Over the past several decades, Saudi Arabia has transformed and adapted drastically. It has changed from a fundamental simple society, to a consumer driven technological boom. The tent, camel, and mudhouse lifestyle has changed to cement high rise buildings, cars, dishwashers, television, and all the modern technology today’s society has.
With the large change in city infrastructure, pace of life, and daily necessities; family and individual culture changed as well. According to Sharif Elmusa, this technological shift is also a “cultural instrument, mediation between the individual and the world, a way of ordering the world. It presents the Saudis with the alternative modes or paradigms of ...view middle of the document...
On the second side of the spectrum, others believe that the new adaptation of technology puts the sanctity of the culture at risk. These are fundamentalist ideas. With new technology, it is a fear that people will become disposable resources that are interchangeable.
Keep in mind a majority of the changes in their society have been lifestyle changes. The way people communicate may be through different mediums, but the respect for the fellow peer remains the same. Elmusa stressed on the subject matter strongly on how strangers and acquaintances address each other as such:
● When men greet each other, they shake hands. If they are good friends, they will shake hands and give a kiss on the cheek.
● When women greet each other, they shake hands. When greeting good friends they will hug and kiss each other on the cheek.
● Men and women are not to greet each other outside of the family. When they do, they acknowledge each other’s presence and continue with whatever task is at hand.
● In addition to an initial greeting, Saudis take the time to converse about general things
Entertainment and Dining Etiquette:
In a business setting it is likely to have dinner with business peers. Saudis enjoy entertaining guests, foreign or domestic. Dining etiquette is as follows:
● Entertainment may be held at restaurants or hotels
● Entertainment is same sex only, if there is the opposite sex, they are held in two separate rooms.
● There is great conversation held before the meal is served.
● If the meal is server at a table on the floor, you are to sit cross legged or kneel on one knee.
● Only eat with the right hand, as eating with the left is considered unclean.
● Try a little bit of everything that is served
● Guests of honor are offered the most desired piece of the meal, for example the head of an animal that is being server, so be prepared to eat exotic things.
● There is always more food than you can handle, Saudis are very generous with their hospitality and never want you to be dissatisfied.
● There is little conversation during the meal so that everyone may enjoy their food.
If a meal or entertainment is held outside of the home, after long conversation, you will most likely be invited into their home. The proper etiquette as a house guest is as follows:
● Upon entering the home, remove your shoes.
● Dress conservatively.
● Arrive at the desired time. Punctuality is not crucial but greatly appreciated.
● Addressing elders first is considered a sign of great respect.
● Coffee is often offered when arriving, it is important to drink it even if you are not accustomed to drinking coffee.
Guest and Gift Etiquette:
When invited to a Saudi’s home, it is important to bring a small gift as a thank you. Any gift given will not be opened while you are present. Flowers should never be given by a man or to a man, however it is appropriate for a female to give them as a gift to her hostess. Never give alcohol as a gift unless you are...