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Kuwait Culture and Traditions

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.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Kuwait, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.

Know and label

Culture and Traditions of KuwaitWhen 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 ringed garments).

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 here:

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 Middle East.



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.

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