Customs and traditions
In Jordan, the vast majority of the population is Muslim. Although far from everyone is literate and other religions are allowed to operate freely, Islam affects customs and customs in society. And although, for example, the capital Amman is in many ways a modern city, old customs and ways of thinking remain beneath the surface of this rather tradition-bound society. Remaining from the original Bedouin community, among other things, is a great hospitality to visitors as well as the strong family ties.
According to Abbreviationfinder, Jordanians are often proud of their country and culture. Therefore, it is highly appreciated if you as a visitor have tried to read something in advance as well as if you have learned some phrases in Arabic. Punctuality is not as important as it is with us, but most people, especially in the cities, still arrive on time (maybe 5-15 minutes late).
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Jordan, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Know and label
Greeting is an important part of Jordanian culture and most people take the time to make good health, both when they meet someone or if they talk on the phone; you hear, for example, about how the other person feels, how it is with the family, etc. People of the same sex who know each other can greet with a kiss, otherwise they shake hands. However, a man should not shake hands with a woman first, but wait until she (possibly) stretches out her hand. Otherwise it is polite to take each one in hand when leaving a company. A common greeting phrase is ahlan wa sahlan (which really means “welcome” but can also mean “goodbye” or “hello”).
Most Jordanians enjoy talking and discussing, much and lively, and they like to joke. However, getting into political discussions (which the Jordanians themselves often do) with someone you do not know so well can be sensitive, but talking about family and family is something that always fits. Especially important is to avoid discussions of Middle East politics with people you don’t know.
Just like in Sweden, you take off your shoes before entering anyone’s home (and in mosques). Sitting so you show the soles of the feet to others is considered unfair. You do not use your left hand to hand over something to anyone or when you are eating – it is only used for toilet visits. However, one comes a long way with common sense and a smile in his interaction with the Jordanians, who also mostly look with humor and indulgence on if a visitor “makes a mistake”.
It is usually much appreciated if you bring with them, for example, baklava (sweet pastry) or the like when you visit someone, or rather some small souvenir from their own country. Wine or spirits should not be given as a gift in this Muslim country. A woman should not give presents to a man as this can be taken as an invitation.
Most meetings usually start in the agreed time (or slightly late), but it is important to set aside a lot of time in the beginning to talk about other than business – it is considered very unfair to go directly into negotiations. Tell us what you have seen and done in Jordan (without criticizing), feel free to ask about your family’s counterpart and tell about your own over the cup of coffee or tea that is certainly offered. Formally greet someone you meet the first time and let the person decide if you should remove the titles.
Even those who are not Muslim should refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public during the day during the fasting month of Ramadan (see below).
Most meals consist of rice and pita bread as a base. Then you add yogurt and cheese, vegetables like olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplant, and fruits like apricots, apples, bananas, melons and oranges – depending on the season – and meat like lamb or chicken. Muslims do not eat pork and do not drink alcohol. The main meal is often eaten in the afternoon. If you become a home invite to someone – not uncommon in hospitable Jordan – you should remember that it is polite to wash your hands before eating and to accept yes to what is being offered (but you can say no first, with your right hand over your heart, so that the host may be trough). You should always leave some food on the plate. Don’t go home until you’ve had a cup of coffee on the food. And don’t forget not to eat with your left hand!
Jordanians, both women and men, are quite formal and neat when it comes to clothing. Visitors should also be careful not to dress too challenging (especially women). Businessmen, at least in the cities, have a suit, but pants and a shirt without a tie can work well in the workplace. Some men wear the traditional red-white or black-and-white turban to Western attire. Women can wear a skirt (over the knee) or long trousers, preferably long-sleeved but not ringed, but prefer to wear jewelry. Some Jordanian women wear shawls, but all-Muslim clothing is unusual. It’s OK to wear shorts or swimwear at the beach (but not otherwise).
Holidays and symbols
The most important holidays are the Muslim ones. Each year, they fall on different dates according to the Western era because they follow the Islamic calendar (otherwise, in Jordan, the “regular” calendar is followed). During the Ramadan, which takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a faithful Muslim is to abstain from food, drink, sex and cigarettes during the day (one of Islam’s five sacred duties) and most at least partially follow this. After sunset it is free to eat, drink etc as much as you want, and often you eat more and better than usual. During the Ramadan, some stores and others may have limited opening hours and many government officials work part-time. Ramadan ends with a big party, id al-fitr, a family holiday celebrated with particularly festive food,
According to Countryaah, other Muslim holidays are the Muslim New Year, the birthday of the Prophet and the sacrificial feast of id-al-adha, which is celebrated in memory of Allah letting Ibrahim (the Bible of Abraham) release his son Isaac. It also marks the end of the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia (another of the sacred duties of devout Muslims). Many pilgrims travel to Mecca via Jordan.
In addition to the Muslim holidays, there are a number of other holidays, both religious and non-religious, such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, May 1st and Independence Day (May 25), when many are vacant and much can be closed.
On May 25, the Jordanian flag is also visible everywhere. It has three equally wide stripes in black, white and green (the colors represent different caliphates). On the left is a red triangle (the triangle denotes the great Arab uprising of 1916) and in it there is a white star with seven tips, which stands for the seven verses in the first acid of the Qur’an (chapter). The flag can be seen on the introduction page for Jordan in the Country Guide.
On May 25, the national anthem, al-salam al-Malaki al-Urduni (Long Live the King of Jordan) is also played.