Sharing with you some etiquette and customs that one needs to know when in Kuwait:
. Kuwaitis are hospitable; however, it is important to behave according to their cultural norms.
. Although women play a greater role in Kuwaiti society then women do in many other Gulf countries, they seldom socialize together in public.
. Greetings are therefore between members of the same sex. In all cases they are given with a sense of enthusiasm and general pleasure at meeting or seeing the person again.
. Kuwaitis take time during the greeting process to converse about their health, family, mutual friends and acquaintances, and other general matters of interest.
Naming Conventions :
. The first name is the personal name and used as we would use ours.
. The second name is the father's personal name. It is used with the connector "al- ".
. The third and fourth names are the grandfather's personal name and a name that denotes the family lineage. Both names generally start with the prefix "al-".
. The name of Suleyman Al-Ahmed Al- Mustafa Al-Sabah means Suleyman, son of Ahmed, grandson of Mustafa of the Sabah family/tribe.
. Women do not take the husband's name upon marriage.
Gift Giving Etiquette :
. Extended family or very close friends may exchange gifts for birthdays, Ramadan, Eid, Hajj and other celebratory occasions.
. If you are invited to a Kuwaiti home, bring a houseplant, box of imported chocolates, or a small gift from your home country.
. If a man must give a gift to a woman, he should say that it is from his wife, mother, sister, or some other female relative.
. Do not give alcohol unless you know for sure he/she partakes.
. Gifts are not opened when received.
Dining Etiquette :
. Kuwaitis socialize in their homes, restaurants, or international hotels.
. If both sexes are included, they may be entertained in separate rooms, although this is not always the case.
When going to a Kuwaitis house:
. Check to see if the host is wearing shoes. If not, remove yours at the door.
. Dress conservatively.
. Show respect for the elders by greeting them first.
. Accept any offer of food or drink. To turn down hospitality is to reject the person.
. If you are invited for a meal, there is often a great deal of socializing and small talk before the meal, and the evening comes to an end quickly after the meal.
Watch your table manners!
. Eat only with the right hand.
. Meals are generally served family-style. Guests are served first. Then the oldest, continuing in some rough approximation of age order until the youngest is served.
. Honoured guests are often offered the most prized pieces or delicacies - so be prepared!
. Hospitality and generosity are showered on guests with abundance.
. Leave some food on your plate when you have finished eating otherwise they will fill it with more.
. When the host stands, the meal is over.