Arab society is the trademark of hospitality and Saudi people have a great deal of it. Many of the expatriates working in Saudi Arabia share their experiences about Saudi hospitality which gives them a home like feeling. An American scholar, who did research about different cultures, shared his knowledge about the culture of Saudi people and wrote “it can certainly be said that most wonderful attribute of the Saudi society is their generous hospitality. To these people, offering a great deal of hospitality is not merely an admirable feature rather it is a sacred duty and a matter of reputation and honor.”[irp]
It could be said that Bedouin lifestyle and the environment is a key reason that taught this hospitality to Arabs. The people who lived in that desert environment were naturally dependent on the hospitality of one and other as to survive against thirst and hunger while traveling in the burning heat of the desert. With the passage of time, like many other noble attributes, this virtue of hospitality became common to all who lived in villages or in cities. So, when a Saudi extends hospitality to an expat, the reason is that his customs and noble culture insists and requires him to do so. It can be fairly acknowledged that most of the Saudis are very skilled in manners of hospitality and many expats have a great deal to learn from the Saudis in this regard. Hospitality is shown with many unique notions.
It is important to know that insisting the guest for having something to eat or drink is traditional behavior. The American tendency of asking the guest only for one time that if he would like to eat or drink something and then taking the first refusal as a final and sincere one, is considered as a rudest behavior in Saudi Arabia. According to Arab traditions, the host is supposed to insist his guest for having a drink or meal with him. Saudi people prepare plenty of food for their guests and insist them on having more. It is to show respect and to extend a notion of hospitality for the guest.
It will be amazing for many people but it is common in Arabs that at end of meal they bring a utensil and soap and water for the guest to wash hands. It is unique for many cultures to offer this kind of hospitality. If someone and especially a guest, admirers any of the belongings of a Saudi, the host is supposed to offer that thing to the guest on the spot. A nurse working in Saudi Arabia shares her experience and says that “Once during my visit to a Saudi lady, she brought me the same dress on the spot that I saw her daughter was wearing on Eid day.[irp]
I admired the beauty of that dress and she asked someone to bring the same dress for me from the designer urgently. Hospitality has no relationship with being wealthy or poor. Every Saudi regardless of his economic status considers obligatory to show hospitality to his guests and friends.