Lebanese Customs and Etiquette

Lebanese Customs and Etiquette

Greeting people

* Greetings in Lebanon are an interesting mix of both the French and Muslim/Arab cultures.
* A warm and welcoming smile accompanied by a handshake while saying “Marhaba” is a greeting that can be given without causing offense.
* You will see the greeting close friends with three kisses on the cheek, alternating cheeks in the French style.
* Take time when greeting a person and be sure to ask about their family, health, etc.
* If man is greeting Muslim women you may find that some wish not to shake hands; it is best to see if a hand is extended or not first.

Gift Giving Etiquette

* Gifts are part and parcel of the culture and are not only for birthdays and special occasions.
* Gifts may be given to someone who has provided a favour, to someone returning from a trip overseas, or simply out of want.
* The cost of the gift is not nearly as important as what it represents – friendship.
* If you are invited to a Lebanese home, it is customary to bring flowers. If invited for a meal, you may bring sweets or pastries.
* If visiting a Muslim family, it is a good idea to say that the gift is for the host rather than the hostess.
* Gifts of alcohol are welcome in many circles. Muslims though generally do not drink alcohol.
* A small gift such a sweet for the children is always a nice touch.
* Gifts may be given with the right hand or both hands. It is best not to offer a gift with the left hand.

Read more >> Culture and Customs of Lebanon

Katia Reed
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