Kuwaitis are well known for their hospitality and generosity. So expect to be treated well when visiting Kuwait.
Kuwaitis show their affection by their unique daily greeting, which is comprised of a hand shake and a kiss or two on the cheek. The greeting also includes a series of questions asking about ones health, family and so on. Being one of the few cultures still holding tight to religion and tradition, men and women who are not related to one another are usually segregated, and it is culturally not acceptable for them to kiss on the cheek 1.
|A Mosque in Kuwait-Photo from Flickr-Psycho Milt|
Kuwait is predominantly an Islamic country where over 80 percent of the total population and 95 percent of Kuwaitis practice the religion 2,3. There are mosques in every town and city. Mosques are the Muslims' place of worship where people visit every day to do their five daily prayers as a united group. Every day when the sun rises, around noon, in the afternoon, at sun set and at night, the prayers are called in every mosque in Kuwait. It is just breathtaking to listen to the prayer, which basically reminds all Muslims that it is time to pray. Click here for a clip of a prayer being called. Below is the translation obtained from www.Islamonline.com
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
Food plays and important role in the Kuwaiti culture. There is no such thing as Kuwaiti restaurant anywhere in the world—Kuwaiti food can only be eaten at Kuwaiti homes. the most popular dish is the "Machboos", which is chicken, beef or fish over a specially spiced rice. Lunch is the main meal in Kuwait, and it is extremely important for families to feast together—It is like Thanksgiving everyday.
Kuwaiti tea is usually served after lunch. Kuwaiti tea is just regular hot tea, but many families add some flavors to it such as saffron or mint. Arabic coffee is also very important especially when Kuwaitis have visitors. Traditionally, when people visit, the first thing served should be the Arabic coffee.
Kuwait has a semi-Islamic constitution, and in Islam alcohol is prohibited. Most Kuwaitis are so proud that their country is one of the very few countries outlawing the consumption and sale of alcohol. With that being said, one might wonder how do people have fun?
Some people are outdoorsy, and like going to the beach or desert. In the beach one can fish, boat, swim, jet ski or water ski. In the desert one can camp, hunt, ride buggies or hike
|An outdoor scene from Marina Mall -Photos from Flickr-Manal Almokimy|
|AL Fanar Mall|
Kuwait has so many beautifully decorated malls, and many Kuwaitis—especially women—like to hangout there. Going to the mall is usually a group thing, where families or friends bond with one another while shopping, dining or simply walking around. Many malls have movie theatres in them, so many people spend some time in malls before they go see their movie.
|Chicken Shawarma skewer- Photo from Flickr-Ahmad ALnusif|
As mentioned in the food section, food plays an important role in the Kuwaiti culture. Kuwaitis usually have lunch at home, but dinner is most often eaten outside. There is variety of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. Everywhere you go there are small sandwich restaurants selling sandwiches like falafels and shawarmas (shredded beef or chicken). These restaurants are usually called Arab or Kuwaiti fast foods. They are not as unhealthy as American fast food, but they are surely cheap and tasty.
|Fridays in Kuwait|
Kuwaiti men like to hang out in Diwaniah's, which is a gathering place in a house. Diwaniahs are usually held in the evening, and every group of family members or friends have their diwaniahs in a day of the week. On average, a Kuwaiti man attends at least two diwaniahs a week. Diwaniahs are unique institutions, in that no other Middle Eastern country has it. It is a place where men gather and discuss issues about life, culture, sports and most importantly politics. Talking about politics is what makes it unique, because in almost all other Middle Eastern countries criticizing the government is illegal and could get you in trouble. According to Wikipedia, "Diwaniahs can be called a symbol and proof of Kuwait's democracy where people are free to discuss whatever they like without the fear of persecution" 1.