The Arab world consists of many shared traditions and cultures, including national holidays that have existed for centuries. Apart from the accent, there are also a few differences that are noticeable in each country starting with our greeting rituals. Thanks to Cultural Atlas and Commisceo Global, we can learn more about each country’s unique characteristics in meeting fellow natives and foreigners.
- Greetings are based on both class and the religion of the person.
- It is best to follow the lead of the Egyptian you are meeting.
- Handshakes are the customary greeting among individuals of the same sex.
- Handshakes are somewhat prolonged and always given with a hearty smile and direct eye contact.
- Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on one cheek and then the other while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.
- In any greeting between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.
- Algerians greet each other with lengthy affairs.
- In addition to the handshake, one is obliged to ask about family, work, the house, the weather, etc. This is all part of cementing a relationship and showing concern for others.
- You may see people continue to hold hands after the initial handshake that indicates a sign of warmth.
- Friends and family will also exchange kisses on the check.
- When meeting women, initially nod and wait to see if a hand is extended.
- Avoid prolonged eye contact with women and do not ask personal questions.
- For women visiting Algeria, note that religious men may not shake your hands – this is not a sign of disrespect but quite the opposite.
- Stand to greet people, especially if they are older than you.
- It is common to greet people with a handshake in South Sudan. It is rude not to offer your hand in a greeting.
- People may pat each other on the shoulders before shaking hands and close friends or family may embrace.
- Women may give three kisses on alternating cheeks when greeting people.
- The common verbal greetings in Bari are “Do pure” (Good morning), “Do parana” (Good afternoon) and “Gwon ada?” (How are you?).
- It is usually appropriate to address someone by their first name unless they are an elder, teacher or religious leader. For superiors, use their title and surname.
- South Sudanese greetings are generally less formal than greetings between North Sudanese Muslims.
- When Moroccans greet each other, they take their time and converse about their families, friends, and other general topics.
- Handshakes are the customary greeting between individuals of the same sex.
- Handshakes may be somewhat weak according to western standards.
- Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.
- In any greeting that does take place between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.
- When entering a social function, shake hands with the person to your right and then continue around the room going from right to left.
- Say goodbye to each person individually when leaving.
- Syrian greetings are usually prolonged and include questions about each others’ well-being.
- In formal settings, greetings involve a handshake with the right hand only. Arab men may shake hands very gently.
- If an Arab does not touch someone he greets, it is usually because he perceives the person is unaccustomed to being touched.
- Shaking a female’s hand is not appropriate unless she outstretches her hand first. Many Syrian men greet women by placing their hand on their chest and saying hello.
- Informal greetings between people of the same gender may involve a hug or two kisses on each cheek between males.
- To kiss one’s forehead or right hand denotes extreme respect, but it is not acceptable for a male to kiss a female in this manner if they are not related.