Emirati Hospitality The origins of Emirati hospitality

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.

17th Apr 2020

Recent Posts