As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Of course, that phrase applies to just about anywhere in the world. So when you visit Jordan, it’s important that you have an understanding of the culture and etiquette in Jordan.
The Jordanian people are known for being courteous and respectful, so in return, why not understand and respect the culture of Jordan? Here are the basics of etiquette when traveling to Jordan.
What Should I Wear?
Jordanians are incredibly welcoming and friendly with everyone and most will not comment or say anything about what you should wear/not wear. However, travelers want to be sure to avoid dressing in a fashion that could be perceived as disrespectful. If you are one of those travelers, the below guide should help you better decide what to wear.
Men should consider wearing long pants. This is due to the dusty weather in Jordan and mainly to keep them clean. Shorts are also acceptable but the norm is long pants.
For women, consider wearing clothes that are loose and cover up the legs and chest area. Wearing shorts or showing too much skin is traditionally considered suggestive but is still acceptable. For example, wearing short shorts to walk around in downtown Amman is not recommended, however its highly acceptable to do so if your going out to a club or drinks. Jordan is liberal enough so that headscarves are not required.
What Should I Know About Dining with Locals?
As mentioned, Jordanians are welcoming people. Even if you don’t know anyone in Jordan before your visit, it’s possible you will be invited to someone’s home for tea or a meal. These are usually genuine offers, and if your hungry or thirsty then it might be a good idea. If you have other plans and can’t accept an invitation, always decline the invitation with a smile and make time to chat with the person.
If you accept an invitation to have a meal at the home of a local, always bring pastries or a similar treat as a token of appreciation. It’s also polite to bring gifts like small toys or postcards for any children in the home.
Its not recommended you drink the tap water in Jordan. Its mainly used for cleaning. There is no shortage of mineral & purified water in stores.
What Issues Are Taboo?
We have to once again emphasize the friendliness of Jordan, where it’s common for strangers to chat with one another and exchange pleasant greetings. You should never ignore strangers, especially if you are in a shop or restaurant and they are trying to make you feel welcome.
When speaking with Jordanians, do your best to avoid politics and other sensitive subjects like religion, especially if you’re of a different faith. Specifically, the topic of Israel is one to avoid for Westerners.
As a final note, always ask Jordanians permission before taking their picture, especially women who are in or around their homes.