Emirati Hospitality: What to Expect When Living in the UAE

Moving to a new country can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the local customs and culture.

When it comes to living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one aspect that stands out is Emirati hospitality.

Let’s delve into what you can expect when it comes to the warm and welcoming hospitality of the UAE.

Emirati Hospitality: The Essence of Welcome

  • Traditional Greetings: Emiratis often greet each other with a warm handshake and the phrase “Salaam alaikum,” meaning “Peace be upon you.” Respond with “Wa alaikum salaam.
  • Invitations: It’s common for Emiratis to invite friends and neighbors over for tea or coffee, showcasing their generous hospitality. If invited, accepting the invitation is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Cuisine: A Culinary Adventure

  • Arabic Delicacies: Emirati cuisine is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern flavors. Don’t miss out on trying dishes like shawarma, falafel, and traditional Emirati dishes such as Al Harees and Al Majboos.
  • Dates and Coffee: You’ll often be offered dates and Arabic coffee (Gahwa) as a gesture of hospitality. It’s polite to accept these offerings.

Respect for Local Customs

  • Dress Modestly: While the UAE is diverse and cosmopolitan, it’s respectful to dress modestly in public places, particularly in conservative areas.
  • Public Behavior: Public displays of affection should be minimal, and it’s important to respect local laws and customs.

Community and Social Bonds

  • Tight-Knit Communities: UAE neighborhoods often have a strong sense of community. You’ll find neighbors looking out for one another, enhancing the feeling of security.
  • Family Values: Emiratis hold family values in high regard, and family gatherings are common and cherished.

Helpful Tidbits for Newcomers

  • Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Non-Muslims should avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during fasting hours.
  • Language: Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in business and expat communities.
  • Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not obligatory. It’s customary to tip around 10% in restaurants if a service charge is not included.

Safety and Respect

  • Safe Environment: The UAE is known for its safety, but it’s still important to be cautious and respectful of local laws and customs.

Conclusion: A Warm Welcome Awaits

Emirati hospitality is more than just a cultural tradition; it’s a way of life. As you embark on your journey of living in the UAE, you can expect a warm and welcoming environment where you’ll have the opportunity to build connections and experience the rich tapestry of this diverse and vibrant society.

Embrace the hospitality you’ll encounter and in return you’ll find yourself forging meaningful friendships and creating lasting memories in this beautiful and welcoming country.

Discover More of Dubai's Real Estate & Community