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  • April 2012
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    « Mar   Dec »

Jordan A to Z: D is for ضيف / ضيوف

When I took the A to Z Challenge … I think I was more focused on the A to Z nature of it, instead of the Challenge.  It is really challenging to write a quality post every day of the week.  Especially one that I would like to think at least some new readers would come across.  I don’t know about you, but I generally want to give strangers a good impression … even in the blogosphere.

Which brings us to today’s ‘D’ word.  I kinda cheated … I used Arabic.  And it is not strictly a ‘D’ as you and I know one.  It is the  heavy ‘D’ sound if Arabic – the infamous ‘DaaD’  orض in Arabic.  It’s made like a ‘d’ sound in English … but you hold your mouth and throat in a funny way and it sounds, well …. heavier.  We have no equivalent in English.

So the word is:

ضيف / ضيوف

Don’t forget that the Arabic is read from right-to-left when you are reading!  You probably have it now.  No?

Ok … D is for … Dayf (singular)/Dyuuf (plural) and it means guest(s) in English.  Yes … we have had a guest the past few days.  So blogging, while working, taking care of kids, and entertaining a guest is almost impossible!  Although our level of hospitality does not nearly reach that of our Arab friends … we do try our best.  =)

Here’s a few things about receiving guest’s in your home from an Arab perspective.

  • Welcome them with a kiss – This is important, especially if you haven’t seen them in a long time.  Like in a few hours.  LOL!   I am just joking … but sometimes it seems that way.  The general custom (among men) is that you greet your friends with a kiss in public the first time you see them in the week and then perhaps a few days later … it is not necessary (for some) to greet them in this manner every time.  However, if they are a guest in your home you should kiss them on the cheek when you receive them at the door.  Cheeks touch (not generally mouth to cheek), and you make a kissing sound, one time on the right cheek and then three times on the left cheek.  And then back in on the left cheek for 1 or 2 more times if you are particularly close or trying to honor your guest.
  • Receive them into your house immediately -It is considered rude to keep someone on the doorstep and a sign that you do not like or respect them … even if you are chatting pleasantly.
  • Offer them something to drink immediately after they have been settled in the salon – traditionally this should be coffee or tea, but in these days it may be something cold as well.  It is expected that the host will serve their best available beverage in their best available glasses.  Just offering water is ok … but is an indicator that someone is poor or, if they are known to be well-to-do, stingy.  And when I say offer, I mean serve them on a tray.  Not just ask, “would you like something to drink?”  An Arab host will never simply ask a guest what they want and accept their protests.  As a guest you will be given something to drink when you first arrive. Other cold beverages, including water, will be served after the initial hot drink.  It is rare that the cup in an Arab’s house is not filled with some sort of beverage or another.
  • Bye-Bye Coffee – To signal the close of a short visit the host will serve Turkish coffee.  This is the polite signal that the guests should soon leave.  If a guest makes  a move to leave before this the host will hastily go to prepare the coffee.  With close friends this may also be nescafe or tea or may be skipped altogether.

Of course these rules apply to a guest in your home for less than a day.  No need to serve the bye-bye coffee to a guest who is staying overnight … unless you are trying to send them a subtle message!

Other Random A to Z bloggers (truly random – I cannot vouch for the content of these blogs … but go ahead and check them out if for nothing else, simply for curiosity’s sake!)



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