Emirati Hospitality

The origins of Emirati hospitality lie in Bedouin traditions and the needs of the nomadic tribes who traveled the deserts of the region. 


• Direct eye contact is offensive between a woman and man who are not relatives but are a sign of trust in a business transaction 

• It is disrespectful for a guest to decline hospitality 


• When men greet each other – physical touch such as handshake and nose-rubbing demonstrates trust, friendship and respect between men. 

• When women greet each other – physical touch also demonstrates friendship between women and indicates that trust and respect is offered, so handshaking and cheek kissing are commonplace. 

• The greeting between men and women - there is little to no touching between men and women during greetings in public. 


• Traditionally, a guest will have three cups .

• The guest shakes the finjan side to side when they have had enough gahwa The serving of Arabic coffee on arrival of a guest finjan Tiny, handle-less coffee cups dallah Large Arabic coffee pot with a long spout Bukhoor A perfumed incense passed around the guests to freshen up their hands and face

Palm dates 

• Dates hold an important place in Arabian heritage and provide the main source of nutrition in desert communities 

• Dates are part of the coffee ritual as a treat offered to guests and a symbol of Emirati generosity 

• The Liwa Date Festival in July promotes and celebrates the symbolic and historic role the date palm plays in Emirati culture 


• A tented meeting place where hospitality was offered and family and business discussions took place 

• Originally, people were seated on mats but as the majlis became established in homes tekay (Arabic cushions) were introduced and rooms became more formally decorated 


• Oud and Bukhoor are used in the incense burner but can be combined with other ingredients to produce fragrances. • Arabic perfume uses a range of oils such as rose, jasmine, lilies, sandalwood, musk and citrus fruits. Arabic perfume typically does not contain alcohol.