Guests are a blessing of Almighty Allah and so they are given a royal treatment in Saudi Arabia. By guests, we mean people that one meets less often. That guest may be some relative, known to the host or sometimes it’s a stranger or someone meeting for the first time. They are always welcomed warmly at any time for whatever may be the reason of visit. It is an Islamic tradition. If you have invited a Saudi at your home or just want to welcome your guests in Saudi style, these tips are going to be very effective for you. Follow the following guide if you want to welcome your guests in Saudi style.[irp]
Prepare: There are times usually when the guest informs before coming. It is good to prepare the place for welcoming the guest. Clean up the area and arrange a proper comfortable sitting. This will make your guest happy.
Coffee or tea: It is common or you may call it a tradition in Saudi Arabia to serve hot tea or coffee to the guest as the first thing. It is usually served with something sweet like chocolates or more preferably dates because of the Arabic tradition. If you are presenting Arabic Qahwa, please read this link as well “Etiquettes of Drinking and Presenting Arabic Qahwa”
Professionalism while welcoming: When welcoming the guest, the host to show some respect should be properly well dressed up. They can wear their traditional Saudi dress or any other dressing but must look well mannered. For example, when meeting some high official, the host should do formal dressing for professionalism and respect.
Greeting the guest: When the host is welcoming the guest he/she should use warm welcoming phrases to greet the guest. Just saying “hi” “hello” or “nice to meet you” won’t be sufficient instead they should speak up more so that the guest feels comfortable. The host should show how happy they are for having them. It is better if you memorize some Arabic phrases to welcome your guests. It will leave a real positive impact upon guests.
Be happy and cheerful: Throughout the stay of the guest, the host should do every possible thing to make them comfortable. They should smile and show a cheerful expression to provide comfort to the guest otherwise they might feel bored. They might think they are a burden on the host and will feel the need to leave then. This is shameful for the host.
Prepare a meal: The host should prepare a good meal for the guest. It depends on the staying time of the guest, because obviously if it is just for few minutes then the host won’t be able to prepare much. Therefore, the host should try to comfort the guest and ask them to stay a bit longer for preparing the meal. The meal varies from host to host based on financial status. Some might serve whole lamb or chicken with rice. The host should also ask them to spend a night with them and prepare a room for them out of respect. It is better if you prepare at least one Saudi dish. We have shared the recipe of preparing Saudi Kabsah in this link.
Invite friends and family: The host should invite friends and family members to share a meal with the guest to have a nice time together. Like this, the guest won’t feel alone and awkward while eating so much food alone.
Entertain him: If the guest is some outsider and not familiar with the place the host should show them the city, the traditions and entertain them to enjoy and have a nice fun time so that they feel comfortable.
Segregation of Male and Female: Normally Saudis don’t like if you ask them to sit with your family. They like segregation of male and females. You can ask all the guests women to go to the other room with your wife and you can stay with males in the drawing room. Similarly, while eating a meal, you need to serve male and female separately.