Greetings, coffee ritual, shoes…all you need to know about traditions in Qatar

Published on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 07:00

Ahead of the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, here’s a short guide to Qatari customs for foreign supporters.

Qatar expects to receive more than one million foreign fans as the 2022 FIFA World Cup opens on Sunday, November 20. to its traditions.

• Know some words in Arabic

With a population of 90% foreigners, the use of English in Qatar is often dominant, although the official language is Arabic. Speaking Arabic is not necessary but knowing a few words can be appreciated especially by Qataris.

• Greetings

In public places, it is appropriate to stand up to greet others, especially the elderly.

Qatari women usually wear a long black dress and a light headscarf, and you have to wait for them to reach out to shake it.

Some prefer to place their hand over their heart in greeting.

• Some gestures of affection

Kissing and gestures of affection should be avoided in public, whether for heterosexual or same-sex couples. Holding hands is acceptable.

• Don’t refuse a gift

Like residents of other Gulf countries, Qataris are keen to project an image of great hospitality, respect and friendliness. It is important that visitors accept anything offered by the host, as it would be considered a crime to refuse the gift.

• Take off your shoes

Being invited to a Qatari home means removing your shoes at the entrance, but avoiding pointing your feet at your hosts.

• Don’t be surprised by eating the floor

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Qataris sometimes eat on the floor, with their hands, from a large plate like the Bedouins of the desert, even if they live in a large modern villa.

• Coffee Ritual

The recipe for Arabic coffee consists of roasted clear coffee beans, steamed with cardamom and saffron, and served in small cups called “finjans” using a jug-shaped coffee maker called a “dalla”. This ritual, usually accompanied by the tasting of dates, is popular with all Gulf countries.

A symbol of the region’s traditions, the “dalla” is sometimes erected as a monument in public squares.

In a home, the person who serves enough coffee for the guests tastes the coffee first. The latter should always drink with the right hand.

Handing the cup back to the person serving it means that person wants more, while shaking the cup means they don’t want it.

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