand only and without utensils, hand cleanliness is therefore very important. 

Some families prefer to be seated on cushions on the floor, it is not considered polite to decline the offer of more food.

If eating with utensils, place the cutlery facing up in the middle of the plate on finishing the meal and if dining in a restaurant gives more than the service charge – up to 10% is acceptable.

Syria and mainly Middle Eastern countries,

Costums and traditions are a bit different. If you are invited for iftar or lunch or even suhoor, Syrians also enjoy sweets. It is considered good manners to decline an offer of food or drink twice before accepting, but it is impolite to refuse the offer completely. Food should be eaten with the right hand, although on formal occasions Western utensils may be used.

Men may embrace each other in greeting, depending on the degree of their relationship, and female friends exchange kisses on both cheeks.

Costums and traditions vary from one culture to another! So, to avoid any embarrassment or disrespect, try and research!

Image Source: Time Out Dubai