Comparing Gift-Giving Practices between American and Arabian Cultures

America’s gift-giving culture is not as restricted by traditions and customs when compared to practices observed by those who belong to the Araban race.

In America, giving presents to family members, business associates and close friends is generally expected only during Christmas and special occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fathers’ Day graduations and occasional social visits. Arabian culture, on the other hand, recognizes giving gifts as an important practice to observe when looking to forge good business and social relationships. This stems from the fact that the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of the islamic relgion encourages people to give gifts to one another as a way of maintaining harmony in relationships.

Still, there are etiquettes to observe when giving gifts to Muslims and it’s important to know some of the most vital traditions to observe

How and Whom to Give Gifts in Accordance with Muslim Traditions

First off, be in the know that when in the Middle East, the respectful way of giving a present is by using the right hand or both hands. Muslim culture considers the left hand unclean as it is largely associated with bathing and cleaning rituals.

Reciprocation is also considered ethical in Arabic culture, which denotes that when someone gives a person a gift, the recipient has to give something in return that is more or less of equal value even if symbolically and not immediately.

Giving presents to members of the opposite sex outside of the family circle is taboo because the act is regarded as too intimate. When a male has to give gift to a female business associate or vice versa, the proper way to do is to say that the present is from wife or husband, as the case may be.

Socially, when giving a family man or woman a present, it is a good practice to also give small gifts for the children. Such practice is a way of conveying genuine interest in keeping a friendship for long term or permanently.

Most Amercans make it a practice to always choose age-appropriate gifts, especially for children. To make choosing easier, they use search phrases like “fun gifts for age 6 boys” or something similar, However, when buying presents for a Muslim friend and his or her children, Americans must do so with care. Mainly because there are traditional do’s and don’ts to observe when giving gifts in the Middle East.

Important Gift-Giving Do’s and Don’ts in the Middle East

While the safest and most popular gifts to give are food items, make sure they do not contain pork and pork by-products like cured pork meat (ham, bacon, sausage and gelatin) because pigs or hogs are considered as unclean animals in Islam. Dates, pastries, cookies, chocolates and sweet treats are the most recommended food items to give as gifts in the Middle East.

Native crafts and art works are acceptable but they should not depict images of the human body because the human anatomy is regarded as a sacred gift from Allah. Items with dog depictions are also improper because Islamic religion, likewise considers dogs as unclean animals.

Wines, spirits or any form of alcoholic beverages are no-nos since the Islamic law prohibits alcohol drinking as a habit.

When choosing a garment or accessories as gift for a Muslim male, avoid those made of silk materials or constructed out of gold metals. The Prophet Muhammad’s teachings specifically stated that such objects are haram or forbidden for male Muslims.

A Cursory Look at Video Gaming in the Middle East

Video gaming statistics in the Middle East show that the most number of gamers come from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Nonetheless, while 86% and 81% of UAE and KSA nationals respectively, are into video gaming, about 53% in Qatar and 49% in Tunisia represent a notable number of nationals attracted to the world of video gaming.

Video games developed by Western gaming companies remain popular among Middle Eastern players, despite the typical racially-biased representations of Muslim and Arab nationals in combat-type video games. After the 9-11 incident, the negative depiction of Middle-Easterners as turban-clad, AK-47 toting extremists became even more pronounced in international video game realms.

Although some western developers tried to penetrate the Middle East video gaming market by introducing games that are more attuned with middle-eastern culture, such attempts failed. The release of massive multiplayer online (MMO) games described as “Arabized,” did not gain much support from ME players.

According to games publishing experts, the failed attempts were due to a number of technical issues such as lack of Unicode text, absence of right-to-left orientation, no-support websites and if there were any, used mostly Google-translated texts. It also became apparent to Western game developers that certain elements such as alcohol, gambling, sex and nudity are subjects avoided, when seeking for a successful establishment of an internationally recognized video gaming market in the Middle East.

Riot Games Still Actively Exploring Ways to Better Serve ME Players

Nonetheless, Riot Games, known for being the developer of “League of Legend (LoL0,” is still seeking ways to build a strong connection with ME players through its Dubai headquarters. The company is currently seeking ME locals to fill up positions like Software Engineering, Brand Marketing, Publishing, User-Experience Designer and Web-Content Associates in the Dubai office,

Moreover, Riot Games announced that in officially launching its new, first-person shooter game “Valorant,” which is tentatively set to launch in summer of this year, ME players are assured of getting full support from Middle East and North African servers.

However, “Valorant” is at the moment not available in those regions, because the game is still in closed beta stage. ME and NA players are advised not to attempt accessing the beta version via other regions. According to the LoL creator, doing so will likely result in high ping, while account transfers will not be available yet. Riot Games promises that pertinent advice will be given ahead of Valorant’s official launching date.

Closed-Beta Players Already Warn of Valorant’s High-Level of Difficulty

The most common feedback given by Valorant’s closed-beta players is the high level of difficulty that gamers face once they unlock Valorant’s Competitive Mode. Also, what makes the ascend to high rank levels difficult, is the presence of the Vanguard anti-cheat system.

This early, it would be wise for ME players to get in touch with their providers of reliable game boosting services. It is important for them to make sure that the professional player they will hire to render valorant elo boosting, can pass Vanguard’s strict scrutiny of legally-played matches.

Three Unwritten Coffee Laws

Let’s take a break from reviewing serious laws that can either break or make us. So let’s have coffee. And since we are into laws. I’d like to talk about coffee and its unwritten laws. You don’t know that, do you?

My grandma, my aunt, my mother. They all get incredulous to disgusted looks when they are in Italy and want to have a coffee. Why? Because they don’t abide by the unwritten laws on which Italian coffee culture is based.

Rule # 1: A cappuccino has a sweet particle in the morning and in the afternoon!

Coffee with milk foam is breakfast coffee – and only that

There are a few coffee drinks that are only drunk in Italy for breakfast or at least only in the morning. The cappuccino is one of these. A drink that my grandma and aunt like to consume in the afternoon. The Italians would even be able to cope with that. The combination with stuzzichini, salty and savory snacks, or with lunch, drives the sweat beads on your forehead. In any case, my relatives ensure that they shake their heads without understanding.

In the meantime, it no longer shocks anyone in Italy, especially in the country’s centers and metropolises, if, like in Germany, you have a cappuccino in the afternoon. Even if this is not what the traditional Italian coffee culture intended. However, anyone who eats olives, chips or fried mini-Panzerotti with a “breakfast coffee” will be punished with an appropriate look of disgust or the teasing of Italians sitting around.

Incidentally, this rule can be applied 1: 1 to all other coffee drinks, which tend to be classified as breakfast coffees. In addition to the (normal or cold) cappuccino, the latte macchiato, which is particularly popular in Germany, actually a “coffee” for children in Italy, the marocchino and its relatives, which I will discuss in more detail below, and the caffé latte.

Rule # 2: You drink the water before the coffee so that you can taste the aromas better!

Coffee and water go together

As a rule, Italians always drink their coffee with a sip of water. It is important that the water is drunk beforehand. It should refresh the palate so that you can taste the aromas of the coffee better. If you drank it afterward, the taste of the coffee would be wiped out of your mouth immediately. And for real coffee lovers, this is an absolute faux pas.

Rule # 3: You lick from hosts, this also includes the barista of the bar, not the coffee spoon!

The spoon belongs in the coffee, not in the mouth

In the bar and also when you are a guest of other people at home, it is decent that you do not lick the coffee spoon. That’s what the saucer is for. This may surprise German cappuccino lovers why you shouldn’t spoon the foam out of the cup or why you shouldn’t lick the rest of the crema on the spoon. But that’s not really common in Italy. It remains to be seen whether there are more hygienic or aesthetic reasons for licking the spoon as bad. And to be honest: I also do not always strictly adhere to this 3rd of the unwritten rules of Italian coffee culture.

Final Thoughts

Nobody seems to abide by these rules anymore. You just drink coffee the way you want it and enjoy its savory taste. Make your own coffee with the best coffee makers available and you don’t have to mind if you drink it in the morning or afternoon. If you are one who wants to experiment with coffee, do so with Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker. Read a review from leascoffee.com. So go ahead and delight in the best coffee in town.