Almost two years after my arrival in Egypt, I can’t get enough surprises when entering an Arab house; so I decided to list seven adorable signs you have entered the most hospitable region in the world.
1. You walk past the door only to find a colorful array of shoes, sandals and sneakers stretching down the corridor. Taking off one’s shoes when entering a house is a long-lasting custom for Arabs, known worldwide for the impressive traditional carpets that decorate their every room — you have to keep them clean!
2. You look up and there it is, that blue eye talisman staring at you. Legend has it, the staring glass eye is supposed to bend the malicious gaze back to the sourcerer of “evil eye”, that is, the envious.
3. Whether Muslim or Christian, religious symbols are displayed all over the house: Fragments of Qur’an, books on sunna and hadith, an actual Qur’an, prayer beans or rosaries, images of Biblical episodes, an actual Bible, little Christian stamps on the bookshelf, or the omnipresent prayer mat.
4. You excuse yourself to the bathroom, but Oh My! What is that thing coming out from inside the toilet? A water hooze? A bidet inside the toilet itself? There is no way to describe that facial expression every time a foreigner has a first encounter with the “Shatafa” (AKA, hygiene taken to the next level).
5. You have not spent five minutes in the toilet, but as soon as you are back you suddenly find a table filled with cookies and sugar-induced sweets, mango juice, and at least five varieties of tea. Yes, because an Arab house is not complete without tea.
6. She invites you to sit down, but as soon as you turn around you find yourself surrounded by a dozen pieces of Victorian-style golden furniture against the backdrop of curtains and tassels displayed in two separate living-rooms. It is not hard to tell the importance Arabs give to guests: there is always something specially reserved for them; something which is off-limits for the kids: special cookies, special cups, crystal glasses, a special sofa, and the list goes on…
7. You heartfully thank your host who, honored by your visit, unhesitatingly asks: “call me moma”. And you can’t help but hugging her.
We would love to hear your signs of entering an Arab home! Leave us a comment or send it to Editor@Barakabits.com