What traditions and customs are there in Kuwait?
We will see what are the customs and traditions of Kuwait.
Food in daily life
After centuries of living as nomads, surviving on subsistence farming and ranching, the relatively recent rise in income of many Kuwaitis has led to a rapid increase in the relative obesity of the general population. Still operating under the precept that fat children are healthy, Kuwaitis eat a very rich diet and do not exercise as in the past.
The change from a nomadic to a sedentary lifestyle occurred rapidly with industrialization and urbanization, coinciding with the advent of the oil industry in the last century, and nutrition habits have not completely changed to adapt to today’s environment.
An average Kuwaiti person eats three meals a day. Breakfast often includes some meat, such as fried liver or kidneys, and a dairy product such as cheese or yogurt. For lunch and dinner, various meat dishes can be served.
In the desert, vegetables and grains were not available for the most part. Subsequently, meat was a staple in the diet of desert nomads. As in the past, meat remains a central part of the Kuwaiti diet.
Food customs on ceremonial occasions
For Kuwaitis, it is very important to be generous in providing food for guests. For ceremonial occasions such as weddings, people will roast a whole sheep and serve it on a bed of saffron rice.
As Kuwait is a predominantly Islamic country, alcohol is illegal within its borders. Islam influences many customs related to food, the most prominent of which is the fasting month of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, practitioners of Islam fast between sunrise and sunset. Also at this time, the consumption of food, drinks and tobacco in public is prohibited.
Most marriages in Kuwait are arranged, according to tradition. Mixed marriages occur within clans, but not between social classes. Women, regardless of their age, need their father’s permission to marry.
Also, a woman cannot marry a non-Muslim person, although the man enjoys this privilege. Furthermore, a woman can only marry one spouse, while a man has the legal right to have four wives.
Kuwaitis, like other Arab populations, have different personal boundaries than Westerners. In general, they sit, talk and stand closer to each other.
It is common for members of the same sex to touch each other during their interactions as an expression of their friendship, and men often shake hands in greeting and walk away.
Socially, physical contact between men and women is not acceptable. For Kuwaitis, honor, reputation and respect are the main concerns.
The main religion in Kuwait is Islam: approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim. There are two main sub-sects of Islam in Kuwait, 45 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim while 40 percent of the population is Shia Muslim. The remaining 15 percent of the population practices Christianity, Hinduism, Parsi and other religions.
Rituals and sacred places
For practitioners, the most essential tenet of Islam is the purification of the soul through prayers, known as salat, five times a day. The purpose of this activity is to strengthen commitment to God. Cleanliness and proper hygiene are prerequisites for ritual prayers – in Islam good physical health and good spiritual health are intertwined.
New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1 and Kuwait’s National Day on February 25.
In Kuwait, as in many Islamic countries, the art of calligraphy is one of the oldest and most prosperous forms of expression. Arabic calligraphy is considered the highest expression of the words of God. Because sculptural and figurative forms of art were perceived as idolatry in traditional Islam, calligraphy was considered an alternative and acceptable form of art and expression.
Share the customs and traditions of Kuwait.