Egypt - language, culture, customs and etiquette

Trimis la data: 2010-10-17
Materia: Engleza
Nivel: Facultate
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Autor: Robert Anastase
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Islam is practised by the majority of Egyptians and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Islam emanated from what is today Saudi Arabia. The Prophet Muhammad is seen as the last of God's emissaries (following in the footsteps of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc) to bring revelation to mankind. He was distinguished with bringing a message for the whole of mankind, rather than just to a certain peoples. As Moses brought the Torah and Jesus the Bible, Muhammad brought the last book, the Quran. The Quran and the actions of the Prophet (the Sunnah) are used as the basis for all guidance in the religion.
Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day. Friday is the Muslim holy day. Everything is closed. Many companies also close on Thursday, making the weekend Thursday and Friday.

During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing. Expatriates are not required to fast; however, they must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum in public.

Each night at sunset, families and friends gather together to celebrate the breaking of the fast (iftar). The festivities often continue well into the night. In general, things happen more slowly during Ramadan. Many businesses operate on a reduced schedule. Shops may be open and closed at unusual times.

Family Values
The family is the most significant unit of Egyptian society.
Kinship plays an important role in all social relations.
The individual is always subordinate to the family, tribe or group.
Nepotism is viewed positively, since it is patronage of one's family.
• The family consists of both the nuclear and the extended family.
Egyptian Honour
• Honour is an important facet of interpersonal relationships.
• Respect and esteem for people is both a right and an obligation.
• An individual's honour is intricately entwined with the reputation and honour of everyone in their family.
• Honour requires that Egyptians demonstrate hospitality to friends and guests.
• It also dictates that people dress as well as their financial circumstances allow, and show proper respect and deference to their elders and those in authority.
• A man's word is considered his bond and to go back on your word is to bring dishonour to your family.
Social Class
• Social class is very apparent in Egypt since it determines your access to power and position.
• The social class an Egyptian is born into dictates their everyday life and the opportunities they will have.
• There are three social classes: upper, middle, and lower.
• Status is defined more by family background than by absolute wealth.
• There is little social mobility.
Etiquette & Customs in Egypt
Meeting Etiquette
• Greetings are based on both class and the religion of the person.
• It is best to follow the lead of the Egyptian you are meeting.
• Handshakes are the customary greeting among individuals of the same sex.
• Handshakes are somewhat limp and prolonged, although they are always given with a hearty smile and direct eye contact.
• Once a relationship has developed, it is common to kiss on one cheek and then the other while shaking hands, men with men and women with women.
• In any greeting between men and women, the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head in greeting.
Gift Giving Etiquette
• If you are invited to an Egyptian's home for dinner, bring good quality chocolates, sweets or pastries to the hostess.
• Do not give flowers, which are usually reserved for weddings or the ill, unless you know that the hosts would appreciate them.
• A small gift for the children shows affection.
• Always give gifts with the right hand or both hands if the gift is heavy.
• Gifts are not opened when received
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