Customs and traditions
Few countries have undergone such rapid and
sweeping changes in society as Kuwait. The enormous oil
resources, which began to be seriously exploited in the
1960s, have made it possible to build a rich welfare
society. The Kuwaiti, where many were once nomads or
supported themselves as bait fishermen, are now employed
by the state and taken care of by the state from the
cradle to the grave.
The Iraqi invasion of 1990 has left deep marks. Among
other things, almost a whole generation of young men are
missing. Many have blamed the war for the disappearance
of old traditions, such as crime, drug problems and
divorces becoming more common. Others believe that the
rapid development is to blame. So far, all Kuwaiti
people (that is, just under a third who are citizens,
the rest are migrant workers without most benefits) have
a well-paid job, many without having to work very much.
Most also have maids and drivers (guest workers) and can
indulge in the good of life, which has led to the
increase in well-being diseases.
Overview of the capital city of Kuwait, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Know and label
When you meet, men take hands; a man does not take a
woman in hand unless she does it first. They greet you
for a long and long time and ask about the family and
how it is. The Kuwaiti are hospitable and it is
considered unfair to refuse if you are invited to a cup
of tea or coffee. You should take off your shoes when
you visit someone's home, or go into a mosque, but it is
nice to sit down so you show the soles of your feet.
Even those who are not Muslim should refrain from
smoking, drinking and eating in public during the day
during the fasting month of Ramadan.
It is not OK to swear and be loud outside among
people, nor to show too tender feelings for the opposite
sex in public, although today you can see young couples
in Kuwait City holding hands. However, that men hold
each other's hand is not uncommon. However,
homosexuality is prohibited by law and homosexual acts
can be punished with imprisonment.
Work life and business meetings
The Kuwaiti have a long tradition as merchants. At a
business meeting, you should not throw your head into
negotiations but first talk - tell about something you
like with Kuwait or ask / tell about the family. One
should avoid sensitive topics such as politics and
religion in conversations with someone you do not know.
It is common to bargain in a business deal, which should
be concluded by leaving a gift. The gift does not have
to be so expensive, but it is of good quality,
preferably something from one's own country. You leave a
business card with your right hand.
Non-Kuwaiti should be dressed in a suit and tie;
Women should cover their shoulders and knees and refrain
from wearing ringed garments. Kuwait is addressed /
addressed by al-sayiyd (a) - Mr / Mrs
- plus first name.
Ordinary working hours are 7-14 or 7-19 with siesta
12-17 as it often gets so hot in the afternoon.
Scheduled times are kept reasonably well, both when it
comes to meetings or being done with something. You do
not usually criticize a person in public so that they
risk losing face. An expression that is often used in a
delay when something has not gone exactly as one
imagines or is facing a problem is In sha'a Allah
(If God wills).
For breakfast you often eat some egg dishes, and / or
bread (khubz) with cheese (white, salt). For
that you can drink labnah (thin youghurt). In
Kuwait you eat a lot of seafood, including large yellow
prawns, baked fish with spices like coriander, red
pepper and cardamom, or fish stuffed with herbs and
onions. Mixed fresh fruit of all kinds is common as
dessert. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. However,
you drink a lot of coffee (strong and sweet in small
cups, sometimes flavored with cardamom) and tea (sweet,
often mint) and fruit juices.
The Kuwaiti people like to go out and have dinner and
often to one of the many "foreign" restaurants that are
available thanks to all migrant workers (Lebanese,
Indian et cetera). Some restaurants have special
sections for families and women.
A special phenomenon is diwaniyya, tea or
coffee places where men meet, discuss and maybe smoke
hookah, shisha. A diwaniyya (which means
roughly a gathering place) can often mean a tent, or
just pillows, outside someone's home.
Kuwaiti men usually wear traditional costume:
dishdasha (long white shirt), ghutra
(white or black-and-white headscarf, also known as
kufiyya or by us as a Palestinian scarf) held by a
lanyard (iqal / agal). Women often
wear a colorful long dress or tunic with trousers, often
in the city with a black, all- round abaya
over. The women cover the hair but the veil is not that
common. Kuwait City also wears many western clothing
(but you do not show knees or shoulders and do not wear
Holidays and symbols
The most important holidays are the Muslims, whose
dates follow the Islamic lunar calendar and therefore
vary from year to year: the Prophet's birthday
mawlid al-nabi, the Prophet's ascension laylat
al-miraj, the end of the fixed month of Ramadan
id al-fitr, the sacrificial feast id al-ahda
and the Islamic New Year (muharram, the
first month of the Muslim calendar). In addition, the
"regular" New Year, Kuwait's National Day, February 25
and the Liberation Day, February 26, is celebrated. In
January / February, the hala festival takes
place with large fireworks and sales in the shops for
the shopping-friendly Kuwait.
On National Day, many Kuwaiti flags are seen: green,
white and red with a black triangle on the left; colors
and looks are based on a flag used by Arab revolvers
during the First World War.
The flag can be seen on Kuwait's front page in the
Country Guide; The national anthem can be listened to
Kuwait has a golden falcon as a national symbol.
Kuwait's communications are well developed.
The road network covers over 600 km. There is no railway
yet, but planning is well advanced on an internal
railway network that will link to neighboring countries.
The country has five modern ports, including a special
oil port, and an oil terminal is expected to be
completed in 2016 on the island of Bubiyan.
Kuwait has the largest trading fleet in the Arab
world with 34 vessels, including 19 oil tankers. There
is an international airport and a state-owned airline,
Kuwait Airways (discussions are ongoing, however, on
privatization of this and in 2013 Parliament decided
that 35 percent of the company would be put up for sale
over a three-year period). The private low-cost company
Jazeera Airways mainly flies to destinations within the
Oil exports cause electricity shortages
A record high oil export means that there is a shortage of electricity in the
country and Kuwaitis are urged to save electricity.
The government is leaving
The government resigns after the Minister of Health faces a vote of no
confidence. The minister who was a member of the governing family had been
charged with financial misconduct and a series of medical mistakes that led to
the death of several patients. Sheikh Nasir is immediately commissioned to form
a new government; this includes two women.